Thursday, January 27, 2011


To kick off restaurant week, Chelsea and I met for lunch at DBGB, one of Daniel Boulud's collection of restaurants. It's touted as a "lowdown French brasserie meets American tavern," with a casual atmosphere and a beautifully done industrial interior space. I loved perusing the menu as I waited for Chelsea to arrive, and was impressed that they employ their own Chef de Charcuterie. Of course, when a restaurant boasts a list of 14 house-made sausages as well as pate and a head cheese terrine, a Chef de Charcuterie is essential.

(Photo courtesy of New York Times)

I may be naive, but when I see bangers, links, and sausages on a menu, I can't help but associate them with German and Polish food. Along with an offering of Matzoh Ball Soup, I felt the menu was slightly more French-Polish than French-American. Their list of sausages is extensive and diverse, including a Thai sausage with green papaya and chili sauce, an Italian sausage with fennel, tomato, and garlic, the traditional beef wiener served with mustard, ketchup, and relish, as well as Vermont pork and cheddar link served alongside hash browns.

Where I saw the American influences most were in the burger and ice cream sundae selections. I had "The Yankee," your standard burger with the option to add Vermont cheddar and/or bacon, but I had a hard time turning down "The Piggie," a beef patty topped with pulled pork, jalepeno mayonnaise, and mustard-vinegar slaw on a cheddar bun. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Had I been dining at DBGB for dinner, that's probably what I would have ordered, but since it was only lunch and I wanted to save room for a sundae, I held back.

Although we were there to take advantage of the restaurant week deal, and although the Yankee Burger was on the pre fixe menu, the ice cream sundae I wanted, wasn't. So I just ordered my burger and dessert. Chelsea did take advantage of restaurant week and started with a frisee salad with roasted beets, chipolini onions, and mozzarella cheese. It was a little heavy on the citrus, but with roasted and pickled beets, Chelsea was a happy girl.

For her second course, Chelsea ordered green risotto with mussels and clams. Since I'm not a fan of shellfish, I only tried the risotto, but it was flavorful and perfectly cooked and creamy.

Chelsea gives her risotto two thumbs up.

I always order my burgers well-done, which I know is considered a huge faux pas, but eating pink ground beef just grosses me out in both taste and texture. But since that's my chosen "level of doneness," I accept the fact that the burgers I order will probably be a little dry, and my Yankee Burger was no different, although it was still pretty delicious. I added ketchup and a grainy mustard, which gave the burger a really nice kick of spice. I could have used a little more cheese (for paying my extra $2), which I also think would have added a creaminess to combat the lack of moisture, but the sesame bun was nice and soft, and the 6 oz patty was the perfect portion size. And of course, what goes better with a cheeseburger than fries?

They were salty and crispy, but also soft and chewy, the perfect accompaniment, and plenty to share. 

For dessert, Chelsea chose a Chocolate Gateau while I ordered the chocolate-caramel ice cream sundae. Chelsea's gateau was a layered cake with a light milk chocolate mousse, a dark chocolate cake, and a denser dark chocolate mousse layer, garnished with crispy chocolate accents. It was yummy, satisfying, and not too heavy.

Let me just say, my burger was good, but ordering my sundae was the best decision of the day. It was comprised of chocolate ice cream, caramel ice cream, caramel sauce, brownie chunks, homemade marshmallow, candied pecans, whipped cream, and caramel tuiles. Ok, let's start with the ice cream. I actually thought it was a little too cold, so unfortunately the flavors were a little muted. The brownie squares were rich and dense, and the homemade marshmallows were delicious. If you've never had a homemade marshmallow, please go make some! They're not that hard to make, I promise! The caramel sauce and caramel tuiles tasted exactly as they should, as did the light whipped cream. Surprisingly, one of my favorite parts of the sundae were the candied pecans, and pecans are not usually a nut I'll even try. They were small enough that the nut flavor wasn't overpowering, so instead they were just like little sweet crunchy bits.

I couldn't wait. I had to take a bite ASAP

Now, I really like my desserts, and usually, I am not shy about ordering my own portion and finishing off every last bit. But this sundae was just a little too much for me. I managed (somehow) to eat all the brownie bites and marshmallows, but I sadly had to leave quite a bit of ice cream in the dish. Based on the portion, this would be a perfect dessert to share, but be prepared to spoon-fight for those marshmallows. Just warning you.

Overall, this was a delicious meal. It's sadly a bit of a trek for me to get all the way down to NoHo to visit, but for a burger topped with pulled pork barbecue, or for a house-made beef hot dog with all the fixings, or for another sinfully good sundae, I'd say it's more than worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Ummm YUM. This entire dinner is right up my ally. I love the pictures and it looks like you and Chelsea had a really nice time!

    p.s. you know the next time i see you, you are making marsh mellows (you said it wasn't hard!)


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