Wednesday, July 29, 2009

restaurant week diary: david burke townhouse

It's getting to the point where I've had so many Restaurant Week meals lately that I feel I'm waddling instead of walking these days. Good lord. I am eating nothing but salads next week.

So yesterday, I had lunch with my friends Ludette and Vanessa at David Burke Townhouse. It was my first time there but both of them had tried it before. I got excited when they started us off with such adorable bread. I try not to load up on bread when dining out but this was too cute to pass up so I ate more than I wanted to. By the time my appetizer came I was feeling full. I was disappointed that the most appealing dishes on the restaurant week menu required a $6 supplement, but I went for it anyway since I wanted to try the dishes that the restaurant is known for. I picked the parfait of big eye tuna and salmon tartare. I loved the presentation (sorry, again my iPhone pic does not do it justice. Must buy a proper camera already!). The dish came with 3 different sauces, but I felt the tartare shone most eaten without the sauce. The salmon and tuna were very fresh, and intermingled with apples, pine nuts, hijiki and crème fraîche, there was no need for further embellishment. I preferred to eat the tartare with the crunchy potato tuile on the side rather than the crostinis—so much more indulgent!

For entrees, Ludette and Vanessa picked the braised shortribs, which also entailed a $6 supplement. When I tried it, the shortribs seemed tender and flavorful, but both of them felt it wasn't all that. Ludette is a shortrib enthusiast and Vanessa is a Parisian foodie, so I'll take their word for it. Vanessa did say that the other components to the dish were very good: the handmade cavatelli, wild mushrooms and mushroom chips. I'm sure they were quite happy with the truffle cream topping, as well!

I was so overwhelmed with all the rich food I'd had over the last week that I chose a simple entree: sauteed calamari and garganelli pasta with arugula, tomatoes, olives, and crisp chorizo. It was fresh and light, but with a little bit of heat. Nothing to write home about, but exactly what I needed that afternoon.

For dessert, I had to try the famous David Burke lollipop tree, which you can get during restaurant week with an $8 supplement or in lieu of two desserts. Ludette and I shared this the cheesecake lollipop tower. I forgot though that I'm not the biggest fan of cheesecake. The only cheesecake I can eat tons of is our friend Caroline's blueberry cheesecake. I forced myself to have 2 cheesecake lollipops, which were good in all fairness, but just not my cup of tea. I did like the bubblegum flavored whipped cream though!

Some complaints: the runner spilled water on the floor when he poured water into our glasses and never wiped it up. We were debating whether one of us should purposely fall and sue David Burke for millions, but we didn't do it of course. Also, the restrooms don't smell very fresh, which shocked me for an establishment like this. Would I come back? Maybe. But I wouldn't rush back anytime soon with so many more amazing places to explore in the city.

David Burke Townhouse is located at 133 East 61st Street between Park and Lexington Avenues, New York, NY 10021. Tel. 212-813-2121

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