It’s Restaurant Week Winter 2009! A time for all of NYC’s top executive assistants and other underpaid mongrels to make their boyfriends take them to uber-expensive celebrity-chef-staffed venues to live out their wildest foodie fantasies at a fraction of the normal cost! A time for those boyfriends to say things like, “It’s not like I couldn’t afford to go there any day I wanted to,” and to get slapped in the face! A time to consume all the carbs I’ve been depriving myself of since Restaurant Week Fall 2008!
Said boyfriend took me to Quality Meats in the fall for Restaurant Week after I saw an article about the place somewhere deep in the interwebs and thought it sounded dreamy: dark woods, exposed dim lightbulbs, and MEATS. It wasn’t the most well-known or critically-acclaimed of our Restaurant Week ventures, but it was certainly the best.
The funny thing is that afterward, we had to think pretty hard to remember much about our actual meal; all we cared about was getting our hands on more of the bread they serve while you wait. It came in a deep white dish, soaked in butter and sprinkled in salt and an undisclosed spice that Kamran the Boyfriend thinks may be rosemary. And thinking about it had me so excited this morning that I didn’t eat any of the leftover cornbread in my office’s refrigerator for fear of sullying my palate with lesser breads.
Well, the dish it was served in had changed when we went back today, but the bread was still the same. We made up our minds to ask for seconds no matter how full we got, and boy, did we. We tried it first without any butter to savor it in its purest form, but when we both put some spread on our slabs, we looked at each other at the same time with the twinkle of oh-crap-butter-is-awesome in our eyes.
Oh, yeah, and we had some real food, too. The choices were:
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Gingerbread Croutons
Seared Diver Scallops with Candied Walnuts and Grapes
Traditional Steak Tartare
Hanger Steak with Cherry Sauce
Open-Faced Shrimp Salad Sandwich
Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Apricots
Some Sort of Salad Something-or-Other with Seared Tuna
A dressed up scoop of:
Chocolate Rum Raisin
Double Fudge Mint
I would never have admitted it to Kamran at the time, but compared to the fall menu, I was a little disappointed. Where was my charcuterie plate with the fruit spreads and the array of cheeses? Where was my giant pork chop? And a scoop of some ice cream out of a cardboard box? Not interested.
I really only wanted the soup for the gingerbread croutons, so I went way out on a limb and ordered the scallops, even though I don’t do seafood. And they turned out to be great! Mostly because they were swimming in butter. But also because they weren’t the gelatinous globs I expected but were thinly sliced and browned on the edges. The walnuts were perfect and perished any lingering scared-of-fish thoughts I might have had.
Kamran, of course, ordered the tartare, which arrived plain in a bowl with an egg on top but had a sidebar of sea salt, mustard, onions, Worcestershire, and Tabasco. Here’s a pretty disgusting video of him mixing it all together with complete disregard for his taste buds:
It’s so gross and squishy that my camera couldn’t even bear to focus on it properly.
We both ordered the steak, ’cause it’s a steak restaurant. The waiter warned me that a hanger steak cooked through would be tough, but I told him, “I like it tough,” and you know I do. But no! Apparently the chef was not having it, because my steak came out totally pink. And strangely in two pieces, while Kamran’s was just one.
It was awesome, of course, charred on the edges and dripping with cherry. As was our Corn Crème Brûlée. (Awesome, I mean. Not dripping with cherry.)
That’s right–Corn Crème Brûlée. My two reasons for living, baked into the same dish.
The dessert course didn’t disappoint, and we should have known it wouldn’t. We evidently underestimated the phrase “dressed up” on the menu, because for Kamran’s scoop of pear sorbet, it meant pomegranate seeds on top and stewed cherries and pears on the bottom,
and for me, it meant a chocolate chocolate chip cookie on top and a brownie bowl on the bottom. Plus, this wasn’t one of those spoon-shaped two-bite scoops you’re seeing all over town: this was a bowl full.
It was such a great second experience, and such a super way to start off Restaurant Week. Just look how happy we are!