Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Eating in late '08

Some new restaurant rundown. Lots of new and exciting eating lately, but lots of missteps in there too.

Finally went to the new Momofuku Milk Bar last night. I went in the evening so I didn't get to sample the insane-sounding breakfast pastries (deep-fried poached egg on a homemade english muffin with pork? Um, yeah, there's a way to start the day that I can get behind). I bought a slice of the crack pie which was a perfect midday snack; it's pretty much a pecan pie without the pecans, all sweetened condensed milk, Karo corn syrup and sugar. Gnarly but great. The soft-serve was good, but the chocolate fudge was so treacly sweet and has too sticky a mouthfeel for me. I got the "brown-butter solids" as a topping, and found those disappointing too. High expectations and all, but believe me, I will be back for pistachio cake, peanut butter cookies, and the aforementioned breakfast sandwich. The one real, egregious error in my book? The fact that the most intense fish smell kept wafting in from the Ssam kitchen down the hall—such an unpleasant scent to go along with your chocolate cone!

Buttermilk Channel is the absolute closest restaurant to my house. When I went the other night, it was raining, hard, but the place is so near to my front door that it wasn't even worth it for me to open the umbrella to get from point A to B. Got to love that for convenience, and obviously, I want to love the place. BUT. They got some work to do, oh yes. We sat at the bar and the guy working was wildly spacey, just not paying us any attention. The kale and endive salad arrived totally undressed and the croutons were large chunks of bread, nothing more. The kale was also unchopped, presented as big, full leaves. Which was pretty, but impossible to eat—I was wrestling with slicing each leaf up into manageable chunks. Sarah's green salad was equally tasteless, not bad, but just not much of anything. She also got the bratwurst, which arrived uncooked—call me crazy, but I don't like my pork sausage served raw in the middle. It was easily fixed, but they seemed kind of scared of us after that. The donuts at the end of the meal were totally redeeming, however. What was funny was that the waiter told us there was only one donut per order, and the plate arrived with three donuts, each with its own little munchkin perched on top! A welcome mistake. Regardless, I am going to keep going back, I am rooting for these guys. It's the neighborly way.

Other great dishes I've had recently:
At Bar Q, I had the eggplant miso which was the most damn delectable eggplant I have ever had, or at least in my limited eggplant memory. I also had a chili–kaffir lime margarita there that blew my mind, I loved it so much.
Braeburn just opened in the West Village, where I enjoyed a lovely, sophisticated dinner with Sue and Sarah, and we all went crazy for the passionfruit peekytoe crab salad. I am a fan of anything with passionfruit, but what could have been kind of fruity-lame was a totally fresh and exciting dish.
I had a great coconut chicken dish at The New French on Hudson, which is not really so new nor particularly French. Alas, I'd go back.
I've now had two great brunches at Char no. 4, filled with biscuits and ham and really strong coffee. Though I've yet to go there at night and drink some of the bourbon they are so well known for, I like the place lots and am happy to have it in the 'hood.
Down the block, I had a mediocre hot cider drink at the Clover Club. Too frou-frou for me for Smith Street, thanks. I'll stick with my new winter addiction of rum cider at the local, Abilene.