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.
The space is quite large, with a big bar and lots of beer selections.
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).
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.”
“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.
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.
And the Thai sausage.
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.
One person got the Vermont with 2 fried eggs, a lovely breakfast.
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)
The Oeuf Forestére was two eggs “en cocotte” with wild mushrooms, gruyère, fines herbes
“Le Bucheron” with two eggs any style, toscane sausage, smoked bacon, home fries, a house-baked croissant
An omelette (not sure which kind)
The Belgian waffle with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
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.
He also got a side of the Brussels sprouts with bacon, which were perfectly cooked and just the right amount of crispy and sweet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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