Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lunch á la David Burke

I have had the privilege of dining twice at David Burke Townhouse. I absolutely loved the food, decor, and service. The entire experience at David Burke Townhouse is fantastic. I recently decided to try lunch at David Burke Kitchen a bit further downtown. Although I was there for restaurant week, it appears that David Burke Kitchen offers a lunch prix fixe deal for $25 for 3 courses year-round, so I definitely suggest checking that out regardless of when you are hankering for some deliciously thoughtful fare.

The setting is a bit more casual than its uptown sister. Where Townhouse features comical circus-themed yet elegant decor, Kitchen is decked out with blue checkered napkins, rustic seating, bright-colored throw pillows, and tons of natural light. It shares a few favorites from its sister's menu, but marries them with a handful of refined but casual options. Here's a rundown of what we tasted during our lunch. The prices are those for lunch off the a la carte menu (although you can do what we did and spend $25 for prix fixe).

First of all, the bread basket. It's the very first impression, and David Burke never fails here. Herbed olive bread, a popover, crunchy breadsticks, and lightly pickled (in house) carrots are featured in a blue checkered napkin-lined basket. A perfectly softened slab of butter is served alongside. Just like everything else, this offering is thoughtful and well presented.

For my first course, I couldn't resist the dumpling duo. I'm a dumpling fiend. Two steamed lobster dumplings are paired with two deep-fried short rib ones. Each dumpling has a handle. The lobster dumplings utilize the lobster's legs while the short rib has a skewer. The short rib dumplings by far had the better flavor and texture. The slightly sweet sauce was a great compliment as well. The lobster dumplings had a far more muted flavor and were less exciting.

Dumpling Duo: Steamed Lobster / Crispy Shortrib $15

My friend opted for the smoked pastrami salmon, which was served with bagel fritters. It was a very generous portion! This appetizer could easily be shared. I tasted an assembled bite and thought it was delicious. The bagel fritters are adorable little bagel holes, essentially. It was a nice crossover of two very New York institutions: a bagel and lox and pastrami.

Smoked Pastrami Salmon: Bagel Fritters / Pickled Onions / Garlic Cream $14

The duck meatballs on the menu definitely intrigued me. I expected something different from what I got. Since on the menu duck meatballs were the main feature, followed but Brussels sprouts, then shells and bacon, I imagined the meatballs would be the showcased ingredient. It turned out to be a dish of shell pasta with just a touch of shaved Brussels sprouts, chunks of thick-cut bacon, and a handful of small duck meatballs on top with some marinara. Although it was different from my imagination, the dish was still very tasty. The meatballs were good, although I would not have guessed they were made of duck. Together with the pasta it was a really nice dish for a pasta-lover (which I am). It was just different from my expectation. Not disappointing though.

Duck Meatballs:  Brussels / Shells / Bacon / Parmesan $22

My friend ordered the kitchen burger, which was topped with cheese and bacon and served on an English muffin. After seeing that episode of Top Chef where CJ made a failed burger on an English muffin, I was very skeptical. My friend informed me that the burger was absolutely delicious, but that the English muffin did make it messier. I could have foreseen such a thing. The jalapeno fries were delicious, tossed with garlic and house-pickled jalapeno slices. I couldn't get enough (she shared). They were served in the most adorable little fryer basket with a tiny squeeze bottle of ketchup. Very playful. Very David Burke. I asked our waiter where I could procure such adorable little baskets. He wasn't sure, and said they may have been designed for the restaurant, but Victoria is resilient and Googled "tiny fryer baskets" later on and discovered she could buy them!! Turns out the exact same ones were in stock at a local restaurant supply store (Win Depot) where she snatched some up the following day (at a price... these babies are adorable, but don't come cheap).

Kitchen Burger: Bacon / Cheddar / Jalapeno French Fries $18

Now, Victoria will go back to speaking in first person...

For dessert, I simply couldn't resist the overwhelmingly chocolate option. As a bonafide chocoholic, it was calling to me. Dark chocolate malt cake with ganache (poured table side) and caramelized white chocolate ice cream (which we mistook for salted caramel). It had a very deep, dark chocolate flavor which just sang like the angels. The ice cream and sauces were perfect compliments. I literally could not get enough. Totally recommend this dessert for the chocolate/salted caramel lover in your world.

Dark Chocolate Malt Cake: Hot Chocolate Ganache / Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream $12

My friend ordered the pie du jour, which in our case was a lemon meringue. It featured a much more reasonable amount of meringue than typical. We both appreciated the more refined and restrained preparation of this refreshing dessert.

Lemon Meringue Pie $12

All in all, David Burke never disappoints. Even though I only really loved half of my appetizer, and my entree didn't entirely meet my expectation, I still had a really nice meal and I know my friend did too. In fact, we both plan on returning in the near future for the amazing, on-going prix fixe lunch deal! The restaurant is just steps from the subway (the E in our case) AND there is a giant fake pig outside the entrance. Now THAT is love.

David Burke Kitchen
23 Grand St
(between Thompson St & Avenue Of The Americas)
New York, NY 10013
(212) 201-9119


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