The Breslin: Restaurant Week
I’ve been holding back on going to The Breslin for quite a while. Part of me wanted to go in relatively blindly, as in earlier during the first week of opening, but I want a restaurant to work out their service and possible food kinks before I can reasonably write or say anything. Since it is Restaurant Week, it’s somewhat a good idea to give them a try with my friend, Giulia. So here it goes…
Starting with our first course, Giulia’s potato and porcini soup was simply rich. I took a sip of it and the first thing that impaled my taste buds was butter. Then the next big notes were the salty, musky porcini. The potato provided the thick creaminess for the soup.
My cotechino was a bit unexpected. If you haven’t read or come across this meaty goodness before, cotechino is essentially fresh pork sausage. The difference here Breslin deep fries it to a delicious, crunchy golden brown exterior. The sausage itself is wonderfully porky and herbaceous.
The tagliatelle was a decent bowl of pasta. If you want a superb bowl of housemade pasta you should go to any of Chef Michael White’s restaurants (like Marea and Alto). The pork ragu was well made; tender and meaty and the pasta wasn’t drowning in sauce.
I’ve read about the thrice cooked chips (ordered a la carte, supplement $7) from both friends and from big name food critics and it does hold true to the hype. These were amazing fries. (I prefer thinner cut fries for the crunch factor.) They were extremely crisp that the crust shatters at the bite and the innards are fluffy, creamy mash. The cumin mayonnaise was unctuously thick like softened butter.
The pickles served on the side was arguably the most complex brined cucumber I’ve eaten: starting with sweet, transitioning to salty, brininess then finishing off to a mildly spicy note. Giulia was very enthusiastic over the pickles and it rendered me speechless. It was a good pickle but I never seen anyone love pickles that much.
The pan seared halibut was not their strong point. As anyone who knows a bit about Chef Bloomfield’s cooking, she loves her meat. The halibut and lentils were perfectly cooked and I did appreciate the acidity from the lentil mixture, but this dish doesn’t resonate within me that it’s cooked with love like the meat dishes.
The ciabatta donuts served with banana ice cream sounded like an unusual dessert. The donuts were literally deep fried, miniature buns glazed in sugar. It’s too tough and chewy for me to appreciate it as a donut but it’s an interesting idea. The banana ice cream however was a hit. Rich in banana flavor and velvety texture, it’s sublime.
I wanted the Eton Mess just because it sounded weird. (If you read this blog long enough, I have a predilection to order some food that skews toward the odd.) When this dessert landed on my end of the table, it does literally look like a mess but a tasty mess, mind you. A baked cloud of sweetened meringue, sitting on top of a pool of vanilla custard and feathery-light coconut cake, piled with whipped cream, drizzled with more custard and toasted coconut. It’s worth overlooking the disorganized jumble of ingredients and just eat and enjoy it.
Service here was excellent: no one rushed us out the door, our glasses were filled promptly and frequently, and everyone was friendly.
My small issue was getting seated. I was early waiting for Giulia to arrive and I had my name on their list and waited at the bar. By the time Giulia gotten here and I checked with the host that my other half was here, we had to wait an extra couple of minutes to get seated. It struck me a bit odd when there were two hosts and it’s just the first ten minutes of lunch service and the dining room was barely half full. But probably it’s just me hypercritical.
As for the food, stick with the deep fried, fatty dishes and anything meaty. I’ve seen the lamb burger being passed around the dining room and I will plan on getting it when I come back here next time for lunch. Dinner is a whole ‘nother ballgame where I need to recruit some eaters who can handle the fat.