Gusto

Gusto, you had me at Burrata!

Every Thursday, Gusto (pronounced goose-toe) receives a shipment of burrata from Italy. We may need to be at Gusto every Thursday from now until – well, forever!

Fork and Spoon fell in love with Roman cuisine and burrata this past summer while in Roma with our wonderful friend Mauro. Since returning from our vacation we had been aching for true Roman cuisine – Gusto certainly does not disappoint.

The restaurant is on busy Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich Village. The atmosphere is welcoming and comfortable. Dark tables, comfy seating, not too noisy, fabulous staff!

In the kitchen of Gusto is the fabulous Saul Montiel. What a vision. What a fabulous menu. He isn’t one of those stay in the kitchen and hide chefs. That being said, he isn’t one of those always out of the kitchen chefs that make you stop to wonder who is actually doing the cooking!

The menu is wonderful. So wonderful it is really hard to decide what to order. We wanted everything!

We decided to go with a few appetizers and a pasta – oh, and dessert, but we didn’t really need to say that, did we?!

First up, Carciofi alla Giudea. SMall artichokes, deeply fried. Crispy crunchy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside. Slightly different than one would be served in Rome where you see gigantic artichokes completely flattened. These were hearts, which had advantages – not as many tough outer leaves. A squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of salt, and life is beautiful!

 Then, Raviolo con Uovo e Pancetta. Made in house and fabulous. One big, beautiful raviolo stuffed with buffalo ricotta (also flown in) and an egg. Sitting on top a piece of crispy pancetta and fried scallions. What a flavor combination. Tender pasta, creamy ricotta, rich egg yolk, salty pancetta – heaven on your fork! Did I mention it swims in sage butter? No? Well, ‘nuf said …

And the special antipasti this night, stuffed zucchini flowers. Ugly to photograph, delicious on your tongue! Cheesy and gooey inside, lightly battered and fried. Crispy and tender and so summery and wonderful!

Let’s not forget our reason for coming to Gusto! BURRATA! FLown in every Thursday, diners come just to have a fix taste of this creamy delicious cheese. firmer on the outside (like mozzarella) and soft on the inside – well, if you haven’t tried it you absolutely must. It is amazing! Served simply with fresh tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. We could have had just this, twice, maybe three times and called it a night.

We shared Tonnarelli con Cacio e Pepe. To die for. Tonnarelli is a fresh, square-ish pasta, the perfect foil for the pepper and pecorino romano cheese. Oodles of salty, sharp cheese against the peppery bite of freshly ground black pepper. So simple and so perfect. What else is there to say – except jump in!

And for the first time in the history of our friendship Fork refused to share a dessert with Spoon. I told Spoon, ‘get your own. I will not share.’ Fork had tasted this dessert before and knew this was not something to share, not even with your best friend. Fresh peaches roasted, amaretto added in and simmering until it begins to thicken, brown sugar for a bit of sweetness, to gild the lily mascarpone cheese, really cold mascarpone cheese. Sweet peaches, drowning in an almondy syrup. It is enough to make you soon!

Go, taste, enjoy, relax, no one rushes you. Try everything. Go back, try it again. When you’re at Gusto, you’re with family. Enjoy!

Gusto ~ 60 Greenwich Avenue ~ New York, NY ~ 646.502.9901
Gusto Ristorante E Bar Americano on Urbanspoon

The Mussel Pot

As you walk along Bleecker Street, you are at no loss for restaurants. Any cuisine you can imagine, any price point, fancy, casual, fast food, good food, not such good food.

Along this stretch of restaurants Fork, and new found friend, Whisk, came across  The Mussel Pot. And the Mussel Pot may be a combination of most of the above descriptions!

We arrived at 6:30 and the restaurant was empty. The garden tables were all full, but the interior tables were completely empty. The restaurant itself is lovely and warm, beautiful mirrors run down one wall and the room is lit by dainty glass chandeliers. The garden has 6 tables around a small waterfall and coy pond. Sadly, they were all taken, but we were able to sit at the table right next to the door.

Our waitress, Jacky, came over and introduced herself to us. Pleasant, warm, and attentive. We asked for the wine list and found a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio. Truthfully, the wine is a bit on the pricey side and this bottle was not chilled enough. THe bus boys were quick with ice, filling water glasses, and whisking plates away. Never once did they approach the table to remove a plate until it appeared both of us were done. HUGE points for that one!

We ordered two appetizers. They took a ridiculously long time to come out of the kitchen. The surprise in this? One of the appetizers was raw.

With or without the long wait, this appetizer was outstanding. Tuna Tartare. Seriously fresh tuna, sitting on a 1/2″ thick disk of guacamole. The guacamole was fresh and chunky and a perfect partner to the tuna. On top of the tuna were some microgreens and a splodge of a citrus miso mayo type condiment. To give the plate a little texture there were some house-made potato chips served alongside. The chips were a really nice addition to the tartare. You could scoop some up on the chip and have all the wonderful flavors at once.

Our second appetizer was Fried Calamari. Fork is a total sucker for fried calamari. Sadly, this was not so great. The presentation was lovely. We loved the idea of three sauces. And there ends the love fest. Fried calamari consists of 2 parts – the legs and the rings. There were perhaps 3 rings and all the rest legs. Whisk doesn’t mind the legs. Fork really doesn’t like them at all. Really, not at all. And the rings that were there were very chewy – like rubberband chewy – which usually means they were frozen. The coating, while really crispy, was not seasoned anywhere near enough.

Then there were the three sauces. There was a spicy remoulade – spicy here is the key word. I was too spicy to enjoy. The Fork and Whisk like spice in their food but not to the point of inedible. There was also a tomato sauce water. It was flavorless and so thin in consistency that nothing stuck to the calamari when you dipped it in the sauce. The third was a chimichurri. All we can say about that is  – meh! Really disappointing appetizer.

So, the schtick with the with the Mussel Pot is – well, really, it doesn’t need explaining – MUSSELS. There are 5 different cuisine styles and 15 different ways to have mussels. They range from intriguing to what were they thinking. What is glaringly absent from their line-up is Moules Mariniere.

The mussels are all served in individual stainless steel mussel pots. Okay, we get it. mussels, mussel pots. Cute. Problem? They are pretty tall and you are eating peering over the top of your pot, holding your fork or spoon at an odd angle. Really not a comfortable way to eat.

Whisk ordered the Paella style which included clams, chorizo, fennel, tomatoes, peas, white wine, saffron, bay leaf and lemon juice. The clams were unnecessary. The broth was  delicious. There was a background warmth to it that turned out to be cloves.  Really nice combination of flavors. 

Fork ordered the Posillipo style.  A light tomato sauce, garlic, white wine and basil. Very good mingling of Italian flavors.

There are plenty of mussels in each pot. They serve bread with the mussels so you can sop up all the sauce – which is also difficult with the gigantic pots! They bring a small slice of bread each, which seems kind of silly. But they gladly bring more if you ask.

Nothing really struck us for dessert. But we were instantly drawn to the Cheese Plate by the words “a variety of the finest imported cheese accompanied with honey comb, fig chutney and candy hazelnuts.” (They desperately need someone to proofread their menu). Okay. There was Brie. There was, to quote our waitress, some kind of parmigianio. There was Havarti with dill – the least dessert type cheese you could ever find.  There was fig chutney. There were candied pecans which were very soft, which means they have been sitting around a while. There were grapes. Now, if you are missing TWO essential ingredients on a composed plate and are subbing – don’t you think you should tell the patrons and ask if they would still like to have that dessert? We couldn’t recover from the honeycomb, candied hazelnuts and havarti.

Nothing was terrible, but nothing was outstanding beyond the tuna tartare. The staff needs to be better informed of what is in each dish, what is not going to be available and most of all – how to pronounce things on the menu.

Oh, one last thing. If Fork or Whisk had gone downstairs to the restrooms before we ate, we would have left. There is. The worst. Fish. Smell. And (as if you need another thing) they have unisex restrooms. Gross. And the floors are all wet from God only knows what.

Try it. Perhaps your experience will be different. I, for one, am very glad I had a 30% coupon from Blackboard Eats or I would have been far more disappointed.

Mussel Pot ~ 174 Bleecker Street ~ NYC, NY ~ 212.260.2700
The Mussel Pot on Urbanspoon

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
Barbuto on Urbanspoon

The Chicken Always Clucks Twice

As our dear followers know, we were broken hearted during our initial trip to Hill Country Chicken. Fork and Spoon have always been big fans of Hill Country, and were, sadly, not big fans of Hill Country Chicken.

We always send a copy of our review to the owners or general information emails of the restaurants we review. We’ve always thought it important for the powers that be to know what diners actually think about the doings inside a restaurant and not just what the ‘sheep’ tend to bleat about.

We immediately heard back from John & Marc at HCC. They were as disappointed as we were, and yet grateful for the constructive criticism. We promised to come back and give HCC a second try. And we are so glad that we did!

Fork and Spoon dragged Knork and Spork with us on this Adventure. Occasionally we drag them out of moth balls to come along. They think it’s because we love them – not so (well, mostly so), it’s so we can try more dishes!

Truth be told, we were a little nervous about returning. Perhaps there was a photo of a fork and knife behind the counter with a red circle and slash through the tines. Perhaps they were laying in wait for us to return so they could just pounce, bend our tines and throw lemons at us.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. We were treated well and welcomed warmly. There were plenty of lemons and butter at hand. Service was impeccable. Staff was fabulous.

But, more importantly, the food was fabulous. Each and every morsel we ate was better than the previous morsel.

The chicken, as we had said in our last review, is just stellar. We are partial to the Hill Country Classic. The seasoning is is so great. It is spicy with a hint of sweetness. The chicken is floured twice and then sprinkled with the magic dust. Mama’s El’s, on the other hand, is skinless, battered and fried. The Classic is not crunchy, but from what I have been told, the Mama El’s is very crunchy – hard to believe without skin (oh, another trip in our future?) Whichever you try, know that each and every piece, whether white or dark, is juicy, moist and flavorful.

On this visit, because Knork is seriously strange about fried chicken, we also tried the Texas Tenders. They are gigantic! They are moist and tender inside, crispy outside. They are absolutely fabulous! They come with a choice of dipping sauces, one better than the next, all made in house – honey mustard, HC BBQ sauce or buttermilk ranch. You will find yourself dipping everything into the sauces!

Fork and Spoon still think the biscuits are slightly on the dry side, but I am beginning to think that biscuits are subjective. I prefer mine moister and fluffier, but that’s the way my grandmother made them. Biscuits around the country are made differently and made for different reasons. Some to eat along side something and some to hold up to gravy. Dry or not, the biscuits are flavorful, the right amount of saltiness. Great with butter, with honey or dipped into the BBQ sauce!

Off to the sides! The Mashed Potatoes were the first thing tried. What a difference! The toppings were perfect and distinguishable! Gooey with cheddar cheese, crispy pieces of bacon and pimento, topped the light and fluffy mashed potatoes. They transformed from the side we couldn’t eat to the side we couldn’t stop eating.

The Cole Slaw was crisp and the dressing creamy. The dressing was perfectly seasoned. The cabbage in the slaw fresh as can be. We tried the Carrot-N-Raisin Slaw this time around. Really yummy. Sweet, without being cloyingly sweet. Crispy carrots, great dressing, and the plump raisins giving it that little bit of oomph. The two slaws are like a refreshing palate cleanser against the saltiness of the chicken.

We again tried the Blistered Corn Salad. Again, like a whole new ball game. The corn was crisp, the veggies were too. The veggies stood out on their own, but did not make the blistered corn flavor disappear. THe dressing was good, a little tang, which is always great on a corn salad.

Fire n Ice Pickles. These are made in-house. They are little rounds of perfection. Sweet, hot, cooling, torturous all in one bite. An absolute must have at HCC – and for the price, who could possibly argue!

PIE! PIE! P-I-E! PIE! We tried pie. Lots and lots of pie! Well, you can try lots and lots of pie when your pies are little – and yes, we can justify our pies by saying we ate little pies!

We had Apple Cheddar. Great crust made with cheddar cheese. Knork is a serious apple pie guy and he gave this 2 thumbs up. The filling was perfect, apples were not mushy, just enough sweetness, barely discernible flavor from the cheddar cheese in the crust. Just enough for you to notice but not too over powering.

We had Lemon Meringue. Spork would barely let anyone else try it. Spoon gave Spork a little jab with a fork and Spork became far more compliant with sharing. Nice and lemony, good crust, and let’s not forget the perfectly browned meringue topping. Great proportion in flavor from tangy to sweet.

We had Double Cherry Pie, Fork’s personal favorite. Again, great crust, perfect filling, really yummy topping. Everything just fit together so well.

We had Banana Cream Pie. Creamy filling, sweet bananas, whipped cream topping. Almost too pretty to eat. ALMOST!

It was strongly suggested to us to try the Salted Margarita Pie. This was in a pretzel crust, so you already had some salty sweet going on. The filling was so tart and limey that you couldn’t smile while eating it because you were so puckered. Don’t get me wrong, this was DAMN good pie!

There was also a beautiful little Pumpkin Pie. Sadly, we are not pumpkin pie people. But if the rest of the pies were any indication, this would be one fine pumpkin pie!

It’s great that they have Boylan soda in the fountain. The mint iced tea is really good and really fresh. Both the soda and tea are bottomless. There were plenty of lemons to be had.

Marc, you have done your grandmothers both proud! John, Marc & David, thank you so much for taking our concerns to heart! We have been converted and can’t wait to come back again and again! Now the problem becomes – chicken, brisket, chicken, brisket, how does one choose!?

Hill Country Chicken ~ 1123 Broadway ~ New York, New York ~ 212.257.6646
Hill Country Chicken on Urbanspoon

Burger Bistro

It’s always great when a new place opens in your neighborhood. The Burger Bistro in Bay Ridge is a great new place. The food is good, the concept simple, the prices reasonable, and the staff and owners friendly and accommodating.

Fork and Knork’s first trip to Burger Bistro was so terrific we’ve been back 4 times, send all our friends there and have even had burgers delivered.

The concept is simple – make ’em burgers, and make ’em good. And these are good.

The place is simply decorated. There is a great mural on one long wall that you casually glance at, across from that – on the other long – wall is a mirror. When you look into the mirror, and face it who can’t glance in a mirror, you realize that the mural is actually drawn backwards and when you look at in the mirror you can see the full mural. Very clever.

On each table is a glass with wax pencils. Which on your first visit seems strange. When the waiter comes over with the laminated menu, he explains that you check off the boxes of what you’d like to have and the kitchen takes it from there. Interactive and fun.

You have a choice between beef, lamb, or turkey for your burger. There is also a special burger of the day. You choose how you want it cooked, the cheese, the toppings, even the bun. There are also sides, appetizers, and, if you’re really good, ice cream and cookies for dessert!

Knork started with the Chopped Salad. Very generous sized salad, fortunately not all iceberg lettuce. There were chopped tomatoes, cheese, artichoke hearts. The salad was crisp and very fresh. Good dressing that didn’t drown the ingredients.

Fork ordered the Bistro Potato Chips. They had been an appetizer, but have now been relegated down to the sides. The chips are really good. Thick cut. Chewy and crisp at the same time. My problem with the chips? They aren’t served with  dipping sauce. I can understand the charge for the sauces on the burger, but the chips should come with something. Doesn’t even have to be a choice of sauces, a little somethin somethin would be good.

Knork’s Burger. Great beef burger, but Knork is a purist (and culinarily challenged) and therefore his burger BOOOOOOR-ing.  All the burgers are served with a  little salad. Balsamic dressing, very yummy.

In recent visits though, Knork has fallen for the Rib Eye Steak Sandwich. Really good quality steak, well seasoned, perfectly cooked. The only complaint Knork has about the steak sandwich is the bun is round and the steak is sort of oblong. He spends some time cutting and tucking and then munches away happily.

Fork also ordered a beef burger. But with the list of 9 cheeses and 9 toppings, how can one be expected to have a plain burger. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. For this trip, Fork chose cheddar cheese and applewood smoked bacon. Really doesn’t get much better than that. There are also caramelized onions and frizzled onions which definitely have Fork’s name on them for another trip.

There is no easy way to choose between the fried offerings. There are French Fries, Bristro Fries, Frizzled Onions, Sweet Potato Strings and the above Potato Chips. The fries are really good. Skinny and crisp, tender ont he inside, a generous serving. The frizzled onions are amazing. Stick some on your burger and life is complete. Like a deconstructed onion loaf and not even close to as greasy. On other trips we’ve had the sweet potato strings – sweet, crisp, addictive. The Bistro Fries are the French Fries all dressed up in seasoning. Now, here we have a problem. Most times the seasoning is great – that is to say, lightly seasoned. Our last trip there was so much seasoning on the fries that they were nearly inedible. You notice Fork said nearly, we were with Jam Spoon and quite frankly, there isn’t ever enough seasoning or pepper for Jam Spoon!

What could be better to end an all American meal than ice cream and cookies! There is a daily special for both the cookies and the ice cream. You get to pick your cookie flavor and the ice cream flavor. On this trip Fork paired double chocolate chunk cookies and dulce de leche ice cream. Great combo.

In keeping with the delicate palate of the Knork – an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie with Vanilla Ice Cream.

The only downside we have found with the Burger Bistro are the cookies. Our first dinner, the oatmeal cookies were burnt. The second time stone cold. The last time the special cookie was a ‘short bread type cookie – like a sugar cookie’. Nope. It was soggy. Nothing like a short bread and absolutely nothing like a sugar cookie. It was just – well, yucky is the best word.

They use a high quality ice cream. It’s creamy and not very airy. That perfect dense scoop.

All in all, this is really a great place. Great service, great burgers, great fries. If you’re in Bay Ridge, get on over there!

Burger Bistro ~ 7217 Third Avenue ~ Brooklyn, NY ~ 718.833.5833
The Burger Bistro on Urbanspoon

Wafels & Dinges

What is all this food truck craziness about? When Fork was a kid a food cart was a guy standing on a corner selling ‘dirty water dogs’ or in the winter chestnuts and big soft pretzels. Oh, how Fork longs for the chestnut vendors to come back!

I gotta tell ya, I have succumbed to the insanity. Fork follows twitters for food trucks to see if they will be near work or home or shopping so that Fork can dive in and catch this crazy culinary train.

Wafels & Dinges was in Park Slope Saturday. On my way back from shuttling someone to and fro whatever it was that they were doing, I thought I would drive by and try it out.

Found a spot across the street. There was no line! You stand there staring at the board, what do I want, what kind of waffle, toppings, sigh, confusion sets in. WHat to do. What to do. And Joe steps in. Joe was wonderful and patient, and guided the waffle virgin through the ordering process. You have a choice of 2 different wafels – a Brussels (crunchy and light)or Liege (chewy and rich and slightly sweeter). Joe suggested the Liege for a first timer. And the choices don’t end there! Once you get the wafel down you have to pick the dinges (toppings). Bananas and Nutella just jumped off the list at me, and Joe agreed it was a great choice.

The wafel was $5, the first dinges is free. Fork had received a tweet, that if you pantomime a tennis serve, you would get a free dinges. Fork looked side to side, no one there, a toss in the air and a swat at my tennis ball, and my wafel with 2 dinges stayed at $5. Does it get better than that?

I quickly and greedily grabbed my wafel, a pile of napkins, a fork and knife and scurried to my car to enjoy my feast. Oh, it gets better than that the second you take a bite of your wafel. Chewy, tender inside, crisp outside, generous about of bananas and Nutella drizzled all over the top.

The only bad thing about the wafel? It was gone, my wafel box was empty and I knew it would be a WEEK before I could get back there and try another! Fork had spied a wafel topped with maple syrup and bacon….. hmmmmm

We can’t give you an exact location for the Wafel trucks, check the website or follow them on twitter @waffletruck to find out where they are on any particular day.

The Harrison

Restaurant Week! Restaurant Week! Nothing sends foodies scattering and vying for the best restaurants in NYC faster than the impending promise of Restaurant Week. Done twice a year, Restaurant Week let’s restaurants lure new customers with a 3-course $25 lunch or $35 dinner.  The hope for the restaurants is diners loving the place so much they would come back no matter the cost, and for the diners the chance to dine in restaurants they couldn’t otherwise afford.

There seem to be two categories of restaurant menus during Restaurant Weeks. Ones that go all out to please diners and keep them coming back, and those that are doing Restaurant Week just to do Restaurant Week. Sadly, The Harrison doesn’t seem to put much effort into Restaurant Week.  Was the food good? Yes. Was it spectacular? No. Was the menu interesting? No. Would we go back based on this Restaurant Week menu? Hell no!  Wake up, folks, people will go back to restaurants from Restaurant Week if the menus were great and the food and service was great!

Iced tea? Bottomless, refilled without asking, large glasses and very good.

To start, Spoon ordered the Bibb Lettuce Salad with lime vinaigrette and crumbled queso blanco. It was a salad. Yes, a good salad, but not a special or stellar salad.  If you look at the photo, you’ll agree. – bright, fresh looking, inviting, but nothing to write home about. Bibb lettuce, a smattering of cheese and a drizzle of dressing.

F0rk selected the Crispy Skate Fingers. Aside from the salad the only other starter choice was cucumber soup. Nope. Not gonna happen. The skate fingers were served with a napa cabbage slaw and spicy crème fraiche. This was surprisingly good. Skate looks like a stingray and the flesh looks almost like a fan. The fish is light and flaky. This wasn’t battered dipped, but breaded in cornmeal and fried golden brown. The skate sat on top of a lightly dressed napa cabbage slaw and spicy creme fraiche. Wonderful flavor combinations. Definitely a winning starter.

Main course was slightly more difficult. There just weren’t two dishes to pick. The regular menu has so many great choices, but the restaurant week menu, fish chicken or steak – almost like a bad wedding menu. Fork and Spoon both chose the Grilled Flank Steak, which was served with a grilled corn salad and a red onion jam. The steak was perfectly cooked, well seasoned, slight bark on the outside, and generous portion. The steak sat on top of a grilled corn salad. Fresh, grilled with the right amount of char to give it that slightly nutty corn taste, good flavors in the seasoning, perfect with the steak.  The red onion jam on top was not really jam-ish, but really nice with the steak, adding just a nice bit od sweetness to the dish.

The absolute star of this meal , though, and the only reason to return to The Harrison were the fries, the Duckfat Fries. O M G. THey were crispy, crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. Fabulously golden brown from the duck fat they are fried in -yes, fried in duck fat! The duck fat gives the fries a totally different flavor and texture. So absolutely yummy. There was a Mayo-ish dipping sauce on the side, but it was really guilding the lily. Only complaint about the fries – MORE, we wanted MORE!

There was no choice for dessert. This wasn’t because there was one outstanding dessert that just couldn’t be missed, but because there was only one choice for dessert. Fork and Spoon both had the Summer Berry Shortcake. Fresh berry compote and fresh whipped cream piled on top of housemade biscuits. The bicuits were tough – perhaps they were over worked or over cooked, but they shouldn’t have been so hard.

The company was wonderful. Fork and Spoon have fun no matter where we are or what the situation. The food at The Harrison was okay. Just okay. Sadly, there was nothing about this meal that would make the cutlery return.

The Harrison ~ 355 Greenwich Street ~ NYC, NY ~ 212.274.9310
Harrison on Urbanspoon