Tag Archives: Soho

Dinner at Balthazar

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I have always wanted to try Balthazar Restaurant, situated in the heart of SoHo and I finally had the chance this past week. Balthazar has a lovely airy interior, albeit a bit crowded and the feeling of bustling energy. It is quintessential New York: a chic, stylish, gorgeous, insomniac of a bouchon with substance.

Balthazar has a wonderful French menu, and I was having trouble deciding between the organic salmon or duck confit. However, when the waiter suggested duck confit (which was the less expensive of the two), I took his word for it and it turned out to be an excellent choice.

The duck confi was delectable from the very first bite… I’m talking melt in your mouth delicious! Tender and juicy, also seasoned well, the skin perfectly crispy and the accompanying Yukon Gold potatoes, cipollini onions, wild mushrooms complimented the dish well. The vegetables were simply wonderfully tasty, especially sauteed in the juices of the duck. There was also frisée salad which was a little superfluous, as it didn’t add much flavor but slightly balanced out the extremely rich, full flavor of everything else.

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For dessert, I chose the Warm Vanilla Bread Pudding, which came  with butterscotch sauce and maple walnut ice cream. The bread pudding wasn’t what I expected; it was a lighter version and the vanilla was very slight. It was a little on the bland side, and the butterscotch sauce was a tad too sweet but gave the bread pudding more flavor. The maple walnut also did not impress, as I expected more maple + walnut. However, it was at least delightfully moist and spongy.

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Even though the dessert was just mediocre, the duck confit more than made up for, as did the attentive service.

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Location: 80 Spring Street, NYC.

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Lunch at Mercer Kitchen

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I have been wanting to try Mercer Kitchen for awhile now, so decided to check it out with a good friend, for lunch at Restaurant Week. It’s a trendy restaurant smack dab in the middle of Soho at the Mercer Hotel, with the dining area downstairs, underneath the street where we could see people walking above us through the latticework on the ceiling. Exposed brick walls, long banquettes, and candlelit sconces give the place a timelessly stylish, chic and sophisticated ambiance.

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The meal itself was also wonderful. I started off with black truffle and fontina cheese pizza. Usually I like my pizza to have tons of different toppings, but this one didn’t need it. It was amazing on its own, and quite a nicely sized personal pizza — I ended up taking half of it home. If you like truffle oil or truffle in general, you need to order this pizza! It had the perfect balance of cheesy goodness and hints of black truffle in each bite. However, was a little bit on the oily side.

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For the main course, I ordered (The Mercer) Burger which consisted of pepperjack cheese (which I replaced with cheddar), crunchy red onions, Russian dressing and french fries. The burger was on the small side, but don’t be fooled… It will still fill you up and is well made. The meat was juicy and flavorful. I especially enjoyed the taste of the crispy fried onions with cheese and dressing. The lettuce and tomato were both fresh and added to the overall deliciousness. I also liked the skinny fries- They were quite crispfully tasty.

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My friend, however had chosen the Veal Milanese which was according to her, tasteless and inedible. To the waiter’s credit, he took it back without any attitude and brought out her next choice of Steam Skate with Tarragon, Sesame Seed, and Baby Bak Choy, almost right away.

Dessert was warm Valrhona chocolate cake with crisp Orange Tuile and Vanilla Bean gelato. This molten chocolate cake was heavenly- Rich and oozing with sweet chocolateness. I loved the warm chocolate filling, but to be honest didn’t really taste the orange bit. And the vanilla bean gelato was a disappointment. It was a little bland, as it lacked vanilla bean flavor.

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My friend’s banana cake with salted caramel gelato was a true delight and that gelato was superb- Very sweet, strong caramel flavor. Yum!

Overall, a lovely meal with lovely company and attentive, friendly and professional service.

 

Location: 99 Prince Street.

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