Here’s what it’s like to eat a $245 meal at one of New York City’s finest restaurants

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A sneak peek of our dessert trilogy.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

My food-loving mom recently flew in from North Carolina to spend Mother’s Day weekend in New York City with me.

We did a lot of exploring – and even more eating.

As a Mother’s Day treat, my incredibly generous grandpa, who happens to be a restaurant connoisseur and former food critic, treated us to an experience of of a lifetime: brunch at Chef Daniel Boulud’s renowned restaurant, Daniel.

The experience was thrilling, educational, humbling, and at times, confusing (which of the three forks do I use?); the food was beautiful, complex, mouth-watering, and at times, perplexing (do I eat that small appetizer in one bite?); and, yes, the portions were small … but we were somehow incredibly full afterwards.

Here’s a closer look at the two and a half hour marathon meal:


Daniel is tucked away on the Upper East Side, on 60th street between Park and Madison.

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The elegant entrance to Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

The revolving doors led us to a reception area, where we were greeted by the hostess. She checked our coats (and my mom’s suitcase), and despite arriving 15 minutes early, we were escorted to our table immediately.


When we made our reservation, we had the option of sitting in the main dining room (pictured) or the lounge. We went with the smaller lounge area — it seemed like the less intimidating, more casual option at the time — but if we were to do it all over, we’d like to be in the heart of the action.

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The main dining room was hopping.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

Here’s the lounge, where we were seated.


The customized Mother’s Day menu was a three-course prix fixe for $165. We got to choose from four different appetizers, main courses, and desserts, with the option of adding “connoisseur caviar” for an additional $365 and “asperge blanche” (white asparagus) for $32. You could also pair wine for $95. We opted out of the supplements, but both ordered a $13 glass of rosé.

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The hefty wine booklet resembled a Dickens novel more than a menu.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

First up: the pre-appetizers (who knew?), which I later learned are called amuse-bouches. Our waiter was great about telling us exactly what was being served, but most of the terminology went over my head. I do know that foie gras was involved in one of these tiny bites.

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I can now say I’ve had foie gras and caviar.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

Next up: The real appetizer. I ordered the ‘Long Island fluke,’ solely because it involved sea urchin and I was curious. It also came with Granny Smith apple, seaweed crisp, and white sturgeon caviar.

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The Long Island fluke was vibrant.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

My mom went with the ‘Scottish langoustines’: lobster with fennel, ruby red grapefruit, and bergamot vinaigrette.


The waitstaff was top-tier. We had four separate people checking in on us, including one waitress who periodically appeared with an assortment of bread at all the right times. I started with this cute baguette.

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In additional to unlimited bread, you’re served fancy butter with two types of salt, one of which was black!
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

The main event came next, plated to perfection. I ordered the ‘Pennsylvania guinea hen duo,’ which was served with a divine ‘sauce supreme.’ My mom went with the ‘slow baked dover sole,’ which was almost too statuesque to dig into.

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Our waiter was generous with the sauce supreme … and I was very grateful.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

Here’s a close-up of the hen.

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Look at that egg doused in the sauce supreme!
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

After the main course, we were pleasantly surprised when this pre-dessert dessert platter appeared.

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There was meringue and chocolate involved in this dessert platter — I can’t tell you much more (besides that it was all incredible).
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

Next came part two of the dessert trilogy. We also ordered $11 coffees to accompany these masterpieces. Let’s take a closer look …

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Part two of the dessert trilogy was mind-blowing.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

Here’s the “Chocolat”: dark chocolate mousse, biscuit macaron, and a blackberry-orange sorbet.

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In general, we did a good job of eating slowly and savoring throughout the meal … until dessert arrived.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

And here’s the “Miel”: bee hive meringue, honey lemon sorbet, and some other goodies.

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Flawless.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

The dessert saga continued … with this complimentary basket of warm madeleines.

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We didn’t think we could fit another bite after dessert number two, but we ate all of these little guys.
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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider

Just when we thought Daniel couldn’t outdo itself, our waiter brought out a parting gift for the road: a canelé pastry from the region of Bordeaux. It was vanilla and rum flavored with a caramelized crust and custardy interior — the perfect breakfast treat for the next morning.


After tip and tax, our bill came out to $490. It’s safe to say we won’t be regulars at Daniel anytime soon, but it was a brunch to remember.

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Kathleen Elkins/Business Insider