Zoe

Front

Warm and inviting. That is immediately what hits you as you walk into Zoe, a chic SoHo restaurant. You may think that it would be loud and difficult to maneuver due to it’s Prince Street location, Zoe is anything but. 

Zoe been open since 1992, is owned and run by Stephen and Thalia Loffredo. Stephen Loffredo is a very strong, very involved presence in his eatery and it shows.  I must say, it is always very nice to see a restaurant owner as a presence in their restaurant. It makes you feel as though they really have a vested interest in overseeing what is happening.

Spoon and I were meeting up with our dear friends the Salad Tongs for dinner. It is always a culinary adventure and feast when we pair up with them.

We arrived first and were shown to our table. So glad they didn’t make us wait for them to come before they sat us! We ordered iced tea – fresh, tasty, and bottomless. Our bus boy (more on him later) brought bread over – a huge basket with three very thin slices of bread and three very thin slices of foccacia. Certainly not what would be presented to a table for four people.

The down side of having dinner with the Salad Tongs is we want to eat EVERYTHING! We can never manage to order what’s on the Restaurant Week Menu without a lot of extras!

PizzaThis trip was no exception! While deciding what to order from the Restaurant Week menu, we ordered the Pizza Prosciutto with Figs, Whipped Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Onions. We actually thought, “Hmm, maybe not, we won’t be able to eat everything else.” All I can say is HA! This may be the perfect pizza! Crispy crust, sweet figs and caramelized onions all balanced by the tang of the whipped goat cheese. There are 6 slices in this pie and there could have been a fight to the death for the last two slices…..

Salmon TartaFor starters Mr. Salad Tong had the Salmon Tartar with Ginger Lime Dressing and Taro Chips. I am not always a fan of raw fish, but this salmon was so fresh and such high quality, that eating it any way other than raw would have been sinful.  The ginger lime dressing adding the perfect bite to the perfectly seasoned salmon. The added crunch factor from the taro chips was just an added bonus.

Scallops and ChiorizoMrs. Salad Tong also had the Grilled Scallops and Chorizo with a ParsleySauce. Perfectly grilled, plump scallops were coupled with grilled chiorizo. The chiorizo adding just the perfect spicy kick to this dish. The parsley sauce added a nice depth of flavor to this simple but very flavorful starter.

SaladSpoon and Fork both had the Zoe Market Salad loaded with Summer Radish, ToyboxTomatoes and a White Balsamic Vinaigrette. I think we may be saladed out at this point. This salad had julienned radishes on top with grape tomatoes over a mesculin mix.  The dressing was quite tasty. Unfortunately a salad is a salad and there really isn’t much to say. 

Onto the entrees!

Mahi MahiMrs. Salad Tong had the Wood Grilled Mahi Mahi with Mizuna, Red Onion and Mango Vinaigrette. The mahi mahi was perfectly grilled, just slightly rare in the center. The mahi mahi was served over a wonderful salsa made with mango, mizuna and red onions with a light vinaigrette.

SteakThe rest of us had the Hanger Steak, served over green beans and potatoes with a wonderful balsamic reduction. Perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, very generous portion, does anything else need to be said? 

Polenta FriesDuring Restaurant Week we should tell the waiter as we walk in, ‘Please don’t let us see anything but the Restaurant Week menu!’  Of course the words Polenta Fries found our eyes. Spoon and Fork looking and the Salad Tongs, no one wanting to say…..should we order these…..I couldn’t help it! I had to have them! And they were just what we expected. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. The only problem? THE SAUCE! Not good, not good at all! Perhaps it was trying to be a remoulade, sadly it was more like mayonnaise and ketchup hurriedly mixed together.

My favorite part of Restaurant Week is that dessert is always included! I am always hoping that everyone orders something different so we can try everything! No such luck here!

PuddingMr. Salad Tong and Fork order this incredible White Chocolate Pudding.  The pudding was served in a juice glass – or what would be a large juice glass. In the middle of the pudding was a layer of pistachio cream. Thick and soft and oh so delicious! Floating on top of the second layer of white chocolate pudding was chocolate, cherries and candied pistachios. All my favorite sweet flavors in one glass! Packed quite a wallop!

Front (15)Mrs. Salad Tong and Spoon each had a Peach and Apricot Tart with creamy custard and a scoop of Ice Wine sorbet on top. The plate was drizzled with honey.  The tart shell was fantastic, so crispy and buttery. The custard creamy and rich. The fruit was just sweet enough. But the star of this dessert was the ice wine sorbet. It took a couple of spoonfuls to realize what it was, but it lent a tang and refreshing element to this custardy dessert. Great idea!

All in all, this was a great dining experience, far above what I expected it to be. I would definitely go back here again, Restaurant Week or not.  If you’re in SoHo and need a great place to eat, this is it!

Well, wait……my only complaints are the bread basket, the dipping sauce for the polenta fries and OUR BUS BOY! He climbed behind the banquet to reach his arm in front of Mr. Salad Tong to take a small plate while he was still eating, he reached across the table in front of all of us while we were still eating to grab plates or glasses, and at one point he came to place (haha) something on the table and he practically threw it at us! Our server was fantastic, this guy, not so much!

Zoe . 90 Prince Street . NYC, NY . 212.966.6722
Zoe on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Beacon Restaurant & Bar

There is nothing that the cutlery trio love more than Restaurant Week! Our waistlines may not, but our tummies and taste buds sure do! 

 Our dear friend Absinthe Spoon was celebrating a birthday and we decided to try Waldy Malouf’s Beacon Restaurant & Bar. For those of you who don’t know Waldy Malouf, he is the one responsible for earning the Rainbow Room it’s New York Times’ 3 star rating.  He has brought that special touch to Beacon Restaurant where open fire and wood fire cuisine is the specialty.

Beacon is located in Midtown, just off the beaten path of some of New York’s finest shops and is surrounded by midtown hotels.

We don’t have an outside photo at this time as the front of the Beacon is wrapped in scaffolding. But when walking into the Beacon, one walks into a beautiful Art Deco dinging room. The hosts could smile more or try to be more engaging.

There are two separate seating areas in the restaurant. One on street level, and one towards the back and down a short flight of stairs. The pit,as we were told it is referred to, is right in front of the kitchen and from certain tables you can watch the chefs working away. We were sitting in a wonderful half circle banquet off to the side. But even from this vantage point you can here the clatter and chatter from this section of the kitchen. There is also a new burger and sandwich bar which puts you right in the middle of the action. You are sitting within 4 feet of the executive chef and the wood burning ovens.

Our server was very knowledgeable about the menu and quickly offered his opinions and was informative about the entire menu. My only small thing against this fellow was WINKING. He winked at everything.

Amuse BoucheWhile we were looking over the menu we ordered iced tea – bottomless and freshly made – and our server, Brent, brought over a complimentary  amuse-bouche for the table. Three small triangles of delicious fire grilled pizza. A wonderful way to start our celebration.

SaladThe choice of starters wasn’t very varied. There was a salad or a salad or a soup. Sadly for our followers, we all chose the Arugula & Warm Potato Salad with Parmesan. What arrived was a small mountain of arugula, covered with shavings of parmesan, and – not mentioned in the description – potato chips. We sort of looked from one to the other trying to figure out if this scattering of potato chips were the warm potatoes described in the menu. But once you dug into the arugula, you realized that there were a few (and I do mean a few) half-dollar sized warm potatoes buried there. I must say, the dressing on the potatoes was wonderful, but the Fork is a sucker for potatoes with vinegar, but the three of us would have gladly traded some of out arugula for more potatoes – three half-dollar sized potatoes was not in any proportion to the mound of arugula.

ArtichokeBecause the three of us love artichokes so, we couldn’t help but order the Wood Roasted Artichokewith Gremolata. It was a beautiful appetizer. The artichoke was huge! The artichoke could have been blanched a bit longer before it was roasted. It was seriously tough. The gremolata on top of the heart should be called anything but.  Gremolata is classically finely chopped garlic, parsley and lemon zest. The ingredients were there, but the garlic cloves were whole, and when you aren’t expecting them it’s a bit off-putting. This certainly didn’t warrant a $14 price tag.

ChickenFor our mains, Spoon and Absinthe Spoon both ordered (it must be a spoon thing) Spit Roasted Ten Herb Chicken with Panzanella Salad. What arrived was a half a roasted chicken. The portion was substantial. The chicken very moist and tender. The injection of herbs to the chicken was fantastic and very tasty. Great dish. Wait, did I forget to mention the panzanella salad?  The parsely leaf, half of a grape tomato and 5 BOXED croutons hidden underneath this beautiful chicken? What was the point of that?  That isn’t enough of anything to consider it part of anything! 

SteakThe Fork on the other hand ordered Grilled Sirloin Steak with a Red Wine Reduction. There was a supplement for this dish, but in the end it was well worth it. Substantial piece of steak perfectly grilled, perfectly seasoned. It was tender and juicy. This beautifully prepared steak sat on top of (are you sensing a theme here) a little surprise of chopped chives, asparagus and other little bits of greenery that I couldn’t identify but were equally delicious. There was also some watercress on the plate for show. The wine reduction was such a perfect complement to the steak.

Brent had told us that the dishes didn’t really come with any sides (especially panzanella salad!) so we naturally had to try some of their very varied assortment of side dishes.

PolentaBrent recommended the Anson Mills Cheese Polenta. To the table arrived this tiny (perhaps a cup in volume) cast iron, covered, casserole pot. Inside was delicious, steaming hot, cheesey polenta. Perfectly cooked and delicious. Enough for a spoonful or so each. Certainly worth it.

AsparagusRoasted Asparagus was our other side dish. NO. You can’t call something roasted unless you actually roast it! These were not roasted. These were not good. They were mushy and tasteless. Very disappointing. This, like the “panzanella salad” had, perhaps, one grape tomato sliced in half. Has there been a run on tomatoes that we don’t know about?

So, on to dessert! One of the nicest things about Restaurant Week is that dessert is included.  

CheesecakeSpoon and I each ordered the Cheesecake with Mango Salsa. Something inside of me kept saying ‘Get the chocolate cake! Get the chocolate cake!’ Did I listen? NO! AM I sorry? Oh, yes! Cheesecake is cheesecake, but this promised to have a toasted coconut crust. Nope. Didn’t taste any coconut. Not a shred. And what was worse than the average cheesecake was the mango salsa. I should let the photo speak for itself…..but all I could think of was baby spitup. Enough said.

SouffleAbsinthe Spoon ordered the Chocolate Souffle after much praise from our server.  Sneaky Spoon let our him know that we were celebrating Absinthe Spoon’s birthday.  So when when the souffle arrived there was a candle and Happy Birthday written across the plate in chocolate. Very sweet thing to do!  The souffle was very sweet. Sadly it was not cooked long enough so it wasn’t set enough. We all agreed that a souffle needs a bit of a crust on top and lining the ramekin. A little more time in the oven would have accomplished that.

All in all, this meal wasn’t terrible, or even bad, it just wasn’t great or something to be repeated.

Waldy Malouf does have two cookbooks, one called High Heat which is a grilling and roating cookbook; and the other the Hudson River Valley Cookbook which celebrates the ingredients indigenous to the New York Hudson Valley.

 Beacon Restaurant & Bar . 25 West 56th Street, NYC, NY . 212.332.0500

Gramercy Tavern

Front

Really, can we just call Danny Meyer and the USHG team geniuses? Each restaurant unique. Each restaurant impeccably run. Each restaurant reaching a different group. The great food and great dining experience the common bond between each restaurant. And good food and a fantastic dining experience are what these places all do best!

EntranceWalking into the Gramercy Tavernyou are greeted instantly by beauty. The front of the Gramercy Tavern is very plain. Gold lettering on each large picture window let you know that it’s the Gramercy Tavern, but that’s all there is. Once you open the door from the street, all that changes. There is an unbelievable warmth from the moment you step into the foyer . Beautiful flowers, a lovely handed painted sign with Gramercy Tavern on it let you know that you are in for a treat.

The Fork was late. Very late. Running down the street is not the best look for the Fork. Spoon was waiting, patiently. I walked into the Gramercy Tavern and was greeted by two hostesses with the kindest look about them and the biggest smiles. I immediately felt at ease and far less late than I knew I was.

By the way, kudos for allowing patrons to sit at their table and have a drink while waiting for a slow poke dining partner. 

There are actually two restaurants within the Gramercy Tavern, the Tavern and the Restaurant. The Tavern has a great menu. Everything is a la carte. It is as exciting and wide range as the Restaurant, just smaller.

When you step out of the Tavern and into the main part of the dining room you feel as though you were transported back in time to a tavern in the 1800s, but this is not the type of fare you would have experienced then!

The restaurant is adorned with early American antiques. The wood burning stove is made from bricks from the last existing American foundry to cut bricks by hand. There is a wood pile stacked by the stove and adds to the rustic feel.

BreadI found Spoon happily seated at a table – a corner banquet – munching on bread and having an iced tea. As I sat a lovely young lady came to the table, beaming, and introduced herself.  Ana has someone bring over water for me right away – I think my panting gave her a hint – and asked if I would like a drink. I ordered iced tea as well.

As always, an aside about the iced tea! Large glasses. Lemon wedges on the side with the seeds cut out. We weren’t sure about the issue of bottom glass or ridiculous pricing! We always hold our breathwhen the check comes. This was not too bad. Four glasses, $3.00 each. Truly, we were expecting so much worse!

A bus boy came over with a huge basked of bread, with 6 different types of bread,  and asked which I would like. I was tempted to ask if he would just leave the basket, but instead chose a green olive bread and a sourdough. On the table were two little white dishes, one containing a sweet, creamy butter and the other salt. And if this carb fix were not enough, he came back to see if we would like more!

Spoon had already studied the menu and decided what we were eating.  Considering I was late, I agreed. What else could a Fork do? Our server came over, a lovely young lady named Ana.  She answered some questions about the menu, asked if we were ready – you betcha! As an aside, Ana had the brightest smile, knew the menu, was able to give informative answers to questions. We found out she had recently been promoted from hostess and reservationistto a server. Very good decision! This young lady is excellent with people!

This menu was truly inspired by Michael Anthony’s well known love of seasonal items and local produce. Round of applause for utilizing the best of the season and the best of local ingredients!

SaladWe started with a Summer Bean Salad, eight ball squash, green beans, wax beans, lima beans, and various greens served in a gooseberry vinaigrette dressing. Barely blanched the vegetables were fresh and crunchy. Gooseberries are so sour, it made an interesting combination with the vegetables. Unfortunately, the dressing was tasteless. You could see it, it had a pretty pink color, but it didn’t have a lot of flavor. Perhaps if the gooseberries had been smooshed a little it would have infused the dressing with a little acidity.

LambOur other starter was Lamb Pappardelle with lemon confit, olives and swiss chard. If there were a possibility of a tiny, little diving board on the side of the bowl, this would be the dish that you would want to dive face first into! The pappardelle are made fresh every day. They are thick and tender with the perfect toothsome bite to them. The lamb and sauce is so perfectly spiced, you just are disappointed when you get to the bottom of the bowl. Thank goodness for the bread! Believe me, you can’t let this sauce go to waste! To add to the beauty and simplicity of this dish is a lemon confit. It adds a very subtle zing to the savory flavors. All of this is served over a bed of Swiss chard. This is one of those dishes that you would want order every time you visit the Gramercy Tavern. Sadly, it’s not on the menu for the Tavern, but I wonder if a pout could have one served? I mean, 10 steps can’t keep a Fork or Spoon away from such a delicious dish.

 For our Crocettefirst entree we had the Pork Croquette served over Potato Puree and Escarole. This dish is on of the reasons we were so excited about going to the Gramercy Tavern. Fork and Spoon had been reading wonderful things about this dish in the blog world and this dish was an absolute given before we arrived. The presentation is simplicity at it’s best, but once you cut into the croquette, simplicity is the last thing you taste.  The pork is encrusted and fried – now how can it be bad? Pork and fried in the same temptation! You look at it and you think, hmmm, could all of those bloggers be wrong? As your fork starts to cut into it all you feel is the crispness and hear the crunch and then the shredded pork tumbles out. Sigh. There were cubes of pork, and pork belly, and bacony something, and shredded pork all encrusted in what Fork and Spoon are assuming was a mixture of panko and toasted breadcrumbs. The only thing that can make this sort of pork dish better – besides more pork – is mashed potatoes. The croquette sits on top of blanched escarole, capers and pureed potatoes. Again, the flavor profiles are amazing and so perfectly suited for each other. Spoon and I are still trying to figure out what the ingredients were in the delicious broth around the potatoes….definitely another trip back for that!  This dish is very, very good, and very, very rich.

 The second entree Chickenwe ordered was the Pasture Raised Chicken with Spring Vegetables. A lovely pirceof chicken, braised and then baked for a few moments to crisp the skin.  Served with carrots, green and yellow beans and sugar snap peas and sat atop a yummy carrot puree. Beautifully plated dish. The small piece we were able to eat was delicious. We suggest though that during a time like Restaurant when there are wonderful dishes to try that a simple chicken may not be the way to go. Anyway, we were unable to eat this dish as the main portion of the breast was very pink. Our server, Ana, came over and asked if there was a problem and we explained. The plate was whisked away, brought back to the kitchen, re-fired and packed up to go. Even the slightest hiccup is handled in a very kind, but professional manner. They get the concept that the customer is right.

Dessert, dessert, what to do? We wanted all of the desserts. See, some people go over their budget in restaurants or over the prix fixe cost on drinks…for Fork and Spoon, it’s dessert! Well, okay, perhaps a great side dish. We were champing at the bit waiting for the dessert menu. Would we HAVE to order a third. How can we be expected to pick only two? Bread pudding

 The first dessert we decided to try – well, not decided. This – like the Pork Croquette – was pre-decided! When there is so much buzz about a dessert, how do you not try it? But, I digress. The first dessert was the Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with Cacao Nib Ice Cream. Now, I have never been a big fan of bread puddings. They are either two dry or resemble nursery food. This, I must say was delightful. Moist, with a nice consistency. It doesn’t hurt that there were chocolate chips scattered through out! The ice cream was amazing! Very smooth and creamy with bits of cacao throughout, sitting on a little mounds of nibs. Streaked across the plate was a ribbon of dark chocolate and one of milk chocolate. And as if there weren’t enough here to keep your taste buds amused, there was a chocolate straw.

 TartDessert  number two was harder to decide.  We really were stuck between the Rhubarb Brown Butter Cake and the Blueberry Peach Streusel Tart with Roasted Almond Ice Cream. It was probably the addition of the ice cream that tipped the scale.  And once it was presented, we knew we made the right choice!  The tart crust was crisp and buttery. So crisp, you would think it had just been made. There is no way that this sat around and retained the crispness this crust had. On top of the crust were blueberries and peaches. And on top of that was wonderful, crunchy, buttery streusel. On the side was a quenelle of toasted almond ice cream. Now, if, as a kid, you were a fan of Good Humor’s Toasted Almond bars, this ice cream will bring you back to skinned knees, baseball, hopscotch, or whatever your favorite childhood past time was. One bite of this and I could see our Good Humor man standing next to the park with his cart, jingling the bells, calling us all to come running! Connecting the ice cream and the tart was a streak of peach puree and a streak of blueberry puree.

The nice thing about both of these desserts was it gives you just the right amount of sweet after a big, rich meal without making you like you over indulged.

BathroomNormally, Fork and Spoon don’t discuss rest rooms unless they’re really – well, yucky. In this case, we had to mention the rest rooms. Yes, the photo to the right is the sight one sees upon entering the rest room!

There are surprising touches and flourishes in every corner of the Gramercy Tavern.

While people complain that they cannot get reservations in the main dining room, be flexible with your time, with your day. Eat in the Tavern, the food is excellent.

While there is no cookbook attached to this restaurant per se, there is a wonderful artisinal cocktail book MixShakeStir. This is a wonderful book full of cocktail recipes. And since cutlery cannot – or should not – drink on an empty stomach, there is even a chapter on Bar Fare. (Don’t they just think of everything!?)

Gramery Tavern . 42 East 20th Street . NYC . 212.. 477.0777

DBGB Kitchen & Bar

Place setting

DBGB Kitchen & Bar is the latest brainchild of one of New York’s most beloved chefs, Daniel Boulud.  Tucked in an ultra modern building on the Bowery just off Houston, one is reminded of the areas not so distant pass as the center for industrial restaurant supply.

FrontThe front is so plain, in fact, that one would walk right past this place if not specifically looking for it. Sign Without the DBGB logo on one narrow pane, you might think the place was still under construction, unless you stopped and looked at what was actually all over the windows …. Daniel Boulud’s favorite culinary quotes.  They line the walls of the  bar area as well.

Once inside there is a ramp, continuing the very industrial feel of the exterior, which leads to the host podium and into the bar area. The bar area has rows and rows of small (and I mean small) tables and a small bar. It is light and airy.

The staff manning the host desk is amazing – very friendly and accommodating, and not in an obsequious way, but in an ‘I love my job’ way. If you are lucky enough – as we were – to get a reservation in the main dining room, you are in for a treat.

On either side of the opening between the bar area and the main dining room,  are large, dark, open wood shelves which go from floor to ceiling. Once you walk through the opening you see the same dark wood, floor to ceiling shelving lining both sides of the room. These shelves are stocked full of glasses and bread and dry goods and wine and mugs. Tucked in between the shelving on one side – almost unseen –  are U-shaped banquets, cozy and away from prying eyes. Across the back wall is an open view into most of the kitchen. (Actually as you are going to the rest rooms you walk through the kitchen – well, not the middle of it, but there are cold boxes on one side and the dessert area on the other – VERY COOL!)

But I must say, once you walk through the opening, it is as if you left an ultra modern industrial chic room and walked into a combination brasserie tavern. You almost have to turn around to make sure you weren’t transported someplace else.

The most intriguing part of the shelving are the copper braisers, roasting pans, stockpots, moulds, teapots which belong to many of the world’s most renowned chefs. It’s like a culinary museum. Makes you want to take something and RUN! 

In the center of the room are two rows of booth seating. Very comfortable, nice sized tables. The booths are back to back as opposed to side by side for a nice feeling of privacy. In the middle of the two rows are tables. Even with a full room of people, this is not a loud place.

While we were looking at the menu our waiter came over to ask if we’d like help with the menu and/or drinks. We ordered two iced teas and water.  Very large glasses of iced tea. The water came with a small plate with freshly cut lemon and lime. And, since we had already looked at the menu online and had an idea of what we wanted to order, but our waiter was so eager to offer aide in our choices we let him offer guidance. 

Now, if you’ve ever sat and listened to a waiter drone on about the specials or particular items on the menu, you know they are just regurgitating what they have been told and have probably never eaten any of these before. Not so with our waiter.  First, there are no specials, the entire menu is special.  But as he described the things on the menu that were his favorites, you could tell from the description that he really did like them and that he really did eat them.  He left us to study the menu a bit further and as we did, the maitre d’ came by and offered his opinion and the wonderful host came by to offer his opinion. Very impressive indeed.

SaladOur first choice of starter was the Iceberg and Blue salad.  Now, being the jaded New York foodies that we can be at times, we were expecting – and would not have been disappointed by – a wedge of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese and a touch of Boulud flair.

Nope, that would have been too simple. What arrived was a 1″ thick horizontal slice of iceberg lettuce, slathered in a blue cheese dressing, crumbled pieces of blue cheese, quartered grape tomatoes, bacon, crispy fried shallot bits, thin slices of celery, tarragon, chervil, and chives. Served freezing cold. It was the happiest salad I had ever seen!  The dressing must be mixed with something else as it didn’t have that cloying tendency blue cheese dressing can have.

The slice of iceberg gets away from the annoying core and is far easier to deal with than the wedge. It also makes a much nicer presentation. The celery and the chopped up celery leaves give a nice subtle flavor and extra crunch to the salad. All of the chopped herbs on top were an extra bonus of different flavors, but the licorice taste of the tarragon gave just an extra little pow of flavor layer.  Just when you didn’t think the standard retro iceberg and blue cheese salad could not be improved upon, along came this!

Fried EggOur second starter was the Asparagus and Fried Egg. I fell in love with this dish on the DBGB website from the photograph alone.  

It is a lightly breaded whole egg. Now whether the egg is slightly cooked before frying or is actually cooked while frying is a mystery. Matters not as this is the most delicious egg you have ever eaten!

This perfect little egg sat atop asparagus, duck prosciutto, duck cracklings (a couple more of those would not have hurt!), and a wonderful mustardy egg dressing.

And duck prosciutto – who even knew there could be such a thing.  The Spoon did, the Fork did not. Apparently, it’s a magret duck breast packed in salt for about one week.  A magrets are breasts from ducks raised for foie gras.

We were asked about more iced tea. Of course the answer was yes, we cringed when the waiter walked over the computer and plugged it in. What were these 4 iced teas going to cost us.

BurgerOn to the entrees!  The first t hing we knew we were going to try was the The Piggie. A beef patty topped with Daisy Mays’ BBQ pulled pork, jalapeno mayonnaise and Boston lettuce. This is served on a cheddar cheese cornbread bun with mustard-vinegar slaw. As if this isn’t bad enough, it’s served with FRIES! Nothing much needs to be said about this – really, the description just about says it all. The fries are served in the cutest tin cups with heart shaped handles.  We wanted to take it, but we’d have to go back at least 11 more times to have a set!

I am warning you, this picture is not pretty. Photos of sausage rarely are pretty.

Sausage

Our second entree was the Sausage Duo. A choice of two of their house made sausages. Our waiter and the maitre d’ both suggested the Vermont sausage as one of the duo. A fat, smoked pork and Vermont cheddar sausage served on top of a potato pancake with a dollop of red onion creme fraiche. The creme fraiche had a citrus-y twist to it.  The potato pancake was a perfect accent for this sausage.

Now the other sausage……the really icky looking one on the right side. Oh, don’t worry, it tasted as bad as it looks! The second was the Tunisienne. It was supposedly a lamb and mint merguez sausage. Merguez is a red, spicy sausage. It got the spicy down, but there was no taste of mint and certainly no taste of lamb. If the sausage wasn’t bad enough, it was served over  lemon braised spinach and chickpeas. The spinach was way over cooked, and if there was any lemon in the spinach or chickpeas I’ll eat my hat.

We each took a tiny little bite and made a face. We didn’t think anyone was around to see the face, but instantly our waiter was at the table asking if there was a problem with the Tunisienne. We explained it was just not to our liking and he went on to ask why, that the chef likes to have feedback in order to improve the dishes. We explained the overwhelming spice in the sausage and the underwhelming spinach and chickpeas, how they were desperately called for something to make them pop. He took our plates away, and the maitre d’ was back. He asked us to explain again what we honestly felt was wrong with the dish, what we liked about the others, etc.

He told us not to let that keep us from enjoying dessert and that the Grand Marnier souffle was his absolute favorite. Our waiter told us he loved the chocolate cake, and to add a third opinion, our wonderful host stopped by to tell us we absolutely has to have the Coffee-Caramel Sundae!

DessertWe had to go with the Coffee-Caramel Sundae. Coffee and Caramel in the same glass? What could go wrong!? The ice cream was a coffee caramel ice cream that is made at the restaurant. In the bottom of the sundae glass were quarter sized chocolate cookies, cubes of fudgey brownies AND – if that were not enough – candied pecans. Add whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and you have the perfect dessert to end this perfect meal.  Every bite had ice cream and a nibble of some buried surprise on your spoon.

And speaking of spoons – the spoons look like small shovels! Oh, we wanted those as well – quite a noisy endeavor – french fry buckets, spoons and whatever copper pots we could grab and running. 

Our wonderful waiter came back, asked how we liked everything, did we need anything else.  The maitre d’ came with our check, asked how we liked everything, and let us know that he took the icky sausage off the check and thanked us for our feedback.

I looked at the check, to our surprise the iced teas were $3.50 each – not too bad for such a large glass! And our check – with a very nice tip – was $100!

This was an incredible dinner! Please go here!  The presentation of the dishes, the service, the food alone, so absolutely worth every penny!

Reservations are absolutely necessary! It is very hard to get a reservation in the back, the front bar area room is for walk-ins and the menu is much smaller than the main menu, but good just the same. Mostly you can get a reservation in back after 9:00 p.m. Too late for you, as it was for us? Ask for a 5:30 or 5:45 reservation. It’s virtually empty at that time, they have reservations, and they do not rush you.

DBGB is located at 299 Broadway – on the Bowery between Houston and 1st Street. Reservations can be made through Open Table or through the restaurant itself 212.933.5300.

Spoon and I would suggest through the restaurant itself. They only set aside a certain number of tables for Open Table and their online reservation system.