Travel Eats: NYC Restaurant Week recap

Travel Eats documents my food adventures outside of Chicago.

I dined on four Restaurant Week menus in as many days during a recent trip to New York. From the Financial District up to Harlem, and from Bowery over to Meatpacking, each three-course meal was distinctly delicious – here’s a round-up.

Dinner at Delmonico’s

Classic baked Alaska with walnut cake, apricot jam, banana gelato, meringue, and crème anglaise
Classic baked Alaska with walnut cake, apricot jam, banana gelato, meringue, and crème anglaise

Best Bite and other notes: Counting its earlier iterations, Delmonico’s is hailed as the oldest fine dining restaurant in the U.S., and this meal certainly had the most old-school feel, complete with mahogany-paneled walls and monogrammed china. Delmonico’s also lays claim to conceiving the classic baked Alaska dessert, which came in the form of a spiky, marshmallowy mound that encased banana gelato and almond cake. The equally delicious entree, a petit filet mignon with red wine sauce, creamy potatoes, and charred cauliflower, had the simplicity and execution you’d expect from such a storied steakhouse. See full menu.

Petit filet mignon with Delmonico potato, charred cauliflower, and cabernet wine sauce
Petit filet mignon with Delmonico potato, charred cauliflower, and cabernet wine sauce
Delmonico's classic interior
Delmonico’s classic interior, including the mural that was inspired by a 1940’s photo

The details: Delmonico’s Restaurant, 56 Beaver St., New York.

Dinner at DBGB Kitchen & Bar

Chef's selection of East Coast oysters
Chef’s selection of East Coast oysters

Best Bite and other notes: I’d never been to one of Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurants, and was impressed not only by the food, but also the decor – especially the mirrored walls emblazoned with culinary quotations. For dinner, I happily slurped down four briny East Coast oysters with a garlicky champagne mignonette and devoured the plump duck and pork belly sausage with grainy mustard. My favorite course, though, was the playful dessert. The bourbon chocolate sundae was vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup and bourbon, and then scattered with cubes of all textures – dense chocolate brownie, bourbon gelee, crispy chocolate-chip cookie – all underneath one big whipped cream cloud. It was my favorite ice cream dessert since the Choco Taco at Little Goat here in Chicago. See full menu.

Bourbon chocolate sundae
Bourbon chocolate sundae
Duck and pork belly sausage with housemade sauerkraut, glazed turnips, and fingerling potatoes
Duck and pork belly sausage with housemade sauerkraut, glazed turnips, and fingerling potatoes

The details: DBGB Kitchen & Bar, 299 Bowery, New York.

Lunch at Red Rooster

Mac & greens with smoked gouda, NY cheddar, and caramelized onions
Mac & greens with smoked gouda, NY cheddar, and caramelized onions

Best Bite and other notes: Red Rooster seemed to truly capture the spirit of Harlem, with vibrant colors and all kinds of cultural relics. I was also thrilled that Chef Marcus Samuelsson himself was at the restaurant that day, and stopped by our table to say hello! I really enjoyed all three courses: the coconut-cauliflower soup fragrant with lemongrass, the oh-so-cheesy mac ‘n’ collard greens, and the cinnamon-sugared doughnut holes with light sweet potato filling. See full menu.

Red Rooster doughnuts with sweet potato filling and cinnamon sugar
Red Rooster doughnuts with sweet potato filling and cinnamon sugar
Interior of Red Rooster
Colorful interior of Red Rooster

The details: Red Rooster, 310 Lenox Ave., Harlem.

Dinner at Spice Market

Mapo tofu with black bean sauce, Chinese long beans, and thai basil
Mapo tofu with black bean sauce, Chinese long beans, and thai basil

Best Bite and other notes: Spice Market is the Southeast Asian-influenced restaurant in Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s dining empire, so it seemed like a fun, shareable pick for Restaurant Week. Ornate and dimly lit (please excuse the lighting in the photos!), the palatial space fit right into the buzzy Meatpacking District. Food-wise, the mapo tofu was the winner, with chunks of tofu, chewy rice-cake slices, and Chinese long beans lacquered in black bean sauce. There was also irresistible crunch in the grain salad – we later learned it was millet and amaranth – amidst lots of veggies and a tangy tamarind vinaigrette. See full menu.

Crispy grain salad with tamarind vinaigrette
Crispy grain salad with tamarind vinaigrette

The details: Spice Market, 403 W. 13th St., New York.

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