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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

NYC Apr12: David Burke Kitchen

For Thursday's lunch I was able to make a reservation at David Burke Kitchen. Chef David Burke is someone I see frequently on food shows...Food Network, Top Chef, etc. He usually appears as a judge. And I just watched him judge the finale of Food Network's "Worst Cooks in America." I was really happy that he offered lunch! A lot of other restaurants on my list only opened for dinner.

David Burke Kitchen
23 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 201-9119
Price (lunch): $$-$$$

I liked the decor on the outside of the restaurant as well as inside. It was very comfortable and bright on the inside. I felt like we were sitting on a really nice deck or something but it's indoors. Our waitress was very friendly and told us about the specials. She was also very helpful with all my questions.

We were given complimentary Popovers after we ordered. They were huge!

We started with the Jar of Chicken Liver & Pistachio (served with crustinis) $7~
This was recommended by the waitress. I was a little apprehensive that it might be super rich like the foie gras we had at Samar in Dallas but it wasn't. It was a cold dish. I particularly liked the top layer with the crushed pistachios. You could really taste the liver, but it wasn't overwhelming. I'm not usually a fan of liver, but I thought it was pretty good. I even spread it on the popover.

I saw on the website that they offered a Lunch Prix Fixe (3 course) for $24.07~ That's a killer deal. And we were able to share it! Since it was lunch we weren't super hungry. It was plenty of food for the 2 of us.

We started with the Lobster Soup (lobster dumpling, coconut fennel creme, red watercress) (normally $12~).

It was also recommended by the waitress. They served it tableside and poured the soup in front of us. How fun. It was quite beautiful. However, neither of us liked the soup. :( First of all, we were both expecting more of a bisque or creamy soup so we were a little thrown off there. But mostly because the flavor of the soup wasn't that great. It made me think of drinking sea water? Didn't like it at all. But I liked the dumplings. I really enjoyed the flavor of the dumplings and the texture of the dumpling wrapper. Too bad there wasn't more dumplings!

While we were eating, the manager, Peter, came by to check on us. We told him we didn't care for the soup very much. He was surprised since it was one of the more popular dishes. But then he goes on to tell us how they make it. There's a cool contraption they make the soup in. It looks and works like a Siphon coffee maker.
It's pretty awesome. The liquid is sucked up to the top part and brewed with the vegetables and lobster head to get all the flavors, then flows back down into the pot when it's done so it could be poured tableside when customers order it. They put it on a table in the middle of the dining area where they do other tableside presentations. He told me that during dinner time, the chef would actually carve chicken or steak outside in the dining area. How cool! I still didn't like the soup, but I'm impressed with how they make it! hehe. Peter also gave me other cool info on how other contraptions on the table worked. He was very happy to share the information and I felt good because it was obvious he loves his job and takes pride in the restaurant. It made me happier to be dining there!

For the entree we ordered the Salmon (grilled romaine, caesar, sausage polenta croutons) (normally $24~).
It was a beautiful plate. (And my picture is totally worthy of Food & Wine magazine, in my opinion! hehe.) They introduced it as a deconstructed Caesar salad. I didn't expect that when I read the item description but it was cool. The salmon was cooked medium, I prefer med rare so it was a little overcooked in my opinion. I liked the sear and capers on top. All the ingredients were high quality and you could see that on the plate. However, the grilled romaine underneath the salmon made it a bit soft and soaked up some of the oil. We both wanted more crisp lettuce. The polenta was excellent. It was my favorite part of the dish. Too bad there were only 3 little pieces. hehe.

To finish the meal, we got the 10 Layer Red Velvet Cake (buttermilk cream, sweet tea caramel, cream cheese ice cream) (normally $10~)
The name made it sound so impressive so it was smaller than I expected. haha. But it was really pretty. I liked how the plating was playful and off center. The red on the cake was beautiful. The cake was moist and not too sweet. The best thing was the cream cheese ice cream. It really tasted like cream cheese but lighter and paired perfectly with the cake. I also liked the crunchy chocolate balls on top that added a nice crunch element.

When Peter came by half way during the meal, I asked if the Chef was in. He said he wasn't but always come in at some point during the day...usually during dinner time. But I had a nice surprise when I was eating and all of a sudden someone walks up to our table and greets us. I look up and there's Chef David Burke!! Awesome!! He was super nice! :) I also found out that the judging of "Worst Cooks" was actually done in this very restaurant. How cool! I'm always very honored to meet the chefs I watch on TV.

Overall, the meal was was great. The food wasn't as good as I expected but I was impressed with the ambiance and service, especially from Peter. It definitely makes a huge difference on the dining experience.

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