Dear Food Diary:
Restaurant week is upon us once again. Time to check off a couple more places I’ve had on my list but never found a reason to go. I’m a fan of Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli (love her on Food Network’s “Best thing you ever ate”, as she describes the food it makes me drool, and I met her at a Taste of NY event, her shrimp dish was memorably yummy). Surely I was pretty excited about the night.
The upstairs dining room has a very upscale and romantic, modern yet warm feel. The high ceiling arches and lighting is quite impressive, I would of preferred having dinner here, BUT…
They gave us a table in the downstairs area, where they get the party on a couple nights a week. It has it’s own bar, dj booth and fake fire place. The space is pretty, nicely lit and wooden themed, but felt more like a lounge than restaurant, specially when Lady GaGa was blasting in my ears the whole time, not a good combo.
Service was mediocre at best, we felt rushed and though the waiter put on a smile and tried to be friendly, the key word is “tried”, he also made us feel very very rushed. But the menu looked promising and we were excited.
House flavored butter seems to be the new thing now, these fresh herbs added a nice touch. Yummy with the rustic bread.
For appetizer, I choose Butter’s Homemade Charcuterie Plate, now you know how I feel about cured meats, so there was no way I could order the soup or beet salad. (from left to right) Duck Mortadella – was nice and tender, very mild, wasn’t bad. Venison Salami – wasn’t as gamey as I thought so I enjoyed it, but would of liked some black pepper or something to make it pop. Chicken Livers over an Aged Balsamic Grilled Bread – I thought this would be my least favorite, but the flavors were so nice and texture so creamy, it actually turned out to be my favorite. House Cured Bacon with Curry – not much curry flavor, but fatty and just salty enough to make you eat it all in one bite, yes, fat and all… yummmmm.
These were by far my 2 favorite things on the plate, the liver had some nice onions and herbs to mild out the liver taste, soooo good and I’m not a liver fan by any means. Oh look at that piece of bacon, oh yeah! ‘nough said.
For my entree, I chose Duck Confit, boneless and nicely portioned. Super tender with a lovely crispy skin, not fatty, just super flavorful. It was topped with juicy grilled shitake mushrooms, that gave it an little Asian spin, and to die for charred brussels sprouts. Everyone is doing brussels sprouts but these were extra charred so it had an extra touch of yummyness.
Up to this point, I’m thinking 4 yummys for sure. Wondering why didn’t I come sooner and how I’ve deprived myself of great food. My tummy and taste buds were secretly planning a return date, BUT dessert came… and it all went downhill.
First of all, look at that presentation, even in the dark dining room, this did not look good. I agree, looks aren’t everything, and my taste buds are anything but shallow, Dark Chocolate Cake with Toasted Almond Jam, how bad can that be right? I mean it’s chocolate! but this was super dry and dense, but not in a good way. Two spoonfuls later, I was done. The dab of almond whip cream was tasty, but that wasn’t the main star, actually… lack of star to be exact. Left me hoping for a sweet finish so that I could really really love this place.
Oh well, so Alexandra was great, but even she couldn’t save the over baked chocolate cake. I would go back for food, and just have dessert a couple blocks down at Spot or something.
415 Lafayette st