04/21/2010Provided by Citysearch -
I had the very fortunate opportunity of finding this gem by accident. After my dinner reservations at a different restaurant had fallen through, especially during the Cherry Blossom Festival, my girlfriend and I were all dressed up with no place to go. We called Citronelle and on a moments notice, they were able to accommodate us and provided us with a dining experience we would not soon forget.
Upon entering the restaurant, the maitre d' could not be more welcoming and hospitable. Not once did they treat us as if they were 'squeezing us in' and act frantic or rushed. As a matter of fact, they sat my girlfriend and I at a wonderful table with views of both the gorgeous working kitchen as well as the rest of the dining room.
The head waiter, or so he seemed, Pablo Ortiz, tended to our every request... and always with a smile. Most restaurants ask guests to provide dietary restrictions well in advance, so that the tasting menu can be modified to suit them accordingly. However, with our impromptu visit, we did not give them any advanced notice, and still asked them to change half of the tasting menu for my girlfriend. Without hesitation, they arranged a thoughtful, creative and delicious tasting menu for her without making us feel badly. Quite the opposite, as they even invited us into the kitchen to give a brief tour, meet the head chef, and enjoy some quick photographs.
The food is exquisite, with each dish creating a memory. I would laugh under my breath, thinking of how simple and delicate foods can be made into complex creations that balance flavor and texture perfectly.
As a native New Yorker, living in Manhattan, I frequent fine dining establishments regularly. I must admit that despite the selection of restaurants here in NY, Citronelle is easily in the top 5 places I have ever eaten. While the decor is simple, and some have even claimed dated, the service is top notch and the food is well worth the price.