Sunday, May 29, 2016

NYC's THE BRESLIN brings brilliant British cuisine stateside (5-27-16)

We headed right from the airport to 5th Avenue and 29th St (16 W.29th) to meet a friend for dinner at THE BRESLIN as I thought it be nice to have some British-style cuisine for a change. We were running about 30 minutes late for our reservation and despite the capacity crowds, the management was most gracious in holding our table due to our flight delay.

It's a busy spot and while noisy, not unbearably so. The d├ęcor is eclectic with booths and leather and lots of cows of ceramic, papier mache or other artsy styles, even the coat hooks have longhorn cattle. The tables and floors are dark wood and the ceiling above us looked like tin, but it was not as shiny; perhaps it was ceramic? The menu is not huge, but there are many fun things to share. We had only had several rounds of drinks back in DC at the American lounge and then more on the plane, so another cocktail was in order. I loved the idea of the Pickled Ramp Gibson and asked if it could be made with Vodka. Our sweet server David said he would check and came back with a happy face and ultimately a superb Grey Goose Vodka Gibson with some superb pickled whole ramps in the glass; this beats an olive or onion any day, especially in this spring ramp season when I use them regularly to make one of the best vinaigrettes I can rustle up all year.

We chose some starters to share including a superb miniature BEEF & STILTON Pie which we managed to cut into four totally miniature bites. At $10 it's a pricy two-bite small dish, but has great flavors and is a yummy pastry pie as well. SCRUMPETS were described to us as battered breadcrumb meat sticks which are deep fried, and while they were tasty, especially with the quasi-chimichurri dipping sauce made with malt vinegar for that British touch, the half stick that Samuel got was virtually one big piece of fat with fried breadcrumbs. LAMB MARROW was a special starter and a big winner. We got about 5 or 6 pieces of bones with the albeit very salty marrow and a yummy carrot parsley sauce that cut the salt. These were accompanied by housemade whole wheat bread slices which we could slather th marrow and further cut the saltiness for a super hearty and tasty treat. Our last starter was the first one I spotted on the menu as I have an eye for Sweetbreads. Here they were FRIED SWEETBREADS with 'nduja (that yummy porky sauce), Ramp Kraut (who can resist more of that) and a Black Garlic Aoili and there were chunks of Smoked Blue Cheese for extra flavor; this was a winner for sure.

We wanted a nice rose and David brought over a Schneider & Bieler Cab Franc Rose 2015 from the Finger Lakes in Upstate NY for us to taste as it is served (oddly, on tap) by the glass. It was nice, but we wanted something different and Nick, the sommelier-manager suggested a superb Monteniddo Rose 2015 from San Gimignano in Tuscany made from the Canaivolo grape. It was just right with all the various flavors. Our red wine to follow was a huge winner with the Lopez de Heredia Tempranillo/Granacho blend 2004 from Rioja called Vina Bosconia. It was a great match with the juicy huge Chargrilled LAmBURGERS (A Signature dish) served with Feta, Cumin Mayo and awesome Thrice Cooked Chips (that's fries). It also paired beautifully with the Crescent Duck Breast which came with Duck Sausage as well, a huge potato rosti underneath the entire dish, but still crunchy and flavorful and topped with fermented ramps (YUM) as well as poached rhubarb. Th dish was a perfect medley of flavors and was only marred a little by the fact that the duck skin was quite fatty (I cut it out) instead of crispy, my preferred choice for all duck skin.

We were stuffed and headed to our hotel without dessert to find a plate of cheese, grapes and even mini-cupcakes in our suite on arrival at the Regency; what a nice treat on the start of our big NYC weekend.