Tag Archives: burger

Brunch at DBGB

18 Nov

My sister was on a quest to find a brunch place on the Lower East Side that could accommodate a semi-flexible birthday brunch of about 10-15 people.  That’s no easy task in the LES.  Lots of places are great, but very small, or very quickly booked up weeks in advance.

But I was thrilled when she booked at DBGB, a Daniel Boulud restaurant.  We have dined at a few of Chef Boulud’s restaurants and they have always been especially great and high on the list of reliable favorites.

IMG_1454

The space is quite large, with a big bar and lots of beer selections.

IMG_1456

We sat right below this beauty, which made me want to immediately book a Whole Hog Feast for the near future.  The mirrored panels around the restaurant are also printed with great quotes from famous food lovers (everyone from Wylie Dufresne to Homer Simpson).

IMG_1455

When we were getting ready to order, Mike spotted an old high school friend across the room, who happened to be the general manager of the restaurant. He said hello and two things immediately went through my head…

“Wow! Small world.”

and

“Man… I hope this meal isn’t shitty. I hate having to pretend to like a place because we know someone there.”

Thankfully, the latter turned out to be nothing to worry about. In classic Chef Boulud style, the food was a notch above great.

And Mike’s old buddy sent over a few very nice extras for us, including a starter of Viennoiseries (French for pastries from Vienna) with butter and jam.  This included a madeleine on top, which was surprising but incredibly delicious.  All the pastries were very, very good, but the highlight was actually the raspberry jam.  That was some incredible jam.

IMG_1452

DBGB features their different variations of sausages prominently.

The table tried the Vermont Sausage with pork & cheddar link, hash browns, and red onion crème frache. Everyone enjoyed.

IMG_1465

And the Thai sausage.

IMG_1466

Everyone loved the Thai sausage (sadly, I couldn’t try due to my allergy), which had pork, lemongrass & red curry links, green papaya, basil fried rice,  and chili sauce.  There was even a perfect little quail egg on top.

IMG_1470

One person got the Vermont with 2 fried eggs, a lovely breakfast.

IMG_1468

I got to try a bite of the Eggs Florentine with creamy spinach, hollandaise, english muffin with Jabon de Paris.  This was sensational.  All the components seemed simple but the taste came together in the most spectacular way. (The hollandaise was on the side for this one, per my mom’s request, and I thought it was a perfect hollandaise)

IMG_1459

The Oeuf Forestére was two eggs “en cocotte” with wild mushrooms, gruyère, fines herbes

IMG_1462

“Le Bucheron” with two eggs any style, toscane sausage, smoked bacon, home fries, a house-baked croissant

IMG_1467

 

An omelette (not sure which kind)

IMG_1472

The Belgian waffle with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

IMG_1464

Mike got (surprise) the buger. Specifically The Frenchie: 7 oz beef patty with confit pork belly, arugula, tomato-onion compote & morbier cheese on a peppered brioche bun with cornichon, mustard & fries.  He said it was very juicy, and I stole quite a few great, crispy fries.

IMG_1478

 

He also got a side of the Brussels sprouts with bacon, which were perfectly cooked and just the right amount of crispy and sweet.

IMG_1471

I got the French Toast.  I hardly ever get french toast but this one was listed with roasted plum compote and it was just calling my name on this day.  Usually french toast suffers from being tasty on the outside and then just bread on the inside.  This suffered from no such problems. In fact, this was hands down the best french toast I’ve ever had.  The outside was crispy and slightly bruleed, and the inside was like the best combination of bread pudding and creme brulee.  It was so tasty and so perfectly textured, with the absolutely awesome roasted plum compote that I just wanted to lick off the plate.

IMG_1477

I also go a side of the house smoked bacon, which I ordered extra well done (I love bacon crispy) and this did not dissapoint.  Great bacon.

IMG_1473

And since it was a birthday celebration, we got some desserts for the table to share.

We split the Cranberry Cream Cheese Sundae which came with spiced cranberry compote, linzer crumble, orange marshmallow, toasted pumpkin seeds, and whipped cream.  I usually don’t like cranberries all that much, but this was awesome. The ice cream tasted like cheese cake and the cranberries were just the right amount of sweet.  And the orange marshmallows were a great part of the full sundae.

IMG_1484

We also tried the chocolate bourbon sundae with brownie bites, chocolate sauce, bourbon gelée, candied pecans, and whipped cream.  This had great flavor, and the bourbon gelée was a great pop of flavor, and I absolutely loved the candied pecans in this sundae.

IMG_1486

We also decided to split the Baked Alaska around the table, which had pistachio & vanilla ice cream, raspberry sorbet, and fresh meringue flambéed with kirsch.  What we were not expecting was that Mike’s friend, the GM, actually flambéed this tableside for us.  It was quite the spectacle (check ou the blue flame in the picture below).  It was delicious and always an impressive dessert.

FullSizeRender

My sister was thrilled with her birthday brunch and all of us left very full and very happy.  I will absolutely go back there any time I’m in the neighborhood and want to get together with friends to do that Whole Hog Feast.

I was very happy to be able to honestly tell the GM at the end that our meal was really fantastic.  A step above your typical brunch.

Happy Birthday, Stacey!

Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10

nomscale- 08.5

 

 

 

New Opening: THE NoMad BAR

21 Jun

We caught the news that The NoMad had opened up a new space called The Nomad Bar, attached through a semi-hidden passageway to their current space, The Library. It seems this came as a surprise to many, as I saw nothing leading up to it prior and it just kind of appeared one day with an entrance in the middle of the block on 28th Street (look for the Nomad logo on the door).  The space has been described as “sexy,” which it undeniably is, even down to a sexy promotional video. (And lots more sexy photos from Eater)

We went in at about 5:45pm on Friday evening and were told it would be about an hour wait for a table (as expected).  We put our names in and saddled right up to the sexy bar.

IMG_8279

We loved the food at The NoMad restaurant, and I actually find myself there nearly once a week now for breakfast meetings since it’s right near my office (and they have the super awesome granola from Eleven Madison Park).  We are huge fans of basically anything from Daniel Humm and Will Guidara after falling in love with EMP, which is our #1 restaurant in Manhattan. And when we heard that Brian Canlis, our gracious host from our fantastic honeymoon dinner at Canlis in Seattle, was lending a helping hand, it was all the more reason to visit at the first opportunity we had.

Mike and I had arrived early and were waiting on another couple friend to join us.  As we waited, we perused the menu and noticed that there were so many delicious sounding cocktails that it was going to be hard to choose.

IMG_8277

They have a section for “Reserve Cocktails” (read: very expensive with very good liquors), but they did mix a less premium version on request.  They also have an entire section of “Cocktail Explosions” for $90 to serve 6-8 people. It’s even labeled as “be careful” on the menu. We saw a few come out and they were like a super sexy scorpion bowl.  Could be great for a party.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our friends arrived shortly thereafter and as they ordered their drinks, the hostess came up to us and informed us that there was actually a change in another party so our table would be ready shortly.  Great!

We got our drinks and were led up the stairs to the second level, which is like a U shaped balcony with tables all around, looking down on the bar.

IMG_8280

They even light their stemware in a sexy cabinet with sexy lighting.

IMG_8281

What was a little less than sexy? The fact that they serve their “Forbidden Dance” in this slightly ridiculous, slightly awesome tiki glass.  I quite proudly carried this around a few hours later (more on that soon), but it was certainly a talking point (more on that later soon, too)

I have to say though, every single drink was amazing.  Perfectly balanced, perfectly constructed.  Really stand-out. This is truly a craft cocktail bar first and foremost.

IMG_8285

After ordering, our table was set with this cool box of silverware.

And then Brian Canlis stopped by and we said hello and told him that we were at his restaurant almost exactly 1 year ago to the day on our honeymoon.  He was so friendly and so warm.  He seemed genuinely happy to have us there and talk to us.  Brian Canlis knows hospitality and knows how to make guests feel special.

He also asked our opinion about the giant tiki glass sitting on our table.  Our dining companion informed him that she was a bit embarrassed by it and he told us that management is discussing whether it’s awesome or awful.  I think we all agreed that it’s a little of both.

IMG_8287

We started with the flat bread, which came with spring onions and fingerling potatoes.  We all enjoyed this but agreed that a little dipping sauce would have been good with it, perhaps a rosemary olive oil or olive tapenade.

IMG_8288

We also tried the Scotch Olives with lamb’s sausage and sheep’s milk cheese.

IMG_8293

 

It was like a scotch egg but with an olive.  I really enjoyed this.  Fun flavors and combination of textures and meat with salt and fry.

IMG_8328

Our final appetizer was the Swiss Cheese with beer mustard, pretzel chips, and pickles.  The cheese was absolutely phenomenal. I don’t know where they are sourcing this cheese, but it was some of the best swiss I’ve ever had.  I’m not a mustard fan, however, the two boys at the table sang its praises.

IMG_8296

Onto the entrees!

Two burgers on the table, and thank goodness.  This was a fantastic burger.

IMG_8303

The meat was cooked perfectly and the brioche bun was hearty without distracting from the main meat event. It was listed as dry aged with cheddar, red onions, and pickles.  So simple, yet so good.  One of my favorite burgers I’ve ever had.

IMG_8304

 

We got fries for the table and these were fan-freakin-tastic fries.  They were crispy and had lovely herbs on them (rosemary and parsley).  I gobbled up every little piece.

IMG_8308

We also tried the pork schnitzel on foccacia with tomato and pickles.  Of all the entrees, this was probably our least favorite. It was good but it didn’t sing with flavor like the other dishes.  It got a bit too muddled.

IMG_8306

I got the duck sausage with pickled ramps and cherries.  I was a bit concerned that this was the same mustard as the cheese, but it was more of an aioli, I think?

IMG_8310

The sausage itself was great.  Really nice combination of flavors and a nice snap to the outside.  Very enjoyable.

IMG_8312

With The NoMad restaurant serving one of my favorite desserts of all time (Milk and Honey), we were glad to have room for dessert.

We started with the Cookies & Cream, which was yummy vanilla ice cream rolled in cookie crumbs.  I loved that you could eat these with your hands and the texture was just right.  Delicious nibble.

IMG_8314

The banana pudding with rum & brioche was not how we expected it to look, but I really enjoyed this dessert.  I also enjoy how this picture wound up looking like that famous photo of Queen from Bohemian Rap City.

IMG_8329

 

And we had to try the candy bar, which was labeled on the menu as “literally, with dark chocolate and caramel.”

Literally indeed.

IMG_8313

Unwrapping it felt like Willy Wonka.

IMG_8323

And it was an awesome balance of the bitter dark chocolate with the sweet, dense caramel center.  A fantastic end to the meal.

IMG_8327

 

We had a few drinks throughout the evening, and all were great.  We decided we would end our night in The Library Bar for a night cap.

On our way down the stairs, we ran into Brian Canlis again.  We told him that we really enjoyed our meal and he asked us if we had ever been to the roof.  Why no… we had not.  He told us to hold tight and we told him we were going to head to The Library Bar.  That is when he informed us that the deal was that The Library Bar was now for hotel guests only. Apparently, the bar had become so popular that guests could never get in, so The NoMad Bar was opened up for the public now, in trade for The Library Bar being exclusive (in the late evenings anyway).  Interesting! So we grabbed our drinks at the sexy bar and waited for Brian.

We ordered a few things, including a repeat of a drink I had and enjoyed earlier in the evening, which was “The Shaman” (Pisco Acholado, Salers, Pineapple, Lemon, Cinnamon, and Angostura Bitters). Unfortunately (or maybe fortuitously) the bar tender heard incorrectly and thought I ordered “The Forbidden Dance.” And that is how I accidentally wound up carrying a huge Tiki Cup through The NoMad dining room, up the elevator, and to the roof with Brian Canlis.

But that’s okay… we named him Ted. (and he was delicious… and the bar tender took it off the bill… which was very, very nice of him).

IMG_8333

The roof of The NoMad was beautiful.  There is a special room up there in a circular turret-like construction where you can have a private meal, and I think all of our ears perked up at the thought of having a special meal up there.  They used to do a tasting menu up there, but with the weather and the financial opportunity of private parties, it is now a permanently tented space that is truly stunning with indoor and outdoor areas and a view of the Empire State Building and a world of beautiful buildings you would never know existed from the ground.  (If you have a lot of money, and a small guest list, this would be a dream wedding venue).

Overall, I really enjoyed our time at The NoMad Bar.  It is a well executed “more casual” version of The NoMad restaurant.  All the food was very good, if not great, and the cocktails were some of the best I’ve ever had.  We drank quite a few over the course of the night, so our tab was a bit hard to see, but for the caliber, it didn’t feel too nuts for NYC.  It is definitely as sexy as it has been billed, and if you are looking to impress a date, this is the place to go.  Looking forward to going back.

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10

 

Jersey City: Skinner’s Loft

20 Mar

Also while on our quest to explore neighborhoods in and around Manhattan for home buying, we wound up in Jersey City with some friends who just recently bought a place there themselves.  (We actually really liked it there, but my commute to CT a few times each week made it less desirable than heading north).

They explained the stress of picking a restaurant we would enjoy (to which I always say, I enjoy a diner as much as a 5 star restaurant!) but decided to meet at Skinner’s Loft just a couple blocks from the Grove Street Path Station.

We got there a little early and had a drink at the bar, during which time we saw a lot of people come in and request a seat. Luckily, they saved our table while we waited for our friends, but they were turning people away before noon.  It was hopping!

IMG_5642

The bread basket was really great, with a little bit of everything to try and nice butter.  (I love a good sampler bread basket)

IMG_5641

The men at the table each got the grilled hamburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, brioche roll, french fries.

IMG_5643

Mike said it was a pretty decent burger and I LOVED the fries.

IMG_5644

My friend got the eggs benedict with poached eggs over house-made buttermilk biscuits, canadian bacon, and hollandaise sauce.  She really enjoyed it.

IMG_5650

 

I got the poached eggs over corned beef and sweet potato/potato hash.  This sounded SO good.  Sadly, this just didn’t quite come together.  The potatoes were soft but not roasted and there was 0 sauce. That would have been totally fine if the potatoes were nicely caramelized, but instead, they were actually kind of flavorless.  Even the corned beef pieces were lacking in flavor. Saltiness even! Bummer.  This could have been really great.

 

IMG_5648

I can see why this place is popular in town for brunch, with a great menu, but sadly, it just wasn’t quite there.  I think they are on the right track but need a really good cook to come in and bump it all up just a wee bit.  Though my only real thing to base that idea on is that hash, so maybe the other items are better.  I’m sure it’s a great stop if you’re in the area, but I can’t quite tell you to drop everything and do some Jersey City destination dining based on Skinner’s Loft Brunch.

Total Nom Points: 6 out of 10

nomscale- 06.0