Black Market NYC
It’s my birthday. And it’s time to end the food blog. No more flash photography at swanky restaurants. No more spilling wine on my cell phone. No more half-assed reporting on everything I eat. I have no more adjectives for “delicious.” It is time to bid you adieu. Both of you. And you, too, Mom. (I promise I’ll call and tell you what I’m eating.) I leave you with this delicious oyster from my fabulous birthday dinner.
I will continue eating each and every day, with gusto. I’m just not going to tell anyone. Just come and have a bite with me.
During the holiday rush, we ducked into the serene Ootaya. Our table was perched above the kitchen where the chefs were grilling and slicing meat and fish delicacies. We started with fresh tofu, which was silky and mild.
Then we moved on to pickles, which were as vibrant as the plate.
Chicken, liver and mushrooms were skewered and grilled.
And then this elongated chicken meatball arrived with a simple egg yolk for dipping. It looked like a punctuation mark but tasted like fried chicken on a stick.
By this point we were ready for the tower of chicken, all decked out in an edible pink wig.
The mackerel sashimi was escorted by onions and tomatoes and little bits of secret avocado.
We finished with grilled beheaded mackerel and its friend, the sweet potato.
The phone number at Swine is 255-PORK. I figured they were serious. We were led into a subterranean pit that looked like a rec room gone awry. Really ugly. But then they brought me a cocktail made with bacon-infused rye and the place started looking much better. The menu was pretty confusing, but Wendi deciphered it nicely, and we ended up with 5 small bites:
rabbit mushroom terrine with cranberry jam; gravlax and cornichons; chicken liver mousse with cornichon; Ram Hill Dante cheese with anarchy in a jar strawberry balsamic jam (no anarchy was present, however); and tongue pastrami. Oh, and pickles, which seem to be the latest (Portlandia-ish) rage:
pickled cabbage, spicy pickles, bread & butter pickles and pickled beets. We got one main dish: pork belly.
The second rye cocktail had kicked in by then so it got a little blurry. The star of the meal, however, was the foie gras torchon with strawberry balsamic.
Like a peanut butter sandwich, but goosier. It was so good, we had to get a second helping. And for dessert, the deviled eggs were made with hot chinese mustard for a yellow kick.
Tucked into the New York Historical Society is a lovely little restaurant that, for some reason, is Italian. Yet I would rather eat pasta at Cafe Storico than Coney Island dogs at Nathans. I ate a splendid bib lettuce salad with raddish,
and then a plate of hot, soft gnocchi.
Dessert was an almond tart topped with some ill-advised gorgonzola ice cream, which reminded me of frozen hot feet.
Weirdest thing happened. I woke up and my legs just started walking. They took me up 1st Ave. and then over the Queensborough Bridge. I walked and walked, until I arrived at P.S.1. I knew what my legs were up to. They wanted me to eat at the new M Wells. I walked into what looked like a school room. My legs folded into a classroom desk. I looked up at the chalk board. The menu was written out in very neat handwriting. I ordered the egg and tomato pot.
It was like nothing that ever got stuffed into my lunch bag. Tender stewed tomatoes with an egg on top were hidden under some bright pesto and a bit of cheese. It had all been melted together and served with bread so good, I would have sworn it came directly from Paris. I ate every bit, lest my knuckles be rapped with a ruler. And I’d been such a good girl, I ordered dessert.
A balsam fir chiboust. That’s right. Balsam fir. There was just the slightest hint of winter in this fluffy meringue-y hat thing and there was a soft cookie at the bottom and this will be my after school snack, right after I learn how to pronounce it.
And if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. I had a pot de creme, which more like a bucket of melted candy bar. And I loved every bite.
The main course was autumn at its most pleasant: duck with prunes and potatoes. The duck was lean and moist with not the slightest hint of gaminess. A nice, subtle break from leftovers.
Last I was here, the Chez was in a small, cramped space. They have since moved to a bigger, sort of stodgy space, but the food is still magnificent. We started with stuffed squid. How calamari and squash met up, I’ll never know, but it worked out well for everyone except the squid.
And oh the bird! Moist and wonderful, surrounded by real cranberry sauce that was not shaped like a can, and sage stuffing and tiny Brussels sprouts and fluffy potatoes. Everyone except the turkey was thankful. And we were all stuffed.
A splendid salad followed. The delicate pine nuts had been carefully toasted and distributed among the apples and frisée.