It's been a while since I was at Daniel (august 2010), but nevertheless I remember it quite clearly – for the simple reason that it was not very memorable. I'm writing this review just now, as I thought it was already up here.
I went there with two friends, and they had never before gone to a restaurant like this before. When we left, they were very impressed, but the next day they said they had practically forgotten the meal. Whenever I have asked them to come to a nice restaurant since then, they've always declined, as they didn't want to spend this much money on "nothing". That couple had in general horrible experiences with the food in New York. They called it utterly disgusting and the portion sizes ten times too big. My impression of New York was also that it was difficult to find something (in supermarkets and restaurants) of proper quality, and even when we paid top dollar in Daniel, several of the ingredients didn't seem to be of particularly good quality.
However, we all agreed that the service was flawless, and to me along with Pierre Gagnaire (Paris, France), Gordon Ramsay (Chelsea, London, UK) and Sant Pau (Sant Pol de Mar, Spain) it has been one of best services I've had. Perfect!
We went for the six course menu, choosing slightly different courses along the way.
The only two courses I can emphasize were the scallops in a chorizo crust on a bed of corn. That was wonderful, but the foam on top didn't have much flavour, and the powder on the side was the same. Nevertheless, really a great dish.
Then there was the lamb. The lamb itself was simply one of the best pieces of lamb I've ever had, but the rest of the dish (ratatouille, etc.) was utterly forgettable.
A few comments about the rest of the food:
The halibut was dry and didn't have very good flavour and didn't seem very fresh. The mushrooms on the side seemed like something you would get in a cheap restaurant that tries to do fancy cooking.
The mackerel had real caviar put on top of chilli. How stupid is that? The chilli drowned all of the delicate flavour, and I chose to eat those two things separately. The mackerel itself was also plain.
The sauces for the halibut, the beef my friends had, and the lamb seemed to be the same. They were all just regular braising sauces. The dessert of white wine sorbet and peaches was pleasant enough, but nothing spectacular. As far as I recall, the petit fours were all just madeleines in different shapes. The rest of the food was all pleasant enough, but nothing special at all.
This restaurant has three Michelin stars, and at the time of my visit it was rated as the 8th best in the world by Restaurant Magazine. I've had much better (and cheaper) food in restaurants with only one star or even no stars (Sangonereta in Valencia, Spain).
I, of course, can't say how a meal at Daniel would be today, but after this meal I don't intend to go back there to find out, and I have noticed that the restaurant has had a significant slide downhill on Restaurant Magazine's list of the best restaurants in the world. I've been to at least 15 Michelin Star restaurants (five of them had three stars), and Daniel is in the bottom three.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC