LIC Market

Trying to beat the heat.

Trying to beat the heat and eat someplace fun.

Wanting to try a new place.

Fork and Spoon decided to try LIC Market – now celebrating their 1st anniversary. We had heard wonderful things about LIC Market and decided to begin our exploration of Long Island City with LIC Market.

It is very difficult to park here, so plan on driving around for a bit.

As you walk into LIC Market, you are in the retail area of the business. They sell teas and pickles and jams. They also sell coffee and tea to go. After you walk through this space there is a dining room in back. A very small dining room. So crammed full of tables that diners actually have to get up so you can sit down.

The lunch menu is small, but the most of what is on there is enticing!

Before we start on the food, let’s get the iced tea situation out of the way. The iced tea comes in a large glass, probably 16 ozs. There is maybe – a big maybe – 4 ozs of tea and the rest ice. Now this wouldn’t be bad if the iced were bottomless. It’s not. It’s $2.50 per glass. I don’t know about you, but I resent paying $2.50 for 4 ozs of iced tea and a glass of ice – FOUR TIMES.

Back to the food.

 

Our first sandwich was fresh mozzarella, grilled radicchio, arugula and basil on French bread. This was very good. Fresh Mozzarella was slightly salty. The bitterness of the grilled radicchio was nice with the peppery arugula. It could have used another – something – vinegar, oil, just another layer of flavor.

Our second sandwich was slow cooked pulled pork on souman bread, gruyere, pickles and a mustard dressing. Almost a Cuban and very tasty. The bread alone was fabulous. THe pork melt in your mouth tender. THe gruyere and pickles giving it that homey spin with a touch of salty and sour. 

 

On the side we ordered rapini with roasted tomatoes. Rapini is a cross between broccoli rabe and broccoli. Same shape as a broccoli rabe but not as bitter. This was really delicious. The tomatoes and oil and rapini were GREAT on the mozzarella sandwich!

When asked if we wanted anything else, we asked about dessert. The waitress handed us back the menu. The lunch menu. Did she think we wanted another sandwich? When we mentioned that we were looking for something sweet, she said they might have an oatmeal cookie left, but that they don’t serve sweets.

SIGH …

LIC Market ~ 21-52 44th Drive ~ LIC, NY ~ 718.361.0013
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Salt & Fat

Now, really. Is there anything about the name of this restaurant that would lead you to believe that it wasn’t wonderful? We can all pretend that we are virtuous when it comes to what we eat, but let’s call a spade a spade … we like salty, we like fatty, we LOVE porky! Salty is not our enemy and comes from many more places than just a salt shaker. Fats, too, don’t necessarily mean transfats or bad fats. Salt & Fat, a new restaurant on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside, Queens, certainly shows the virtues of salty and fat.

To quote their website, Salt & Fat “is a neighborhood restaurant  serving globally influenced New American small plates in a relaxed casual environment. ”  It couldn’t be summed up any better by anyone. Owner and chef, Danny Yi, the former executive sous chef of The Monkey Bar has set the bar high for the New American small plate concept and so far is rising well above it.

Fork and Spoon love small plate dining. It gives you the ability to try so many more things on the menu, and there were SO many things on the menu to try!

By the way, the hostess is lovely. Our waiter, Brian, super. Everyone is friendly and accommodating. The decor is simple. The tables not jammed together crowded. At the time of this writing, they had not received their liquor license yet, but had soda or water for drinks. They don’t serve coffee or hot tea. And (GASP) no iced tea.

Fork and Spoon went to Salt & Fat on a rainy, cold Tuesday night and it was pretty crowded. THe hostess told us that there was a 20 minute wait for tables the previous Saturday night.  Brian came over as soon as we sat down and gave us our menus, explained that with the exception of the last three, entrée sized dishes, everything on the menu was small plates.

While we were looking at the menu and trying to decide where to start, Brian brought over a small paper bag filled with popcorn. Salty, yummy popcorn that had been popped in bacon fat. You know more than one bag was eaten. This is amazing, addictive stuff! If this was a sign of what was yet to come, we were in for a real treat.

As an aside, Spoon and Spork had tried this restaurant already. Fork had seen it and when mentioned to Spoon, laughter erupted as they had just that night been there and loved it. There was much “na na na na” coming from Spork to Fork. So in turn, when Fork and Spoon went, there were texts and photos sent with ‘na na na’ right back.

Silliness aside, we chose 4 small plates to start. Each small plate comes with 3 of whatever the dish is. Each plate is thoughtfully put together and beautiful. As much attention is paid to the plating of the food as to the ingredients in the dishes.

Our first plate to arrive was the Braised Pork Belly Tacos. Crunchy tacos filled with melt in your mouth Hampshire pork belly that had been braised in an amazing broth. Sitting on top of the pork belly nestled inside the taco shell was kimchi, pico de gallo and  queso fresco. The fusion between the Korean and Mexican was seamless, as if kimchi has naturally always been on a taco. Served with the tacos were lightly picked jalapenos. Tuck one of those slices into the taco and you had a spectacular bite of food. SO many tastes and flavors at one time. You know this dish is on the FAT side of the fence, but really must be tried.

Next came the Short Rib Buns. If you like short ribs, this is so for you. The boneless short rib was fall apart tender. The nice sized square of really flavorful beef sat on a steamed bun.  Ticked inside the bun with the beef were thin slices of pickled cucumber. These are pickled just enough to give you that vinegar hit, but still crisp and cucumber tasting.  Topping all of this is an apricot mustard which adds a tiny bit of heat and sweet. Fork’s only negative thought here is that the bun was a little too thick so the flavors of the beef, pickled cucumber slices and mustard and apricot sauce was a little lost.

Next came Korean BBQ Wraps. Fork loves things wrapped in lettuce leaves. There’s something so seemingly healthy about it. You can honestly say you had a vegetable with the meal. Lettuce is a great, not too filling or heavy wrapper for whatever goodness is inside. And inside! Inside this lettuce leaf is a slice of BBQ hangar steak. The steak was so flavorful. The accompaniment to the steak was a thin slice of pickled daikon radish and seasoned miso. Just to gild the lily, sprinkled over the top were fried bits of shallots. Every bite hit a different part of your tastebuds and all of them were smiling!

And last – and by no means least – we ordered Crack & Cheese. Fork’s mouth is watering just typing, that’s how absolutely amazing this dish was. Imagine if you will lightly fried potato gnocchi swimming in a rich, cheesey bechamel sauce and studded with squares of crispy bacon. I don’t think another thing can possibly be said about this dish except OMG, you have to try it!

Dessert seems sparse here – and you definitely need something sweet after the salty and fatty goodness. There is a panna cotta with a yuzu buttermilk sorbet that Spoon says is amazing. We ordered the Rice Krispie Treats with Marshmallow ice cream. Yes, that’s right, marshmallow ice cream. It’s an ice cream (cream being the key word here) and marshmallow. You get the texture and flavor or both. It is truly amazing. Eaten by itself it’s wonderful. Spread on top of the rice krispie treats and it soared. This dessert is truly amazing. Definitely brough Fork back to being a kid, during the summer, with my sister! The only downside of the desserts here – they really need a third, something with chocolate!

I can’t wait to come back here. I can’t wait to bring more people here. I can’t wait for them to be open for lunch too. I can’t wait for you to get there!

Salt & Fat ~ 41-16 Queens Boulevard ~ Sunnyside, NY ~ 718.408.0533
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David Burke @ Bloomingdale’s

I love David Burke. There is something completely childlike about him. His food and restaurants are full of whimsy. A characteristic that calls to Fork’s soul.

It was natural that after a bit of retail therapy at Bloomingdale’s Fork and Spoon decided to have dinner at David Burke’s restaurant in Bloomingdale’s. Spoon had eaten there before, and said the food was wonderful and the restaurant had the same feeling whimsy as David Burke’s other places, both on the plate and in decor.

There is a great meal deal at this restaurant – the Blooming Deal – 3 courses for $25. You are served an appetizer, main dish or pizza and dessert. Really not a bad deal at all.

The iced tea is bottomless and refilled very quickly.

If you’re going to David Burke @ Bloomingdale’s for some of that famous David Burke magic. Don’t.  The food is good. Actually, very good.  But there is nothing fun or whimsical about it. Spoon was quite surprised at how different this dining experience was from the first time Spoon had been there.

The service started off very standoff-ish and cold, but as time went on, our waiter warmed a touch. It’s hard to be cold to Cutlery as cute as Fork and Spoon.

One of the waiters came over with a basket of popovers. They could have been – should have been warmer, but that doesn’t take away from their amazing flavor. Every cheesey, peppery bite was delightful. It was a nice beginning to a meal.

Our first appetizer was Macaroni and Cheese. Fork thought the macaroni and cheese was a little bland, like it needed bacon (and what doesn’t). It was very nice and cheesey, though, the pasta cooked perfectly. The crunchy, toasted panko and flecks of herbs on top was a nice touch.

Our second appetizer was Beef Chili Nachos.  A very generous serving of chili, corn tortillas, topped with guacamole, salsa, cheese and sour cream. These were really good. Zesty chili, cool avocado with cheese and sour cream over crispy crunchy tortilla. The plate, however – as you can see – was a sloppy mess. You know, we eat with our eyes, and this wasn’t necessarily appealing and really a little surprising.

Now, we have 2 courses down and not the tiniest bit of whimsy in sight.

Our first main dish was a Prosciutto, Arugula & Basil Pizza. Thin crispy crust. Perfect actually. Generous amount of prosciutto and a garden of arugula. The mozzarella was fresh. This was a cooked sauce. It wasn’t fresh tomatoes. It was more like strained tomatoes, like Pomi, and not doctored up with any fresh herbs.

Our second main dish was  Grilled Filet Mignon, served with whipped potatoes, vegetables and crispy onions. The steak was amazing. The beef was so tender and so flavorful, it needed nothing else on the plate. The filet sat atop mashed potatoes. Not terrible mashed potatoes, but not spectacular mashed potatoes. The vegetables were green beans, carrots, asparagus, beautifully cooked and crisp tender – and for some reason, brussel sprouts, blech. Sitting on top of the filet were crispy, frizzled onions. This was actually a very nice dish, but it was cold!

The set up at David Burke is very strange. As you walk into Bloomingdale’s on the 54th Street side, to the right is the take-out part of Burke in the Box. This is where the kitchen is. To th left is the dining room, which is where we ate. The food all comes from the other side. They bring each dish over under a cloche. Because these sections are on different sides, the timing of the food isn’t great and the heat of the food isn’t consistent.

It is not possible to go to a David Burke restaurant and not order Cheesecake Lollipops. Love the little trees. Love the little cheesecake pops. Love the raspberries. Love the Bubble Gum Whipped Cream. Total smash hit, both in taste and visually. Slight unhappiness – all of the cheesecake pops were wrapped in saran wrap. Some of the little spaces were missing pops. There were repeats of some and only 1 of another. That being said, these are so yummy. Little bites of perfection all wearing different robes of flavor. There were cheesecakes dipped half in milk chocolate and half in dark chocolate and then rolled in chopped peanuts; some in a cherry shell with chipped pistachios; and some tasted of caramel with chocolate cookie crunchies.

I WANT MY WHIMSY BACK!

David Burke @ Bloomingdale’s ~ 1000 3rd Avenue ~ NYC, NY ~ 212.813.2195
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Sel et Poivre

Fork and Spoon were invited to a Press Tasting Dinner at Sel et Poivre on the upper east side of Manhattan.  And while we don’t want to do too many of these – we prefer anonymous visits – after looking over the everyday menu we decided to give it a whirl.

Sel et Poivre began 20 years ago as a mother/daughter owned restaurant, over the years it evolved into what it is today a husband/wife owned restaurant.

The space is small and getting through the bar to the dining room can be almost impossible.

Fork and Spoon arrived and met our host and hostess and were truly looking forward to this dining experience. The dining room is lovely and warm and our dining companions fabulous. The photographs that line walls both upstairs and down are wonderful, some by famous photographers, some family photos. The bread – fabulous (yes, one of the important things in life, like bottomless iced tea).

To start we were served Fish Soup. Spoon had the sense to say she doesn’t eat fish and was offered another dish – which we will get to. Fork wanted to try the dishes being offered and specifically asked the waiter if there was any shellfish in the soup. Nope. None. No shrimp shells? Nope, notta a one. Okie dokie. Sigh – you know what’s coming, right?

Anyway the soup was very interesting. A bowl of flavorful fish soup is brought to the table along with a plate of toasts, grated cheese and an aioli. It’s sort of a do-it-yourself soup. Very interesting. So the owner comes by, Fork asks – ‘Is there shellfish in the soup?’ ‘Why yes, yes, there is. They use shrimp heads and shells.’ The blanch that came across the tines of the Fork must have clued him into a problem. Off he went to the kitchen and this was the answer he came back with. Sit down, you’re going to love this one. ‘Yes, we always use shrimp shells and heads in the soup, but the chef said (ready?) not in this batch.’  Fork must looked as though I was forged yesterday. The itching commenced. And this set the tone for the rest of the meal as far as Fork was concerned. Thanks for the hives. They were in places no self respecting fork should have them.

You know what? Tell the truth. Inform your staff. Fortunately, Fork is not as highly allergic as I once was.  Anyway, let’s continue…

Spoon (smart cutlery) was brought a lovely plate of pate and the typical accoutrement. The pate was very good. Along with the pate were cornichon, toasts and a grainy mustard.

Following these was a Celery Root Remoulade with Red Beets. We loved the contrast between the bright celery root and the ruby colored beets. Light, refreshing, slight curry flavor to the celery root. All together a nice simple dish.

Our next dish was Skate with Lemon Capers and Basmati Rice. Fork loves skate, and this was very well prepared – butter, lemon, a light saute, some capers, what could be bad. Skate – for those of you who have not tried it – is from the ray family. It is a light and delicate white filet. The skate was served with basmati rice.

Spoon – the non-fish eater (smart cutlery) – was given an alternative dish – which was originally going to be steak, but turned out to be ravioli. The ravioli was filled with smoked mozzarella and asparagus and served with a light tomato and cream sauce. Very good ravioli. (Odd that, ravioli filled with mozzarella being served at a press dinner in a French restaurant, but it must be the itching taking over again.)

Our last course before dessert was Calves Liver a la Lyonnais with mashed potatoes and brocoli. The liver was smothered in onions. There was a little quiet chatter between the Spoon and Fork and Your Vicarious Experience. Fork had never eaten calves liver before, Spoon wasn’t a fan. We all thought it an odd dish to serve. Fork is of the belief if the liver didn’t have feathers at some point, it shouldn’t be eaten. Being the good sports that we are, the 3 of us tried it. I can’t describe the taste – I was too busy itching at the time – but it isn’t something I would like to try again. The mashed potatoes and brocoli were very good. Does that help?

For dessert we were served a Terrine de Chocolate, which sat in raspberry coulis. The terrine was light and chocolatey, very smooth and rich. The raspberry coulis a perfect balancing act with the chocolate.

Sel et Poivre ~ 853 Lexington Avenue ~ 212.517.5780
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Bubby’s

Fork & Spoon needed a restaurant close enough to an event we were attending to not involve a lot of walking in the rain. Our biggest dilemma always seems to be what to eat. Neither of us ever wants to decide. You pick, no you pick, no you pick. Whining ensues. Not a pretty sound. A zip code and google helps in these situations.  Hmmmm …… southern, BBQ, fried chicken? Oh, Bubby’s, you have won our hearts! The online menu looked great. And Bubby’s is renowned for their pies and desserts.

They have many different menus. There is a breakfast menu, a lunch menu, a brunch menu (they are famous for their brunch menu), a midnight brunch menu, an afternoon menu, and a dinner menu. Our timing was going to be a little off, so the afternoon menu, which is served from 4pm to 6pm and from 11pm to midnight would be perfect. One glitch, the menu online and the afternoon menu didn’t match, so the dishes we wanted to try from the online menu weren’t available at the time we were there. It was 5:30. Would Bubby’s let us wait?

Fork was early. Spoon was running late. Would they even let Fork sit and wait? Well, yes, of course, you can sit and wait. Iced tea, menus, a discussion with Dominick – our wonderful waiter – about the menus. Yes, we had to wait for 6pm for the dinner menu, but we were welcome to wait. Iced tea was in huge glasses, fresh and most importantly bottomless.

Once Spoon arrived, and more iced tea ordered, we went to work on the menu.  Dominick listened to what we were thinking of ordering, and knew what was on both the afternoon and dinner menu so we could begin ordering. Dominick, you are the best! What a great waiter, interested in the customer, knowledgable about the menu, and attentive.

Our first choice was on both the afternoon menu and the dinner menu, so that was easy. Warm Hand Cut Potato Chips with Maytag Blue Cheese. There isn’t a single word in that title that doesn’t make you drool and isn’t decadent and amazing. The chips are amazing. Thick cut potato chips with just the right amount of crispy and chewy. The chips are city in a pool of melty blue cheesey goodness with large chunks of Maytag blue cheese swimming around. There is  just a bit of the sauce and cheese drizzled on top of the chips. It kept the chips from becoming too soggy and icky. This dish of fabulousness gave us time to get close enough to 6:00pm to put in our dinner order.

We had originally intended on ordering the BBQ Pork Sliders. They’re on the dinner online menu, but they were not on the restaurant dinner menu! After a bit of a discussion – and trying to overcome our severe disappointment – and with Dominick’s help – about what we were planning on ordering, he came up with a simple solution: The Red Wattle Pulled Pork Plate. This let us try the 2 sides we were going to order as appetizers and have BBQ pork at the same time. Sheer genius!

What arrives is this gigantic platter of goodness. Fork and Spoon are never quite sure that the white bread is about. But, white bread aside, on our fabulous platter was BBQ pulled pork, hush puppies, mac & cheese, pickles and cole slaw. The pickles are crispy and tangy and sweet. The cole slaw? Take a page from the Daily News, soak it, shred it, put it in a ramekin, voila, cole slaw. It was just plain awful. The crusty mac & cheese was really yummy. The crust was – well, as the name implies, crusty! There was a wonderful smokiness about the dish. Very cheesy, pasta not mushy. The hush puppies were so good! Free form in shape, flecks of herbs throughout, great flavor, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The pork was totally the star. It’s seasoned really well, but dry rubbed, not in sauce. Don’t th ink for a minute this means it was dry! Not by any stretch of the imagination. The pork was tender and falling about and very moist. There was a terrific vinegary tang to it.  On each table is a trio of sauces that are made in-house at Bubby’s. One is vinegar based, one is spicy tangy and one is mustard based. The spicy and mustard were our favorites. These sauces were good on everything!

One of the sides that we had to try, but couldn’t include in our platter was Cauliflower James Beard Style. Lightly sautéed, herbs, breadcrumbs. Needed a little salt. We needed a vegetable! And this totally fit the bill. Mostly healthy, very good.

As we were sitting and happily sipping iced tea and munching away on our s, Spoon spied Dominick bringing a biscuit to a table behind us. Tines spun around so quickly to see the biscuit it’s a wonder we weren’t permanently damaged. Spoon called over our dear Dominick and merely pointed. He winked, turned and when he reappeared he had 2 of the most beautiful biscuits we had ever seen. They were so tall and golden – popover sized. You could see how flakey they were just by looking at them. They were piping hot. When you broke them open the insides were tender, just beckoning for butter! The outside was crispy with a slight saltiness to it. Dominick told us there was a new gal as the pastry chef and she had just made the biscuits. We would have run into the kitchen and kissed her had we been allowed!

And of course dessert. It can’t be a true adventure without dessert. We were still reeling from the deliciousness of the biscuit and wanted to try and blankly staring at the spinning dessert display. Every single pie and cupcake and cookie looked amazing. We couldn’t decide. We looked to Dominick and he simply said ‘Sour Cherry’. SOLD! Michigan sour cherries tucked into a flaky and crisp crust. Not too sour, not too sweet, just enough of both elements to satisfy your palate. A little whipped cream on the side and Bob’s your uncle.

I wish I could remember the pastry chef’s name. I know she was knew when we were there for dinner, I am pretty sure her name began with a K, maybe Spoon will remember. If you see this – YOU ROCK!

If you’re jonesing for good BBQ, Bubby’s will satisfy you! While we ate in Tribeca, there’s also a location in Brooklyn.

Bubby’s ~ 120 Hudson Street ~ New York, New York ~ 212.219.0666
Bubby’s ~ 1 Main Street ~ DUMBO ~ Brooklyn, NY ~ 718.222.0666
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Virgil’s BBQ ~ Birthday Celebration 4

Are you tired of my birthday yet? By this time, Fork needed sleep and an Alka Seltzer! But forge on we must!

As a birthday treat, Knife treated Fork to dinner and the theatre. We were both working, wanted a place for a quick bite and that was relatively close to the theatre. At the outset, I must tell you that Knife is a sucker for BBQ – which, I must say is surprising as Knife is allergic to tomatoes!

So when asked the question “Do you mind BBQ?” the answer was heck no, I don’t mind BBQ.

Virgil’s is one of those annoying places that does not let part of a reservation sit. Everyone must be present and accounted for before they let you sit. It isn’t as if there is anyplace for you to hang out and wait either. Your choice is the bar or the bathroom. 

The iced tea is bottomless, but the service was so slow we could not get a quick refill.

While Knife is a BBQ hound, Fork would go to the ends of the earth for Hush Puppies, so it was natural that our quick bite started with Hush Puppies with maple syrup butter. These were really strangely shaped! Fork is sued to little round spheres of hush puppy delight, but these seemed to be piped and cut into the oil. Nice and crisp and golden on the outside. The hush puppies themselves were full of flavor, lots of herbs flecked throughout, more dense than your usual hush puppy, but still addictively good.

Fork ordered the Kansas Fried Chicken. HUGE portion – well half of a very large chicken portion. You can 2 from the sides and you get a corn (SAHARA) bread muffin. Fork chose the Memphis Barbeque Beans and Cole Slaw.  The chicken was better than I had expected. Crispy, crunchy, slightly salty, flavorful outside, and still very juicy and tender inside.  The beans were smokey and tangy. I expected them to be mushy, but they weren’t. Pleasantly surprised at the flavor. The coleslaw was just generic. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. Be VERY careful about the BBQ sauces on the table. After I tried one and burned my mouth to pieces, our dopey waitress came over and said ‘oh, no one came to explain the sauces to you?’ Hmmm, no, you didn’t. I suppose it isn’t HER job to explain anything, just to take the order and collect the tip. The bottles weren’t even labeled. So sauce user beware!

I did ask to substitute a biscuit for the corn bread. Nope. No can do. I can’t imagine it makes one bit of difference whether you have their yucky corn bread or biscuit, but nope, no can do. So I ordered a biscuit anyway. Seriously, what is BBQ without a biscuit. The biscuit was huge and so delicious. very crisp outer shell, and very tender and moist inside. The biscuit is served with more maple syrup butter. So much better than their dried out, sticky corn muffin.

Knife ordered the Memphis Pork Ribs. First, before we talk about the ribs, let’s talk about Virgil’s only serving Memphis style ribs (dry rub only, no sauce) and only pork ribs (not even a baby back to be found). Seems a little odd, doesn’t it? Glad you think so too! That being said, the ribs are terrific. Moist, tender, smokey, spicy, packed with flavor.  The meat falls off the bone. You can try the BBQ sauces on the table if you like your ribs saucy – but try very little first or you will be unable to speak for hours! Knife ordered the pickled beets and coleslaw to go with. The beets were very good. They said they were house cured. Fork isn’t sure she’d bet the farm on that one!

Now for the REALLY annoying part. Our service was SO slow we didn’t have time for dessert. We barely had time to get to the theatre! If you are going pre-theatre, leave yourself PLENTY of time!

Virgil’s Real BBQ ~ 152 West 44th Street ~ NYC, NY ~ 212.921.9494
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Barbuto ~ Birthday Celebration 2

Celebration Number Two – Spoon, Knork, Spork, Olive Fork, Olive Spoon, and Cake Fork were gathered with Fork for Birthday Celebration 2 at Barbuto. Barbuto is owned by the colorful and talented chef, Jonathan Waxman, author of A Great American Cook and the soon to be published Italian My Way.

Again, pardon the pictures. Far too much celebrating to have been paying attention! They looked great at the time! Perhaps it was the Cosmopolitans!

Barbuto is located in at the south end of the meatpacking district in a converted warehouse and garage. The space is definitely what you would call industrial chic.  In the warmer months the garage doors are rolled up for outside dining and better people watching.

It’s loud and vivacious. It’s funky and chic. It’s welcoming and fun. There is a private dining room and a chef’s table in the kitchen for parties of 8 or more. Seems like a lot of fun, maybe next time!

There were so many people and so many choices! The menu is local and changed almost daily depending on what is fresh and available.

For starters both Fork and Spoon ordered the Polenta with Wild Mushrooms. We were going to share but then we started eying each other in that mischievous I don’t want to share way and ended up ordering 2 portions. And what a good decision that was! The polenta was soft and creamy, the mushrooms were just delectable. They had earthiness and a meatiness and a certain wonderful tang. This was the perfect beginning to a fabulous meal.

Knork had soup. Knork doesn’t share. But Spoon ignores this irksome habit and just eats right off Knork’s plate with a smile. Knork wasn’t sitting close enough to me to see what kind of soup was had, his tines are little bent and he can’t remember much! We know it was a vegetable soup. We know he was quiet for quite some time so he must have enjoyed it immensely!

Spork on the other hand loves to share. Spork loves to share because Spork wants everyone to share in return! Spork shares so much one of the crostini were missing before I could take a photo. Spork ordered the crostini  of the day, which on this day was with pureed butternut squash. A sprinkling of grated cheese and a drizzle of balsamic made this the perfect few bites to start off.

Olive Fork and Olive Spoon shared an appetizer of beets, black forbidden rice, frisee and grated dry goat cheese. This was really yummy. The forbidden rice had a nice texture, slighty crispy, slightly chewy. The beets were tiny and nicely roasted. The dressing was light and unobtrusive. Really refreshing and delicious.

If you want bread, you have to ask for it. A little strange. Then again, the iced tea, while very good, was not bottomless. Fork and Spoon will never understand how $1 (maybe) of iced tea can cost a diner $12.00!

Now, the main course is so much easier. Fork, Spoon and Olive Fork had the infamous Pollo al Forno – roasted JW chicken with salsa verde. Yes, we’ve all had roasted chicken before, but I guarantee you have never had roasted chicken like this! Crispy, salty skin, moist tender 1/2 chicken that you are more than happy to take home what you cannot finish. THe salsa verde was a nice compliment to the chicken. The chicken is roasted in one of the brick ovens to absolute perfection. Again, we could have shared, but friendships would have ended over the sharing! This chicken alone is reason enough to eat at Barbuto!

Spork had Lumachine – a shape almost like a shell, almost like an elbow, but not quite. The Lumachine was served with a fantastic sauce of roasted cauliflower and cream. Rich, creamy and delicate all at the same time.

Guess what Knork ordered? Steak. How’s that for a surprise. We go to a place with a signature dish and Knork will have anything but that dish.  The hanger steak was beautiful. Perfectly cooked. Perfectly seasoned. Nice sized steak. The steak was served with grilled radicchio. Imagine the bitterness of radicchio with a smokey char. Delish!

Olive Spoon ordered the Lamb Loin. The lamb was served over a rutabega puree. It wasn’t earth shattering, but it was good. Quite frankly, everything was over the moon good!

Potatoes. We need to seriously discuss the potatoes. The name should be changed to Crack Potatoes. Totally amazing. So amazing in fact, that while eating them and fighting over the plate, we ordered more. Fortunately for me, Spoon is generous soul and let me have what was left on the first plate – while ordering the second, mind you – because it was my birthday. The Patate are first boiled, then smashed a bit and then deep fried. Oh, no, that isn’t all, they are sprinkled with salt and pepper and grated pecorino cheese and rosemary. They are totally amazing.

We also had a side of wilted greens with garlic and chilis and roasted brussel sprouts with hazelnuts and colatura. Colatura, or garum colatura, is an ancient Italian condiment – for lack of a better word. It’s made from fermenting fatty fish like anchovies or sardines. The fish is layered in with herbs and salt and left to ferment. The end result is a golden liquid used to give an oh so subtle je ne sais quoi to the brussel sprouts. Fork is not a fan of the brussel sprout, but these were pretty good.  The wilted greens were just sautéed quickly so they were still bright and green and still had a texture to them, lotsa garlic and a nice hint of chilis.

(apparently, Cake Fork is under the impression that I have to taste EVERYTHING in order to write about it. Does Cake Fork not understand WHY I eat with other people!)

The Bomba. Now doesn’t that look like the perfect cake for a birthday Fork to enjoy! And, again, thank you dear Cutlery for not singing! Dense, fabulous chocolate cake sandwiched a wonderful cherry semifreddo. Pistachios, cherries, whipped cream and a candle. I could gush and gush and gush about this dessert, but words simply cannot describe this! I was seriously hard pressed to share this, but Spork gave me that puppy look and there went a spoonful! We won’t even discuss the quick spooned Spoon!

Spoon had the Apple Crostata. Spoon will have an apple anything! Wonderful flakey crust coupled with tender caramel-y apples. Always being one to gild the lily, Spoon asked to swap out the vanilla ice cream for maple ice cream. Really good dessert. Really good ice cream.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding. This was our least favorite dessert. Though I am not a big pumpkin fan, Olive Fork is a big pumpkin fan. The comment from the Olive Fork was that it was too light in flavor and too dry. Personally, this Fork thinks pumpkin is for the birds! 

Both Knork and Spork had Affogato. They too opted to switch out the vanilla ice cream for maple. Affogato quite literally means drowned. A scoop of ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over the top. Heaven in a cup!

I, for one, Chef Waxman, am happy that you put down the trombone and picked up a chef’s knife!

Thanks you Spoon and Knork and Spork and Olive Spoon and Olive Fork and Cake Fork for sharing my birthday with me! It was the perfect celebration!

Barbuto ~ 775 Washington Street ~ NYC, NY ~ 212.924.9700
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