"Maybe we ordered the wrong thing," said DGlass after three of us spent about $85 for a dinner of, essentially, soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. "But I think the emperor has no clothes."
The emperor in question here is all-star chef Thomas Keller, and his nakedness—or, more accurately, our willing blindness—is exposed, maybe, at Bouchon Bakery. Located beneath the Samsung sign on the third floor of the Time Warner Center, this is Keller's admirable go at uplifting "mall-food" to tasty new heights, as well as giving us all a chance to sample his magic at something less than than the $210 he charges for a meal one flight up at Per Se.
So did we just mis-order? I am always loathe to blame the user, but DGlass and I both had the Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese, and it was exceptionally ordinary. The soup was totally scalded, and so had little flavor besides "hot". The sandwiches were no different than what you'd get at a place like EJ's, or Silver Spurs. I also had the Roasted Beet Salad, with Marche, Goat Cheese and Roasted Hazelnuts, which was small and bland and sounded a lot more exotic than it was. Our companion Argentina Ana had the potato soup, which she proclaimed to be "tan rico," and perhaps it was, but out-of-town guests getting treated for dinner are unlikely to say anything else.
There was one unqualified hit: the moist and delicious Nutter Butter, an over-sized cookie sandwich starring two cakey, sweet, nutty ovals surrounding a rich and creamy peanut butter filling. Honestly, it gives the City Bakery chocolate chip some competition for best cookie in town. I will absolutely go back to Bouchon Bakery for the Nutter Butter and maybe to try the food again... though this time I'll spend a third less money and wait for far less time and just go to the take-out window.