Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This year, Brownie and I weren't going to miss out on Restaurant Week. We didn't care about getting yelled at for taking photos. We would be more critical of our service and food. And above all, we would make it count! Our first pick was lunch at db Bistro Moderne.
Upon entering, we were prepared for an upscale modern dining room with a hostess stand miles away from the front door. What we weren't prepared for was the pushy water service. We weren't seated for long before the bus boy came over and asked: "Water? Sparkling, still...mumble, mumble...iced?" "um, regular still?" The waiter then returns with a liter of Fiji water. "Uh, no, I think there's misunderstanding. We just want tap, please." Seriously, give us a break. And Fiji water? No thanks. Apparently you need to ask for "iced water" or "regular tap" water to avoid the $8.50 liter of bottled water.
The appetizers available are Pot au Feu (beef broth, root vegetables, and horseradish,) Beet Salad (watercress, baguette croutons walnuts and shallo vinaigrette,) and Olivier's Alsatian Tarte Flambee (fromage blanc, bacon, and onions.) Hmm, soup, salad, or cheese and bacon? No-brainer, cheese and bacon for both of us. I found this to be a creamy and fresh with little hints of the bacon, but it was all a little too salty for me.
The main entrees offered are Winter Squash Risotto (butternut squash, arugula, and toasted pumpkin seed,) Matelotte de Poisson (salmon, shrimp, scallops, monkfish, and Riesling veloute,) and Poulet Grand-Mere (roasted potatoes, onions, bacon, and baby spinach). I chose the risotto while Brownie went with the poisson.
I loved my dish, the risotto was perfectly cooked and not too sweet from the squash. The roasted seeds added a nice crunch, and helped change up the texture a bit while eating. It also tasted very green as in fresh and something I would expect to eat during spring, not winter.
Brownie wasn't as pleased with her meal. Overall the dish sounded fantastic in concept. And Brownie was especially excited for the spaetzle--it isn't something you often find on the menu. Unfortunately the salmon was very fishy and not particularly good. She expected more from one of Daniel Boulud's restaurants.
Both of the entrees were extremely creamy and heavy. It's great if you want something filling and can take a nap later, but if you have to head back to work, be prepared to be a bit sluggish (I can only imagine what happens after the foie gras burger.)
The two desserts are Coconut Panna Cotta with Carmelized Pineapple and a light citrus sorbet, and Chocolate Trio (tart, semifredo, and sorbet.)
Brownie's got the Panna Cotta, while I dug into the chocolate. Hers was tropical, but not really memorable. She was also feeling the effects of the heavy meal.
On the other hand, mine was chocolate-y and delicious; it's made with quality chocolate so it's not too sweet. On top of the semifedo is some chocolate nibs so you get an unexpected crunch when eating some of the semifredo with the sorbet. My only problem was the chocolate wafer was a little burnt so I couldn't eat it too.
All in all, I'm not sure if db Bistro Moderne's menu is usually this heavy or if that's just the RW selection, but I would return for a regular meal there (let's be serious, I want to have the foie gras burger at some point.) Besides the water snafu, the service was never pushy, snobby, or overly attentive; everyone was kind of neutral, making sure they made it through a busy lunch service in one piece. I thought the interior is nice, though I didn't like the napkins (too stiff). Not bad for a RW experience.
DB Bistro Moderne
55 W. 44th Street
New York, NY 10036