Dear Food Diary:
Traveling is one of my favorite things in life, but when I’ve used up all my vacation days for the year, taking my taste buds on a trip around the globe is the next best thing, and the newly opened Blue Elm offers just that. Chef Malik Sall mixes flavors from his hometown of Senegal, add to that his French culinary school background and Asian influences (he’s worked for Asia de Cuba and China Grill). This is a small joint with big flavors, it’s a warm and charming new addition to the lower east side, great for a friends get together or a nice date.
To promote their Grand Opening, they are offering a Special Prix Fixe – 3 courses for $20 (Sunday and Mondays until the end of October). How can you beat that? this is recession proof right? I highly recommend trying this place before it gets too crowded.
My $20 Three Course Meal:
Green Earth Salad, mixed organic greens, and crunchy jicama, with a truffle-soy vinaigrette. First bite and I recognized the flavors, but at the same time there was something different, the soy was familiar to me, but the subtle truffle turned it into a more aromatic affair.
My friend raved about the Pommes Frites that were rosemary and truffle dusted and served with 3 dipping sauces, I arrived late, and she didn’t save me any, so it must of been very tasty.
I was looking forward to the Yucca-Crusted Salmon and this met all of my “tastepectations”. Yuca is similar to a potato, but less starchy, so this was like a crispy hash brown wrapped around the salmon. The heart of palm had a grilled flavor which I’ve never had before and as strange as it seemed, it actually worked within the dish. The natural tartness and slight crunchiness of the heart of palm was a good pairing along side the creamy asparagus sauce. My tongue recognized the similar textures and flavors of the classic asparagus and salmon pairing, but once again, it was introduced to something completely unfamiliar in the best way possible. It was like revisiting your favorite city and being surprised with a totally different experience.
The lamb with merlot sauce my friend had was also excellent, but portion was on the small side, and the steak looked more like an appetizer, but the salmon was actually just right, and the best option taste and quantity wise.
Now, as much as I love Creme Brulee, it sometimes becomes a snooze, like going back to the same vacations spot over and over again, it’s great but you’ve been there, done that. Thankfully going with the theme of the meal, it was once again, something very familiar but with a sweet twist. After breaking the caramel top, there’s a layer of strawberries and blueberries, how come no one else thought of this?
I wanted to try the fig gelato, but they ran out, I’ll be back for it next time. Their regular menu features Shared Plates, divided between vegetables, seafood or protein ideal for family style. There’s also a great cocktail, brunch, and sushi menu.
P.S. Chubby’s RATING:
198 Orchard Street