Archive for RESTAURANTS

Mas (la grillade)

photos: m&j

When walking down Seventh Avenue South near Leroy Street, you suddenly begin to smell that comforting fireplace scent we now know means we are in the vicinity of the lovely Mas farmhouse offshoot, Mas la grillade. And what better excuse to go out for a leisurely and slightly pricey lunch there than a special birthday? J’s provided us just the opportunity to wile away the afternoon hours, meandering through “a seasonal menu of locally grown foods cooked solely over wood fires of oak, apple and other hardwoods.”  And so the meal of fire-grilled delicacies began, with us trying and thoroughly enjoying the likes of smoked peanuts with bacon and chili, fire-popped Oak Grove popcorn tossed with fried herbs and parmesan, pit-roasted head of garlic with olive oil and grilled bread, grilled tartine of garlic scape, walnut pesto, shitake and goat cheese, simple and delicious grilled fennel, smoky pea soup with dry-aged Virginia ham, mint & croutons, grilled salmon with a teriyaki glaze, smoked celery root and a puree of escarole and Shelburne Farm cheddar on grilled miche bread with cornichons, sourkraut and local organic greens. We finished up with a local strawberry chiboust (our new fave!) with panna cotta gelato, whole-wheat sable and candied kumquats and a lavender shortbread with roasted little meringues over macerated local strawberries and an all-important underground grill tour – wow!

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Saturday Brunch at Wallsé

photos: m&j

Who knew that practically right under our noses on the corner of Washington and West 11th Street exists a pretty terrific and lovely restaurant we had never even heard of, filled with enough modern art to feast our eyes, as well as a plethora of modern Viennese treats to make for a particularly delicious and leisurely brunch? Tucked under a giant Julian Schnabel painting at Wallsé, we enjoyed a first course of Bloody Marys made with fresh tomato water and “cucumber delight” cocktails made from pear-infused vodka, muddled cucumbers, elderflower syrup, lemon and Sekt. The meal continued with hits like spätzle, braised rabbit, wild mushrooms & tarragon, poached eggs, creamed spinach & Bavarian ham and a particularly amazing assortment of desserts including Salzburger Nockerl – a creamy soufflé of buttery meringue over a warm huckleberry compote – YUM!

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El Bulli: Cooking in Progress

© Alive Mind Cinema, 2011

This documentary about famed Spanish Chef and food provocateur, Ferran Adrià and his legendary El Bulli (now, sadly shuttered) just blew our minds. Creative to the point of “avant garde” as Adrià puts it, this food is not for everyone. And much of it seems less like food than science. But it is definitely art. And watching this documentary about the creation and coming to life of one of the last season’s menus of what many called “the greatest restaurant in the world” is completely engaging. The personalities alone in that kitchen are worth the trip. Our favorite quote from the film: Ferran Adrià to his sommelier – “Our problem is, there are a thousand combinations. At the moment, the taste doesn’t matter to us. That comes later. At the moment, what matters is whether something is magical, and whether it opens up a new path. And later, in the restaurant, the dishes are created. Constructed. Now it’s more research and there is more research with creativity.” Simply riveting.

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May Supper Club!

photos: m&j

On the evening of May 17th, we joined our new friends at the wonderful Haven’s Kitchen, as well as our beloved, old friends (and some friends we, delightfully, had yet to meet) to celebrate the sustainable, seasonal, local and truly world famously amazing food of extremely recent (this very month!) James Beard award winning “Best Chef” – Chef Michael Anthony of the famed Gramercy Tavern, as well as the very special birthday of our dearest pal, Mr. John McGinn. And what a fabulously delicious, festive, heart-warming, unique and inspiring evening it was!  Can each Haven’s Kitchen Supper Club possibly continue to be this special and magical? If we’ve learned anything at all from our experience here, we are thinking “absolutely!” If there is such a thing as a dinner party fairy, she has sprinkled her magic dust on this place – the exceptional food and wine pairings are guaranteed to delight the most buzz-killing food & wine snobs, and yet, the vibe is just about the most relaxed and congenial we have ever experienced – let the good times roll!

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Sunday Brunch at The Lion

photos: m&j

Walking into The Lion on West 9th Street is like stepping back in time. The cozy, dark bar opens up into an airy, spacious dining room with thirty-foot ceilings, just the right amount of peeling paint and a giant skylight. The entire space is filled from eye level up with antique paintings, framed photographs and gilt mirrors, giving it a relaxed, but somewhat clubby atmosphere. May we recommend the spicy cornbread muffins with butter and balsamic strawberry preserves, the avocado toast with smoked salmon, capers & pickled shallot, all varieties of eggs and the berry Dutch pancakes with whipped ricotta – YUM!

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April Supper Club!

photos: m&j

On April 24th, we had the complete pleasure of joining a group of close friends and even a few adventurous family members (go A. Wright & Patsy!) along with our dear new friends at Haven’s Kitchen for their second ever Supper Club event. With food imagined and prepared by husband and wife chef team Andrew Lentz of Lincoln and Shaunna Sargent of Indie Food and Wine and Betto – we knew the evening was going to be something special. And it was that and so much more. The festivities began with a signature negroni cocktail downstairs in the cooking school kitchen with passed hors d’oeuvres, including miniature lobster sandwiches, chicken liver mousse on crisped toasts and fried fresh pea risotto balls – yum!  Then the forty of us headed upstairs for a rustic Italian meal prepared with organic and locally sourced sustainable fare and wine parings that had our mouths watering from the instant we sat down. The Antipasti was a fantastic panzanella of young beets, celery, charred onion petals, tender herbs fresh as fresh can be, house made mozzarella and Barolo vinegar with an Anselmi II Ceppo Prosecco NV. The Primi consisted of one the best raviolis we’ve ever tasted – blushed with fresh beet juice, these delicate pillows were stuffed with silky potato, pecorino romano and spicy black pepper, dressed with a lovely charred asparagus and paired with a 2010 Ocone “Flora” Falanghina. Secondi was a particularly well cooked pollo fra diavolo with braised radiccio and escarole salad and a 2008 Occhipinti “Siccagno” Nero D’Avola. And, finally, we stuffed our last bit of room with a lovely Dolci – rhubarb torta with ricotta gelato – wow! Another stellar evening burned into our tastebuds and our memories – which would be a bit nostalgic and bittersweet to look back on now if we weren’t already gearing up for the next Supper Club on May 17th (with chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern fame – can this honored new tradition possibly get any better?) … keep you posted!

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The Breslin

photos: m&j  & The Breslin

What a great place to spend one’s seventh wedding anniversary! For absolutely delicious food and that casual vibe that we were so in the mood for – the Breslin delivered in spades. We began with some sea salt & black pepper crisps and  cask conditioned ales, a lovely seafood sausage with beurre blanc & chives and a citrus salad with herbs, delicate butter lettuces and crunchy little quinoa bits (!) and crème fraiche that excited the palate and was just so refreshing and, frankly quite a welcome and pleasant surprise at this Anglican monument to all things meat in the lobby of the Ace Hotel! We shared a savory Vinegared poussin with grilled onions, wild ramps and romesco and pan roasted dourade with beer steamed cockles, beans & monk’s beard and a side of spigarello with anchovy & chili – yum! And finished it all off with some tepid coffee (not so yum) and a delicate creamsicle sundae pudding that more than made up for the slight coffee impropriety – sweet, pink cara cara orange, yogurt sorbet, crushed meringue, candied ginger and lemon – a traditional fool turned on it’s head, if you will. Quite a lovely dinner & Happy Anniversary, my dearest!! xoxo

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