We met next door at The Algonquin for some pre-dinner drinks, starting with a pair each of Makers Marks and Grey Goose and tonics (I won't tell you who got which). I had barely eaten after a stressful day, but finished both drinks entirely too quickly while we both vented about our respective annoyances.
The restaurant was not crowded when we walked in early for our 8:00 reservation, but it filled up throughout the night. After being seated in the back, FP went immediately for the wine list. I know to defer to her expertise, and rightly so-- she ordered a 1985 Veuve Clicquot Rose that had our waiter, the sommelier and GM fawning over us the rest of the meal.
First up, an eggplant "dip" that the runner mysteriously described as "eggplant caviar." I don't know what the hell he was talking about, because I noticed no such thing). The dip sat beside a surprisingly mellow olive tapenade with a piece of anchovy perched on top and was surrounded by pieces of toast.
Next came our appetizers, orecchiette with veal ragu, parmesan, green snap peas and micro greens. I love orecchiette, but these were thicker and very rustic, unlike other types of seen. Yet they were cooked perfectly. A piece of orecchiette cradling the fresh, crunchy peas, topped with meaty, rich ragu and parmesan, made for an excellent bite.
Tartine flambee with ham onions and "special cheese blend," as our waiter described it, was served on a crispy flatbread with slightly charred pieces of ham. The blend tasted like a mix of gruyere with a creamier cows milk cheese. It was fatty and decadent, but didn't blow me away. It tasted like something I would make after a long night of drinking... so very apt.
Not my picture. Courtsey of Roland
Coq au vin with spaetzle, bacon and hen of the woods mushrooms was certainly the best rendition I've ever had-- its taste still penetrates the fog of alcohol. The chicken itself, two drumsticks and a thigh, was deeply permeated by the red wine braise, yet the taste of the dark meat still shone through. The sauce had intensified to what seemed to be its utmost limit, any more and it would have tasted burnt. Still, it was perfect. I finished the rest for breakfast the next morning, and the taste haunted my burps all day (along with my hangover).
And finally, what we all came for: the signature DB burger stuffed with foie gras and red wine braised short ribs, served on a parmesan bun with tomatoes and some kind of white cheese along with pommes frites. Split in half, the burger did not look huge, but was massively thick and exploded with different tastes. Sirloin can be soft in a burger, but the braised short ribs, as well as the nice outer sear gave it bite, while the piece of foie contributed even more fatty flavor. The fries were good, but could have been a little crisper. It was also served with an awesome horseradish mayo, dijon mustard and ketchup.
To accompany these two dishes, Future Partner ordered a bottle of St. Rita's, a Chilean red wine. It was surprisingly light, but I won't lie, we were almost through our second bottle at this point, so I can hardly remember much more beyond the basics: red + fruity = good wine and foie + short ribs = delicious.
I just noticed I've got the lean.
I can hardly remember the gateau with banana mousse, some kind of peanut butter extrusion and chocolate ice cream with a dark chocolate brownie chip over coffee chocolate nibs. I know the word ganduja was mentioned in there somewhere and that it tasted good, but that's about it.
I tried some Petit fours as we finished the (delicious) dregs of both bottles of wine, but I remember next to nothing about their flavor, and could hardly differentiate them even then. Eventually I managed to stumble back to my apartment and type up my notes from dinner as my roommate laughed at me for forgetting the word "tapenade." Plus, I could barely spell at that point, and soon passed out after watching an episode of Party Down.
But really, I had the last laugh. The DAsian has been monopolizing the high-end here at Law & Food, while I've been saving money and eating much cheaper. However, FP likes fine dining, so I can't complain about taking advantage of her expense account while crashing the party for a fantastic meal.
db Bistro Moderne
55 W 44th St (btwn 5th and 6th)