Il Buco Alimentari

Yes, it’s been a long time. So long, in fact, that we forgot to take a picture of the outside of the restaurant.

That’s okay. For Il Buco Alimentari, it is really the inside and the amazing food that counts!

This was a bad day for Fork. One of those days where words cannot be spoken until alcohol is consumed. Quickly, a cocktail menu. So  many choices, so much alcohol needed. Wait! What’s this? A Timo. Prosecco, Vergano Moscato Vermouth and fresh grapefruit. It was perfect. SLightly sweet, slightly tart, and bubbly.

As the badness of the day emptied while Fork emptied the Timo glass, our lovely waitress Christi brought us bread, olive oil and salt. Really, does life get any better than that?

Fork: “I am in a really bad mood. I don’t care what you order. Just do all the ordering please.”

Spoon: “Okay. I thought the cured meats looked good.”

Fork: “Okay. But, the artichokes. We have to have the artichokes. Oh, and the porchetta. And if we’re having porchetta then we should have the Bucatini Cacio e Pepe and not Gricia.”

Spoon: “well, since you don’t want to order …”

Amazing what a drink and bread can do for one’s mood!

Since our adventure to Rome last spring, Fork and Spoon have been in search of wonderful Roman style restaurants in the City. Il Buco Alimentari is one of these places.

We started with Fried Artichokes. Who can resist fried artichokes? These were small and delicate and crispy. The insides were still tender. The preserved lemon  gave them just the right hit of acidity. A little salt and you were good to go. It’s amazing we were able to snap a photo of these before they were inhaled.

We asked Christi which of the Salumi della Casa she would recommend. She suggested the assorted plate for two. Perfect. A little bit of everything! Some of the meats are made and cured in house and some are from outside sources. They were all amazing. Each unique, but each delicious.

You simply cannot eat in a Roman restaurant without having Pasta Cacio e Pepe. So simple. So delicious. Cheese and pepper. Perfect. We thought the portion a little on the skimpy side, but we still had a long way to go, so it was really okay – this time! Fork and Spoon were reaching for a little bit of bread to soak up the cheese and pepper on the bottom of the bowl when this manager-type person swooped in from NOWHERE and snatched the bowl off the table. WITH. OUT. ASKING if we were done. Sigh.

Next up – and one of the dishes we can never resist – Porchetta alla Romana. The meat was tender and very flavorful. It was served with shaved fennel, blood orange and mustard greens. We could have lived without the mustard greens. They really don’t add anything here. There were two teeny tiny slices of blood orange on the plate. The shaved fennel was perfect with the porchetta. The cracklings on top. Oh, the cracklings. Does anything really need to be said about cracklings? Nope. And over the shattering of the cracklings you couldn’t have heard us anyway!

When we ordered the Porchetta, Christi mentioned that the dish came without any sort of side and would we like to order something. One quick glance at the menu and we were done. Crispy Polenta. WHat this meant we had no idea, but it was crispy and it was polenta. What arrived were small abstract cubes of polenta, deep fried with shavings of parmigiano on the top. Not necessarily a great side to the delicate Porchetta, but a great side just the same! This would be great as an appetizer with some wine or prosecco.

You would think we would have been stuffed by now, but meal does not go by without dessert. It must be done. The roasted pear with semolina crumble and creme fraiche gelato was just too intriguing to pass up. The pear was amazing. Tender, sweet and gooey. Perfect with the tang from the creme fraiche gelato.

It’s a little crowded, the tables a little toooooo close together (and no one moves them for you), and VERY noisy, but once you start eating, all of this melts away and you are just being treated to fabulous cuisine.

With the exception of the thievery of our pasta bowl, this meal was amazing. And definite must try and for us a definite must go back to!

Il Buco Alimentari ~ 52 Great Jones Street ~ New York, NY ~ 212.837.2622
Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria on Urbanspoon

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Faustina

If you weren’t looking for it, you wouldn’t find it. But once you find it, you won’t ever forget it!

Faustina will be – if it isn’t already – the new hip and happening place to see, be seen and to eat. Scott Conant, you have out done yourself! Fabulous atmosphere. Great bar. Great food. Friendly staff. Can a piece of cutlery really ask for more? For those of you out there who don’t recognize Scott Conant’s name, he is the owner of Scarpetta, both in New York and Miami. He is also the very particular judge on Food Network’s Chopped – he doesn’t like red onions and is of the school of thought against Italian seafood dishes and cheese. As a joking aside, Scott, Fork and Spoon would gladly debate you on that one!

Faustino popped up on Fork and Spoon’s radar due to two things – one, small plates; and, two, their fried chicken.  

But Italian seafood and cheese notwithstanding, Faustina is outstanding! Fork and Spoon have no picture of the outside, as there is nothing indicating the restaurant. You walk into the Cooper Square Hotel, the restaurant is to the left, but you enter through the right, through the lobby, down a hall and through a big, heavy door. But once you enter, you are greeted by an enthusiasm and warmth that is very welcoming and comforting.

Fork arrived early and decided to sit at the bar and have a drink. The bar also serves food and accepts walk-ins. Fork had a Ne’Roni cocktail – nero d’avola (a sicilian wine), gin, campari and sweet vermouth. Packs a whallop, let me tell you, but oh so good.  Along with the yummy cocktail, the bartender brought  sweet and spicy almonds. What a nice way to sit and wait for Spoon. As soon as Spoon arrived, we were shown to a table.

The tables for two are very large – all the tables are very large. banquettes against the wall, leather chairs opposite. Very comfortable. Very warm in decor. There are a couple of tables for large parties in the main dining room. Large round tables – so large that Fork and Spoon cannot imagine how people can have a conversation across the table. There is also a communal table that seats 12.

Our waiter, Justin, was terrific. Very friendly, very attentive, very knowledgable about the menu, eager to make a suggestion and not afraid to say what his favorite dishes were on the menu.

We asked for iced and were told that they didn’t have iced tea yet (Faustina, at the time of this review, was open for a week). Eyebrows raised, would Faustina need to be Chopped for this faus pax? After a few minutes of gabbing and perusing the menu, Justin returned to see if we were ready to order and Spoon asked for two hot teas and two large glasses of ice. Justin looked at us strangely, smiled, and said ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ Sigh. While he was going through this ritual, he found out there actually now was iced tea. The iced tea is good, NOT bottomless, and $4 a glass.

We were told by Justin that everything was served as small plates, and 3 to 5 dishes per person was suggested. That seemed like a lot, but I guess that depends on your appetite.

We started with the Stromboli. The stromboli was rolled with prosciutto and smoked mozzarella. Just the right proportion of each. There was just a hint of fresh basil in each bite as well –  basil always makes you smile and think of summer. The dough was great. A lot of times the problem with stromboli is that the inside dough is uncooked. This was cooked straight through and perfectly done. The bread itself had a nice crust and tooth to it. Five slices of stromboli nestled in a napkin. One complaint, it was stone cold.

The second small dish we decided to try was Grilled Ciabatta, Poached Duck Egg and Fonduta. What arrived were large chunks of nicely grilled ciabatta. You are so focused on these large slices of beautiful bread that it takes you a moment to notice the small cast iron skillet next to the bread. The skillet was about a 1/2″ high and about 4″ in diameter. The pan was filled with the fonduta – Italian cheese fondue. Nestled in the center of the fonduta was a perfectly poached duck egg. Oh, I get it. The ciabatta, the duck egg, and the fonduta, what a great combination. The fonduta was speckled with pepper and finely chopped herbs, the lightest drizzle of truffle oil on top.

Next came Burrata in Carozza with bagna cauda. Fork and Spoon are not fans of the anchovy.  We asked Justin if the bagna cauda could be kept on the side. Apparently, the bagna cauda is poured tableside. Perfect. They brought our beautiful little dish and a small pitcher with the bagna cauda. Justin, sorry, the bagna cauda is VERY fishy. Thank goodness we asked for it on the side. The Burrata in Carozza is perhps 2″ in diameter. The thinnest slices of bread, lightly fried, the gentle burrata nestled inside. Burrata is an Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell of the cheese is mozzarella while the inner part is mozzarella and cream.  It is a very soft, delicate, creamy. Sadly, this was stone cold, which caused the cheese to seize a little. While the flavors were great, the coldness was a little unpleasant.

Next arrived Balsamic-Glazed Pork Spare Ribs. What a great presentation. The ribs were fall off the bone tender. Easy to eat with a fork and knife, small enough to pick up if you were the one lucky enough to have your back to the dining room.  The balsamic glaze was sweet, but not cloyingly so. The tomato chutney sitting on top was really good, a slight kick to it to add another layer to the acidic sweetness from the balsamic.

Finally arriving was our reason for being, the Friend Chicken. This was served on top of a very rich porcini and potato stufato. The chicken was great.  One pice of dark meat and one piece of white meat. The white meat was very moist. The coating on the chicken very crisp and very flavorful. We are still trying to figure out what it was. It was more than flour. Not necessarily a bread crumb. Whatever it was, it was seasoned perfectly. The stufato was so rich and tasty. More potato than porcini, but more porcini would have overpowered the whole dish, much less the potatoes.  They were the perfect ‘go with’ for the friend chicken.

Dessert was a very difficult decision. There are so many delicious choice.We again turned to Justin, and his choices were perfect.

Our first dessert was Apple Strudel. Let’s start with – this ain’t your grandma’s apple strudel. The filling was intensely apple. The crust was not a flaky puff pastry type crust , but more of a thin, pie crust. Delicious. Served along with the strudel was a scoop of cinnamon and cider caramel icecream. There were streaks of caramel adorning the plate. And – oh, wait – what are those? Not gelee. Not again. Not after the last debacle with gelee. Fork and Spoon tentatively picked up the gelee. WHEW! Cider. And yummy! What a great dessert.

The second dessert we have to try was the Torrone Panna Cotta. The name alone brought back memories of buying torrone at the San Genaro or St. Anthony Feast. You would walk up to the stand, ask for some, they would hit a piece off with a hammer, and you would merrily walk away, chomping, hoping your fillings wouldn’t come out. The panna cotta was light and delicate, and also dense and rich. The flavor was great. But then you add to that slivers of nougat, a drizzle of honey caramel, pistachios and a quenelle of milk chocolate ice and you have perfection. The last added bit of goodness were two pistachio meringue straws. Just another layer of flavor and crunch to this great dessert. You knew the flavor of the Torrone instantly.

This place is great. It was a fresh, hip vibe – great food, good music, big drinks, great new chef! Give it a whirl. You won’t be sorry!

Faustina at the Cooper Square Hotel ~ 25 Cooper Square ~ NYC, NY ~ 212.475.5700
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DBGB Kitchen & Bar ~ part deux

Fork, Knife & Spoon try to make every adventure a new adventure, but some adventures truly bear repeating. Such is the case with DBGB Kitchen & Bar, one of the fabulous restaurants in the empire that is Daniel Boulud. Fortunately for Fork and Spoon our dear friend Cheese Plane had never sampled the wonders that is DBGB and wondered if we would mind a repeat performance. Mind? Surely, you jest!

We made a 5:30 reservation and arrived to a full bar, full seating in the bar area, and an empty restaurant. We were shown to one of the banquets tucked against the wall. Very spacious and private, hidden away from and free from foot traffic passing by.  The earlier you arrive for dinner the better. As the night went on the restaurant became packed with people waiting for tables.

The advantage of this repeat adventure was that now we were cutlery three! The possibilities for ordering and trying new dishes was endless! But being at DBGB and not ordering the Iceberg & Blue salad is impossible. Again, months later than the last visit, we were served a huge horizontal cut of iceberg lettuce  slathered in blue cheese dressing with huge bits of blue cheese, crispy bacon, slices of celery, halves of cherry tomatoes, crispy shallots. We wonder how many slices the chef is able to get out of one head of iceberg lettuce, and what happens to the smaller bits that can’t be used for this wonderful salad. Truth be told, this slice is better and easy to eat than a wedge and all the glorious bits on top are really in every bite. The wonderful herbs on top, chervil, tarragon something else we couldn’t quite distinguish, just add more flavor to every perfect bit. You just can’t stop eating this and find yourself sad when it’s all eaten. But wait! We ordered so much more!

We also ordered the Pate Campagnard. Very generous slice of rich, delicious rustic pate. Flecks of herbs and potato peeking out through delicious bits of pork – a pate lovers dream. The pate is served with a delicate little salad of frisee and microgreens, Fork’s favorite pate accompaniment, cornichon and tiny pickled onions. A nice chunk of wheat bread and you are all set for a palate awakening treat! The pate is made onsite – one of the things that DBGB is known for, their pates and charcuterie.

Along with these two wonderful dishes we also ordered also Red Curry Mussels.  What arrived was a large white bowl piled high with mussels, although, honestly, you couldn’t see the mussels for the forest of herbs.  Really an unecessary amount of foliage, but once you bushwhacked your way through the basil and cilantro and other herbage, the dish was amazing. Plump, super fresh, not a sign of grit anywhere, mussels bathing in the most amazing broth. The broth was buttery and rich, sweet from coconut milk, and just as you gave way to this luscious sweet broth, the heat kicks you in the back of your throat and you can only say WOW! Even Spoon, who is not a fish fan, found this broth intoxicating.  We wanted more broth, more bread, and to sit greedily and make sure not a drop was left.

But there was so much more to come!

Cheese Plane ordered the sautéed Skate with cauliflower, risotto, pinenuts and in a saffron brown butter sauce. The dish was presented beautifully. Skate’s natural shape lends itself to a beautiful presentation. Cheese Plane was so looking forward to this dish, having read about online, knowing this was the perfect thing to be ordered. Sadly, the first bite left a mouthful of saltiness. We called over our amazing waiter, Andrew – more on him later – and Cheese Plane sadly explained that the skate was way too salty, quickly followed by this is the dish I want to eat, I just need it to be less salty. The dish disappeared and what seemed like moments later reappeared and was terrific. The cauliflower and risotto were a nice mild accompaniment to the brown butter sauce the skate was sautéed in. Skate is a very mild, moist fish that isn’t too popular but really should be. If you are out to dinner and have the opportunity to order this fish, please do, you will be very happy with your choice.

Fork and Spoon both ordered Steak Frites. A beautiful 10 oz. angus ribeye seasoned and grilled to perfect. One of the nice things about DBGB is rare means rare. Medium means medium. How is it possible that a restaurant has the nerve to say well, our medium is more like rare – doesn’t that mean it’s RARE!? But, Fork disgresses. Sitting on top of the steak was a round pat of compound butter that was just starting to melt when the steaks arrived at the table.  As it melted pink, black and green peppercorns spread across the top of the steak along with rich butter leaving you with a steak that skyrocketed in flavor. The fries were and are always amazing. Hand cut fries, crispy, still tender on the inside and with just the right amount of salt. Accompanying the steak frites was a small lollo rosso salad.  Lollo rosso is a leafy type of lettuce, it has a lot of crunch and a nutty flavor.

Oh, dessert! Dessert must be had, and these desserts were all must haves.

Fork ordered the Meyer Lemon Tart. The cutlery have a love/hate relationship with meyer lemons.  Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a tangerine. It doesn’t have a totally tart flavor. It’s sort of a tangerine flavor with a lemon undertone. The tart is served with candied meyer lemon zest,  dots of a silky milk mousse and a scoop of pomegranate sorbet. The tart shell was buttery and crisp and lent itself perfectly to the layers of flavor from the filling. There appears to be two layers on top of the crust. Both layers are have the flavor of the meyer lemons. One layer is creamy with a light meyer lemon essence to it. The other layer is more of a meyer lemon curd. Milk mousse had us very curious and perhaps slightly apprehensive.  It has the texture of a thick mousse and really tastes like milk. While this is a foil against the tartness of the tart, if the curd or lemon custard were more tart, the milk mousse would have fit in better with it. The candied meyer lemon peel was interesting. Again, meyer lemons are not tart, but more on the sweet side, so the candied peel really had no pop to it. The scoop of pomegranate sorbet was amazing. Very tart while still being sweet. The scoop sat in a little pile of cookie crumbs to keep it sitting upright and to not slide around on the plate . And in keeping with the beautiful presentations of each and every morsel of food that comes out of the DBGB kitchen, there were beautiful little pomegranate seeds scattered over the plate.

Spoon ordered the Gateau Russe aux Chataignes. Perfect. That may the only description available or necessary.  It was rich and dense, while still being light, sweet but not overly so. The on each side of the base of this lovely dessert were two slices of a very moist gateau – very close to a genoise. Sandwiched between the gateau was a thick chestnut mousse. The flavor was amazing and could have stood alone, but there was more! Down the center of the top were amazing black currants in black currant sauce – tart, sweet and perfect with the dense richness of the chestnut mousse beneath it and sandwiched between the gateau. On either side of the black currant stripe was sweet chestnut paste that resembled angel hair pasta – perhaps it was put through a ricer or even a pasta machine. As if this beautiful dessert needed another detail to be completely perfect, right in the center of the black currant sauce was nestled a single candied chestnut enrobed in edible gold leaf. A little black currant coulis in pools on the plate around the gateau and you have entered into dessert perfection.  While taste is always paramount, the visual of everything placed before you is so appetizing that you can’t wait to dive into it.

What else could a Cheese Plane possibly order for dessert except an assortment of cheeses. The cheeses are presented on a small wooden cutting board and each piece of cheese is a generous slice for one person. There is an assortment of 5 cheeses and you can request either 3 or 5 cheeses. Cheese plane chose the Tilsiter, which is a raw cow cheese from the Vorarlburg area of Austria (Tilsiter is a semi-hard cheese with a delicate, almost fruity taste with a spicy undertone to it); a Cyrus Grove Humbolt Fog (Humbolt Fog is a creamy goat cheese with a slight tangy flavor. There is an interesting ribbon of vegetable ash through its center), which is a goat cheese from McKinleyville, CA; and a Brie de Meaux from Ile de France (Brie de Meaux has a slight sweetness to it that only a cheese of this caliber could possibly have).  Along with the cheese were 3 different types of bread, a raisin wheat bread, a light wheat bread and a dark wheat bread. By the way, if it has not been mentioned previously, the bread at DBGB is out of this world. Crusty, airy, delicious, unending, with soft butter that has salt sprinkled over the top. nuts bread. And just to add some extra crunch and delight to this dessert, there is a sprinkling of pistachios, walnuts, marcona almonds, and hazelnuts around the cheeseboard. Delightful!

Now, back to our waiter. Andrew. He was amazing. He was so knowledgable about the menu. He was able to answer each and every query without hesitation. Every need was met, above and beyond what you would expect. His knowledge of the DBGB wine list was outstanding. He was able to suggest different wines, and have an intelligent conversation about the taste and quality of each wine and the pairing we intended it for. Any wine that we were unsure of was brought over for a tasting.  There was no sense of impatience with how long we lingered at our table. Andrew, if you read this, thank you for making us feel welcome, special and catered to.

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.
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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.