The New York Diet

Danny Meyer Has One Last Feast at Florent

Mr. Hospitality at Molly's Pub.
Mr. Hospitality at Molly’s Pub. Photo: Meghan Petersen

Danny Meyer says his weight hasn’t shifted more than three pounds since high school, but his empire, at least, is growing: He recently secured a catering deal with the Puck Building, he’s vying to serve food at Citi Field (“it’d be a nice thing to have a pulled-pork sandwich while watching a game,” he tells us), and he’s aiming to open an Upper West Side outpost of the Shake Shack by the end of the summer. Meyer has monthly meetings with his chefs, but he rarely has a sit-down meal at one of his own restaurants (he eats at Union Square Cafe a couple of times a year and prefers Blue Smoke because it’s dark and he can go incognito), so we asked him where he does eat and whether he has to wait in line for Shack Burgers.

Friday, March 28
Breakfast was a poppy-seed bagel with cream cheese and coffee.

Lunch was a turkey-and-avocado sandwich on seven-grain bread from Barocco, washed down with the David Kirsch Vitamin Super Juice.

Dinner was what I call “kitchen-sink pasta,” where I just go into the refrigerator after working a late shift and just put it together. There was already leftover gnocchetti and some leftover peas and creamed spinach. And I put in some Rao’s tomato sauce and put together with Pecorino cheese. It was a good pasta. Around three years ago we had some leftover tuna tartare and I didn’t feel like eating it raw on day two so I mixed it up with some capers and just a little bit of soy and fresh ginger and just a drop of garlic, and I seared it in a very hot pan. It formed it into a sort of tuna burger. It ended up being one of our more popular dishes at Eleven Madison Park — the one-side seared tuna tartare.

Saturday, March 29
I had an everything bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

That day we were in Connecticut because we’re renovating an old house. We’re meeting with architects who are vegans. They shopped for our lunch that day. They wanted to shop at a natural-, organic-food place, which was fantastic. We had half of a crawfish wrap, half of a curry-chicken wrap, and a wonderful salad of raw broccoli, walnuts, and cranberries.

I treat myself to more indulgent things and then allow myself to do that by balancing that with things that are incredibly healthy and delicious at the same time. That night at dinner I kind of went for it. I went to have one last experience at Florent and had the Caesar salad, pâté de campagne, steak au poivre frite, martini, and a bottle of Gigondas. Then for dessert we went over to the Soho House and had Chèvre cheesesteak and a bottle of Sauterne. It’s a sad part of Manhattan that neighborhoods seem to transition so quickly, and it would be a rotten shame if every neighborhood ends up being malled.

Sunday, March 30
On Sunday I compensated with a vanilla protein shake with super greens mixed in. It’s a natural detox, which I felt like I needed after all that food and wine.

At lunchtime I was watching my son play a Little League game at the corner of Hudson and Charlton. I had just lost my wallet in the taxi cab, and I had $8 in my pocket so I ran over to Dunkin Donuts and split an egg, ham, and cheese sandwich on a bagel with my daughter.

Dinner was the filetti pizza from Una Pizza Napoletana, which I had my wife and kids bring home because one of my sons was sick. It was good.

Monday, March 31
I had a David Kirsch protein super-green shake to start it off. I then went to the Modern to have a couple of chef meetings, and I tasted the trout with rhubarb purée. Then I tasted a new dessert — the new floating island. My lunch that day was a to-go split-pea soup from Barocco at my desk.

I had a business meeting and I went to DB Bistro Moderne, and when I go to a restaurant, no matter who I’m with, I taste every single thing there. There’s a fresh idea working on every plate, and it’s rare that I ever would replicate anything verbatim, but it might be that there’s an idea that makes me say, “Gee, that makes me think of this or that.” And I’m always fascinated by looking for the best version of something. We started off with the tart flambé. I had smoked salmon, pâté de campagne, halibut with fava beans, choucroute royale (a huge platter), a rhubarb tart, a madeleine, and I tasted three different wines — all whites from France.

Tuesday, April 1
I had another protein-and-banana shake. Lunch was healthy and light: fresh turkey and avocado and lettuce on a baguette from Barocco.

I had twenty minutes to have dinner before Anthony and Cleopatra so I looked along 42nd Street and rejected almost every single place I saw. I went to Yoshinoya and had the chicken pot with grilled chicken, broccoli, and rice. I think I made the best choice of the five on the block. Then I came home after and had a big bowl of leftover, cold broccoli. I think I was still trying to flush my system from the day before.

Wednesday, April 2
I started off with another protein-and-banana shake. At lunch I was at the gym so I had a second protein shake, this time with strawberries. After my workout I went to Shake Shack and had a “Shack Cago Dog.” I don’t stand in line if I’m going there for work, but I do if I’m doing it with friends or family. People can’t believe when they see me standing in line.

I had a business dinner with my editor, Dan Halpern, at Dévi. We ate a huge amount of food: cauliflower, fried okra, two different kinds of shrimp, curry chicken, lamb chops, dahl, saag, potatoes, and I had a beer. The food was fantastic.

Thursday, April 3
I left at the crack of dawn to go to St. Louis to see my mom. I got to St. Louis in time to have breakfast in her apartment, where I had Special K with blueberries and the most amazing rye toast that’s better than anything I’ve had in New York, from Protzel’s Bakery. It’s Jewish rye, but the edges have a cornmeal to it. I had coffee and grape juice.

I had never been to the new Busch Stadium — I had a bratwurst and toasted cannelloni and a Coca-Cola. And then that night my mom and I went to a brand-new restaurant in St. Louis called Revival, which is fantastic. The two of us ate a huge amount of food: salt-and-pepper chicken thighs, a salad of Missouri greens with Missouri sheep’s-milk cheese and pecans, two kinds of deviled eggs, pulled-pork flatbread, short rib with mashed potatoes, Missouri lamb and lamb sausage with grits and poblano peppers, and for dessert red-velvet cake. And a couple Spanish wines to go with that.

Friday, April 4
I took a crack-of-dawn flight to get back to New York. I had nothing for breakfast because there was no room — then I had a turkey-and-avocado sandwich on whole wheat and almonds from Whole Foods.

It was an unusually busy week, so I had a home-cooked dinner from my wife, Audrey — we had penne and meatballs, and she also used a roast-monkfish recipe from an old Daniel Boulud cookbook with lots of roasted peppers, sort of a Basque-style recipe. And that was the week.

Danny Meyer Has One Last Feast at Florent