I promise that I will never try to pin down the best restaurants in New York City A) because I don't live there and B) because it's impossible. Too many places and I'd need a year of no working and 100% dedication to eating throughout the city to make such claims. So, instead I will simply share the places I enjoyed over my weekend in New York and hope that they provide a tiny snapshot of the plethora of great options in the big apple. My friends know I'm a foodie so they did some great research in advance to pick excellent spots and I have to say I was not disappointed.
What a hidden gem this place is. It's small and has a great neighborhood feel to it. The drinks were outstanding-- I had some sort of champagne concoction while others enjoyed delicious Mojitos and Kumquat Caipirinha's. We ordered a bunch of appetizers for the table including a spicy cornmeal crusted calamari that had a great kick to it as well as some delicious pork arepas. However, my favorite of the appertizers was the spinach, corn and manchego empanadas that were drizzled in a fig vinaigrette. They delivered a whole lot of flavor in a small little pocket.
I loved my entree which was the grilled black cod in a miso chipotle-pomegranate sauce. The cod was smooth and buttery and I enjoyed every bite. Others enjoyed the short ribs and the pork and then we ordered some desserts for the table but at that point I was too full to even take a bite!
This brunch was the perfect choice as the dishes included a mix of familiar favorites such as brioche french toast as well as interesting brunch options with a twist. The egg dishes were my favorite choices as most of them came out in cast iron pans with interesting mixes of options. I decided to have the baked egg whites with spinach, potatoes and smoked mozzerella. The pan was bubbling and the cheese on top was slightly browned (just how I like it!) The eggs were fluffy and the combination of vegetables worked perfectly. I also enjoyed snacking on my friend's order which was roasted tomato and eggs with polenta, ricotta, and parmesan. The tomatoes in the dish were baked to perfection with a great bit of sweetness which provided the perfect flavor combination with the eggs and cheeses in the dish.
Others at the table enjoyed delicious fritattas with basil pesto and the sausage and poached eggs which apparently included a cheddar biscuit that was out of this world. Finally, if you thought that wasn't enough, of course we went ahead and ordered a macaroni and cheese for the table. The mac and cheese was done with a gruyere among other cheeses which made it perfectly sharp with just enough character. Overall, this was a really pleasant dining experience and I especially enjoyed the atmosphere with a skylight in the back and some nice plants and trees throughout to give it an upscale feel. Although I have heard Five Points also does an excellent dinner, I cannot vouch for that, but I can vouch for an enjoyable delightful brunch meal.
Let me just start by saying that this was a gluttonous meal in every way, shape, and form. We ordered essentially everything on the menu... and yes, there were only 6 of us. Don't judge. This restaurant is Chef Daniel Boulud's low key french/american style brasserie located on the lower east side. The restaurant specializes in sausage and I should specify that I did not like sausage until this dining experience. The menu options were plentiful and we were determined to try just about everything.
We started with five appetizers: tuna crudo, scallops in a zucchini and squash risotto, chop-chop salad, aspargus and fried egg and the orecchiette pasta with chicken liver, mushrooms and other vegetables. In addition to these appetizers, we also ordered four different sausages for the table which included one called the Chipolata accompanied by a delicious potato mash, the Beaujolaise which included mushrooms, onion, bacon and lentils, the Vermont which came with a cheesy cheddar hashbrown and there was one more that I honestly cannot even recall. Out of our appetizer spread my favorites were the scallops, tuna, Chipolata, and orecchiete pasta. The Chipolata in particular had a great mix of flavors with the creamy potatoes and a deliciously seasoned sausage.
Then it was time to move onto entrees (as if we hadn't eaten enough already). I went for the salmon with gnocchi and chanterelles in a light broth with some arugula. I know it seems like a basic and unexciting choice at a place like this, but I had to try to go for something semi-light at this point. Other excellent choices at the table included the pork schnitzel, steak frites, lamb tenderloin, the cavatelli pasta with laughing bird shrimp in a lobster bisque broth and then finally the "piggie" burger. This burger was intense... and included pulled pork on top of the beef patty just for extra healthiness. Everyone was incredibly pleased with their orders and I can promise you there were no leftovers. There was no stone left unturned.
Finally, we ordered the chocolate chocolate ice cream sundae and the chocolate mousse and pecan brownie cake for dessert. I had one bite of the ice cream sundae and had to call it a night. I have to say I was feeling pretty spent at this point. Ultimately, DBGB was the winner of the weekend. I loved the casual yet still upscale look and feel and the range of options on the menu. I especially liked the decor which included a collection of copper pots from some of the most famous chefs around the world on display above the tables. Our table was below Michael Mina, Anthony Bourdain and a few other notable favorites. Washingtonians- If I had to pick a fair comparison, I would choose Brasserie Beck in that its an upscale brasserie/gastro pub of sorts that does delicious food in a nice but not snobby atmosphere. DBGB is a must for any New Yorker and a great place for any visitor as well.
Overall, a great weekend filled with wonderful dining. I think I am still full...