Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 9:05PM
Daniel Boulud, one of the most famous members of New York's restaurant royalty, has never been one for serving up molecular gastronomy in his restaurants. Instead, the concept of cuisine created through chemistry has been the provenance of chefs like Ferran Adrià, of Spain's El Bulli, and Grant Achatz, of Chicago's Alinea. But last night, the hallowed walls of restaurant Daniel, on East 65th Street, shimmered with the gleam of "caviar beads" made from gellified Cointreau. Created by head bartender Xavier Herit, (above) the new cocktail—a strawberry margarita with a side of perfectly shaped pearls made from strawberry-infused Cointreau—took its place among Daniel's bar offerings. For $29. Steep for a margarita—even at Daniel—but what you're paying for here is the preparation, which is done right before your eyes. Syringes, strainers and all. Needless to say, it's a lot more involved than pouring a perfect Guinness. And a lot more colorful. INSIDER TIP: Ask nicely and bartender Herit may just show you the supersized silver briefcase containing all of the tools a would-be master mixologist needs to create Cointreau magic. INSIDE TIP #2: The caviar beads also go well with a glass of Piper Heisieck Champagne (pictured left).