It is OUR birthday weekend-- Liz and I are both October 28th and our sons, Willis and Terrence are October 27th.
This year is Lizzie's 50th so we decided to spend in the NYC for some foodie fun with our best friends!
We have GREAT foodie friends so off we went.
Here is my rant and summary--
Friday night with our best friends to a classic brasserie- They are GREAT dining companions who are world travelers. They know that Liz and I love a good brasserie - they type of dinner that should be a no bullshit, filling and unpretentious experience. Well, I guess I missed the NY revolution- brasseries gone minimalist--how sad. The food presentation here was VERY precious and pretentious. Not bad, mind you, but what is the deal with Austere and Brasserie in the same sentence. Brasserie means working man's establishment. Any self respecting workingman would beat the tar out of this chef!
1. Steak frites with Maitre D'hotel butter. No brainer--Liz loves a good steak frites plate. This was---A steak on a plate--just like that--nothing else? Frites in the side in the stupid deli paper cone, compound butter on the side. Was the chef afraid of getting butter and blood on the plate? That is the idea! Steak blood and shallot butter get into the fries--that's real baby!
2. Pigs feet stuffed with foie gras. I was excited! I just enjoyed this at Au Pied du Cochon in Montreal and there it was huge, delicious and decadent, full of knuckle cartilage, skin and collegen, toes intact-- so I had high hopes. Here I received a rectangle plate with 2 perfectly formed triangles of pork, breaded golden with a hint of liver in the filling, and a pencil thin streak of wine reduction, probably 1 teaspoon full of sauce. It was...accurate..but worthy of a snore or two, no more.
Braised rabbit--ONE foreleg--ONE foreleg--ONE foreleg!!! That is like ordering roast chicken and getting one wing. Was it executed well? sure, well enough for ...ONE foreleg, but that is not the point. What workingman would have ONE foreleg of rabbit for dinner? Where is the love?
$600 for dinner for 4 including 2 bottles of wine. Got home hungry-- I could expect that if I were going to WD50 but a Brasserie? No love. No lust.
Give me Montreal anyday!
The Ethnic stuff in NYC was and always is Great-
Saturday Korean lunch on 32nd street--perfect Bim Bap and Kim Chees and short ribs - wow--hey, here is some flavor, complexity, spice, courage!---cheap - $30 for two - and memorable, always inspiring!
Sat PM Dinner- Celebrity chef Tribeca bistro- High Hopes
Fine Dining was Fine, but so safe-Where is the energy and excitement? Blaring John Mellencamp does not inject energy into the food.
Whatever happened to taking risks and pushing flavors--I do'nt mean molecular gas-twinkie-stronmy, but real soulful cooking?
The nuances and dymanics of using the pantry to bring the beast to a symphonic level is really missing in the new "clean Cuisine"
Safe, predictable and frankly, a little boring- To spend $700 for 6 - to eat stuff like mussels, steak frites, lamb shank, pasta bolognese and roast salmon – leaves you feeling kind of hollow. It didn't suck, it was cooked correctly. It just didn't make me feel like I was somewhere where someone was truly behind the food. There was no signature. It could have been a chain--a nice chain, but a chain nonetheless. No brightness, no spice, no assertiveness. It is like the nerds have taken over the school band. It had all of the right items-bones, octopus, shank--all cooked correctly but it was just so what. No one wants to lay claim to being an accurate lay. You're either a good lay, a great lay, a crazy lay, lazy lay or a bad lay. This was a forgettable lay. What does that say about it?
Sunday quick French breakfast - Lizzie and I eating Lardon salads -!
the vacuous team of hostesses - or porn stars-- or whatever-- were clueless to the fact that our hip hop server was still reliving his conquest of the previous night and didn't get to our table for 15 minutes, but that salad is a perfect breakfast (I added and extra egg and a side of bacon) and the coffee was hot and black (I dumped a shot of espresso into it) so wtf? right? right.
Immediately after breakfast, we strolled right down the block to Eataly.
EATALY - What more can you want-- forget the whining about commercialism and food being imported and the slow food issues, forget the unsatisfied knw-it-all brats who blog because they cannot actually speak to anyone face to face.
Eataly is good foodie fun!
--it is delicious, soulful and sexy! Nuff said. Get there and get over your celebrity envy. What Bastianich and Batali have done for Italian products is amazing. Kinda like what the Beatles and Stones did for Elmore James and Howlin Wolf. They were thankful and so are Italians.
Next time I think I'll go to the boroughs for some heartfelt, flavorful food that inspires me to cook and to laugh. I never did like playing with the rich kids toys.