In the middle of a workday so freakishly sh!tacular that it felt like an episode out of The Twilight Zone, it was a treat to stop and sit down for a three-course lunch. A few weeks ago, my co-workers and I took time off to treat our friend (and expectant mother) to a baby shower lunch at Brasserie in Midtown Manhattan. I'd never been and was pleasantly surprised to discover this spot in our neck of the woods. Brasserie has held this location since 1959 but its current incarnation is ultra-sleek and decidedly stripped of nostalgia. The food remains classically French with clean, modern presentations.
The lunch menu offered pretty standard RW fare: salmon tartare, seared scallops, braised short ribs and flourless chocolate cake. Not that I'm complaining; I never can resist tartare and short ribs. I did feel bad about skipping the scallops because they looked pretty delicious. However, these were served as an entree and would probably not have sated my appetite. Anyway, I really shouldn't spend my money on seared scallops since I kinda know how to make this now, right? (Yeah. Sure.)
I started with the salmon tartare with taro crisps and pommery mustard vinaigrette. The salmon was very fresh but I would've liked a few more crisps and a pinch more mustard. If I'm being honest, I actually prefer the salmon tartare that you can pick up from Grand Central Market just a few blocks away. Sorry.
For my entree, I had the braised short ribs with royal trumpet mushrooms and crushed herbed Idaho potato. It was very hearty and filling, but maybe a tad too rich for my taste.
For dessert, I picked the lemon tart with creme fraiche since I don't really have much of a sweet tooth.
What I should've picked was the crème caramel with pecan brittle and bourbon sauce. That was yummy. The crème caramel was airy and light, and the sweetness not too overpowering.
Overall, I would say that the meal was just okay. Nothing stood out for me enough that I would hurry back. But Brasserie does earn a spot on my list of places to for a more special weekday lunch in the area.
Restaurant Week Rating:
Brasserie is located at 100 East 53rd Street between Park and Lexington Avenues, New York, NY. Restaurant Week menus are available everyday during lunch and dinner until February 27, 2011. Phone 212.751.4840 for reservations.