For the past few years, I’ve heard of Trestle on Tenth and placed it on my (long) list of places I want/should eat in New York City. Finally, I made a dinner date with my mom this past Thursday because of the Metzgete that runs every night through this Saturday, January 22, 2011. The Metzgete is basically a meat-centric platter (can be done either family-style or individually) that costs $26 per person. I’ll get in depth with this later and yes, my mother and I love to eat meat.
Entering upon this inconspicuous, neighborhood bistro, it feels cozy yet it’s adorned in an utilitarian fashion. The exposed, brick walls with dark wooden tables strewn about down the narrow dining room and a large bar full of patrons to your immediate right. The host welcomed us and showed us to our table.
Perusing through their concise but seasonal appropriate cocktail list, we started the evening with the Silver Lining and Cabana Flush. The Silver Lining was clean and sweet with a floral end note from the St. Germain, while my Cabana Flush was fruity with more of a darker, spicy kick from the ginger beer and Pyrat rum. Both were very well made. (The Hilltop was ordered later on the meal. Intensely cranberry with a boozy kick.)
For our first course, we started with something light: golden beets salad with jumbo lump crab and pistachios. This deconstructed salad was light and sweet, the sweetness of the beets played along with the natural sweetness of the crab meat, while the pistachios added the needed crunch. They did not skimp on the crab meat mind you (I’d approximate a cup’s worth and that’s a lot of crabs to crack) and this dish was modestly priced around $12.
The steak tartar with quail egg and toasted baguettes was our next course and this was well executed. Creamy, beefy bites of tartar with wisps of herbs to make it multidimensional in flavor. When you mix it with raw quail egg provided, it amplifies the luscious texture even further. The toasts were necessary vehicles to counteract all things soft.
The sweetbreads with maitake mushrooms and frisée lettuce were delicious. By default, I love sweetbreads for their soft, almost creamy texture and this dish was a great example of how sweetbreads are should be cooked. The maitake mushrooms added some silky, almost meat-like texture. The sauce was slightly acidic and bright to contrast the richness of the sweetbreads.
As smoked and roasted pork loin sitting in a pool of lovely housemade mustard, potato galette, and pork jus, the whiff of mustard was intense yet ethereal. The pork was juicy and tender. I adored how the pork is sweet and smoky and when eaten with the a heavy smear of mustard-pork jus, it was a tantalizing combination. The potato galette was my mother’s favorite thing beyond the pork and mustard. She kept nibbling on that creamy goodness with crisp edges but I have to caution her that we have another round of savory food to go, so she stopped.
After our plates were cleared from this course, the chef and owner, Ralf Kuttel went out of his kitchen and visited our table. He introduced himself to us and inquired “How is everything?” Admittedly, we enjoyed everything and expressed that verbally. My mother admitted to Chef Ralf that she loved the galette from the pork loin dish; in reply, he joked that he has more in the kitchen and willing to give her more if she liked. After speaking for another minute, he went off to shake hands and talk to other diners who are regulars of his restaurant. He gave me the impression that he would be one of your best friends who invited you to his dinner party. You will be fed well and have a good time.
Finally, the platter of food we’ve all been waiting for: The Metzgete. This heaping plate of meats is pretty much any pork lover would lust for. The Metzgete is an assortment of fresh house-made blood sausage, bratwurst topped with caramelized onions, and liver sausage, roasted pig’s foot, centered on a mound of mashed potatoes and sauerkraut with slices of pork belly draped on top. There were three sauces to mix and match with your plate of meats: creamy horseradish, house-made mustard, and applesauce. Looking at that plate, my mother and I look at this in relative shock and wondering if we can eat all of that.
To keep this succinct, we did eat it and liked everything on that platter. My personal favorites were the blood sausage (it’s oh-so-creamy and not remotely gamy or bloody tasting) and the melt-in-your-mouth, fork tender pork belly. I think the both of us were veering very close to food coma but we made room for dessert.
Our desserts of choice were vanilla butter cake with coconut buttercream and passion fruit sorbet, topped with a coconut tuile and caramel walnut torte with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. My mother is a fanatic for all things coconut and passion fruit so the vanilla butter cake won her heart. The cake was densely crumbed yet moist, with a good balance of not-too-sweet coconut buttercream. The refreshingly tart passion fruit sorbet was a contrast to the sweet cake.
My Nusstorte, a Swiss-style caramel walnut tart was simply presented with two large scoops of airy cloud of fresh whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. The tart has a buttery crust with whole walnuts coated in gooey, sweet caramel. I appreciated the light hand in the sugar levels for the vanilla ice cream to balance the caramel element of the tart.
At the end of the meal, we were stuffed but thoroughly satisfied with our meal from start to finish. The entire staff was hospitable and attentive. What I mentioned earlier about Chef Ralf was pretty much the summary of what this entire dinner was like. The prices are modest and the portions are hearty.
For the rest of the photos of this meal, please view the slideshow below: