Plan B restaurant is an eccentric, tongue-in-cheek kind of tapas restaurant that sticks out from other tapas restaurants. Some menu items are familiar but have a certain twist the makes it different (like their take on a Cubano sandwich) and some are offal cuts that not many restaurants would think of selling (e.g. bulls testicles, which I’ll explain that experience later). All of these foods are cooked under the helm of Roberto Hanechak.
The interior looks like an edgy skateboard park landscape of urban Bilbao and Barcelona. Graffiti art brightens one wall, banquettes are covered in horsehide, jars of octopus specimens offer a Dada touch. Chicken-wire wine cabinets house bottles of txakolina wine , port and sherry. Clover Club alum Ivy Mix consults on the cocktail program.
Vilarnau Cava Rose, Skuntx cocktail and a tasting of the Basque cider & Amuse of Chicharrón Tuiles
My dining companion and I started with glasses of a pleasant, red berry forward Vilarnau Cava Rose and Skuntx cocktail that has refreshing complexity starting from the main thread of orange and bourbon that’s lightened by the uniquely tart Basque cider. The Chicharrón Tuiles were a very good, balanced starter. Crispy, nicely rendered and fried pork belly wrapped in a slightly crisp sweet-savory cookie with a delicate garlic aioli.
Pencil asparagus, balsamic, red chili oil, grated Manchengo cheese
The next dish of pencil asparagus, balsamic, red chili oil, grated Manchengo cheese was generally fine, as the asparagus was cooked perfectly but the red chili oil was overwhelmingly spicy that we can’t taste the balsamic and barely the Manchengo cheese.
Paella Shooter and Grilled Octopus
The Paella Shooter was not recommended to be eaten like a shooter (though one could). The seafood broth was robustly flavored, had great warmth of spices and the components were generally cooked perfectly. The sole issue was the mushy rice that sat on the bottom of the glass. The grilled octopus with Iberian pesto was tasty and herbaceous from the pesto but a few small flaws of having too oily and the octopus didn’t taste like it’s grilled (tastes like olive poached).
Picapoll & Mencia wines; Rabbit Meatballs and Bulls’ Testicles
The next wine pairing of 2011 Masies d’Avinyo Abadal Picapoll is a fresh, fruity, elegant white wine that has hints of citrus and vanilla with a medium body, and 2010 Pazos del Rey Sila Mencia Monterrei that has lush aromas of dark, red berries and licorice. Finishes with gentle tannic grip and very good spicy persistence.
The rabbit meatballs were easy to like. It’s incredibly soft texture and the flavors were balanced with the rich demi glace and the rabbit. The bulls testicles with sautéed watercress and pickled red onions were definitely an adventure. The primary issue with the testicles if it were to slice it much thinner than it’s served. Granted, I could slice it but it’s quite tough to do so. For the curious, bulls’ testicles tastes like an intense cooked kidney and it felt like chewing on a tough rubber eraser. The accouterments were well executed and a nice break from the intense testicle experience.
Ginebra e Meloi cocktail and Python sausage
We had a Ginebra e Meloi cocktail made of Ford’s gin, Gitano Manzillilla sherry, cantaloupe, and lemon. It’s a refreshing, gin forward cocktail that does have the cantaloupe to round out the floral qualities of the gin. The python sausage plated with a very astringent yellow mustard and sweet red onions was quite tasty. The python sort of tasted like a scallop and chicken with a hint of gaminess and there was some fatty pork meat to give the sausage some necessary fat and round out the flavors of the sausage.
Late Harvest Txakolina, White Port, Hibiscus & Cynar Ice Cream Sandwiches
The next wine pairing of Arima Gorka Izagirre, Late Harvest Txakolina, a sweet, Muscato-like wine that has a pleasant crispness, and Churchilla White Port that is sherry-like, nutty, complex, carrying caramel overtones and is pleasantly dry.
We finished the meal with hibiscus and cynar ice cream sandwiches, which technically, we’re looking forward to the entire evening. While the chocolate cookie was moist and had a nice crisp crust, the ice cream lacked the sharp, bitter artichoke digestif flavor that we’re expecting and the hibiscus flavor was barely noticeable. Surprisingly, we enjoyed the edible garnish of a candied hibiscus flower more. It’s not too sweet, complex flavors of red berries and tartness and it had a subtle crunchiness.
Overall, this was a good experience despite of a few missteps that can easily be amended. I tried a few Spanish wines I’ve never tried before and liked (namely the Picapoll). The food menu is generally daring and some dishes does taste good when ordering carefully.
To view more photos of this dinner, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set:
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244 Mulberry Street (between Prince & Spring Street)
New York, New York 10012
Telephone: (212) 775-0111