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glenn

DB Bistro Moderne

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db is now serving a choucroute on Mondays says nymetro.com's Restaurant Insider, which for some reason I can't figure out how to link.

I had heard they were serving choucroute a month ago and asked when I went. They said they weren't. I'd really like to try it.

Here's the link. (Scroll down.)

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Sounds pretty good, too:

Olivier Muller flavors his sauerkraut with Riesling and juniper, and uses acorn-fed suckling pigs from a Pennsylvania farm for his smoked and poached pork shoulder, mustard-crusted pork chop and leg, and crisp pork-belly confit, to which he adds smoked bacon, sausages, and a sumptuous pork liver–and–foie gras quenelle

--

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db bistro moderne (55 W. 44th St., bet. 5th & 6th) is the least formal of Daniel Boulud's New York properties. The menu is organized by ingredients, instead of the usual appetizer/entrée split. The categories are in French (hommard, thon, artichaut, etc.), but the descriptions of the items in each category are in English. You have to notice an "AP" or "MC" next to the price to identify whether the item is an appetizer or a main course. You can also look at the price itself: db's entrées are remarkably consistent, at about $28-34 apiece regardless of the item.

I just had to try the "Original db Burger," to find out what a $29 hamburger tastes like. The menu says it's a "Sirloin Burger filled with Braised Short Ribs, Foie Gras and Black Tuffles." I was not able to identify all of those ingredients from the taste. It's thick (to accommodate all of the goodies stuffed inside), but not very large. Getting your mouth around it is a challenge, somewhat like a three-decker sandwhich at a Jewish deli.

Was it a very fine hamburger? Yes. Do I recommend spending $29 on it? No. Rounding out the meal was a smoked salmon appetizer ($14) that was perfectly competent, but not a patch on what I had at Ouest a couple of weeks ago.

The burger and the salmon are both in a section of the menu labeled "Specialitieés De La Maison." Gimmicks of the house seemed more like it. I saw a lot coming out of the db kitchen that appealed to me. Neither of these really did the trick. If I go again, I'll try something else. At $72 per person (including drinks, tax, and tip), I think there are better bargains for your money.

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Had a very tasty dinner at db this past Friday night; my folks were in town, and were in the mood for bistro food. I can't believe it took me this long to try it, but I definitely enjoyed the ambiance, service, and most certainly the food.

The three of us shared the roasted beet salad and the quail stuffed with foie gras for appetizers--and two dishes were plenty of food. The chunks of beets tasted like pure sugar; they were just stunning. The goat cheese in the salad was terrific as well. The quail was delicious, albeit a tad salty for my taste. But hey--it's quail and foie gras--how can you go wrong?!? :biggrin:

Our entrees were the crispy duck confit, leg of lamb over spring beans and the halibut special, which was over a similar bed of beans, which included some seriously large and gorgeous favas. The beans alone were just fantastic, but my lamb was tender and perfectly cooked. My stepmother did everything but lick her plate after eating the halibut, and my dad cleared the duck, so we were all happy. We drank a bottle of pinot noir (name escapes me), but we agreed that it was a perfect pairing for all of our dishes.

Dessert for dad was coffee ice cream (normally part of a trio, but he only wanted one flavor), mom drank some port, and I ordered the lemon panna cotta with lemon verbena ice cream. The panna cotta and the ice cream were fantastic--light, tons of true lemon and vanilla flavors and flecks of vanilla bean. The tuilles and assorted cookies that accompanied our desserts were a butter-lover's dream, but still a nice light way to finish the meal.

Service was both friendly and flawless save for the fact that with every pour of the wine, the sommelier wiped drips off of the bottle. It's so easy to pour without dripping that it surprised me to see him doing this over and over again.

Definitely worth a visit, but I do recommend going after 8pm like we did so you can avoid the pre-theater rush.


"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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the wine was a Knights Valley St. Lucia Highlands. I was surprised at it's

drinkability since it was 15.2 alcohol.

I'll not add much to this report, as I do believe Curlz captured the place.

I WILL return and next time maybe sit in the "up back" room, maybe

just a little more intimate.

DAD

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I had a very nice lunch at db Bistro last week. The duck pate with housemade pickles was wonderful (how do they find chanterelles that small??) then skate in brown butter with artichokes and potatoes with arugula foam. Everything was excellent although my waiter (I was in the bar) had to be asked to bring me more water and I noticed that I didn't get an amuse and the people at the table across from me did. Oh well.

I saw many of the burgers and they look delish, I'll take my husband next time and have one.

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I went to DB Bistro yesterday and had a really enjoyable lunch.. It was very crowded, so we were happily seated by ourselves in the bar area.. Here we sat at a beautiful marble table that seated six.. Although we sat on stools, we were comfortable..

I started with the Rabbit and Fois Gras en croute:

It was a good dish.. My picture is a little yellow, but it was really pretty.. There were expertly halved baby vegetables... Some sort of aspic, which was flavorless and an interesting dressing.. The dish was no homerun,just done well..

gallery_15057_2395_107677.jpg

Next I ordered the burger.. It must have been the wine, or the beer, or just a moment of weakness.. But I went for the burger with the shaved truffles.. Actually it was neither, I think it needed to be done.. I needed to try it for myself and its crossed off my things to do list.. Hopefully my write up will stop others from having to try it though..

Here is the burger fries and salad.. The fries were interesting. Almost like a twice fried Antoine's of New Orleans potato. There were fried twice and made to puff.. However, they continued to fry the potato so nothing was left besides the puff out outerskin. Surprisingly, the ketchup, mustard, and mayo for the fries/burger came out half way through the meal.. The salad was micro greens in a truffle vinagraette..

gallery_15057_2395_46221.jpg

Here is the burger.. The meat is ground prime rib and braised short ribs.. There are truffles, foie gras.. The lettuce is frisee. There isnt ketchup on the burger but a tomato compote and sliced tomatoes are used.. There is a shot of mayo and shaved truffles on top.. The bun was fresh baked with parm baked into the top..

gallery_15057_2395_121599.jpg

The burger is awesome.. I wont deny it. Is it my favorite burger ever? No, but it has its place.. The meat was prepared beautifully.. Perfectly made to order.. The combination of the foie and the truffles and the two meats all worked, creating this rich heavenly meat loaf.. If this place was less expensive I would throw this into my rotation of places.. But, it certainly is not.. Its really expensive, its really extravagent..

Some cons would be the burger had a lot of trouble staying together.. The burger itself is really tall.. It was hard biting the entire burger.. And of course the price was outrageous..

My girl got a chesnut/celeric soup.. It was pretty good.. I really enjoyed the combination between the two. Something I wouldnt have thought of..

She also ate the veal cheeks with crispy sweetbreads.. Have some of that in the fridge.. I might eat that for breakfast and tell you how it was.. Didnt taste it yesterday.. But she really seemed to enjoy it..

gallery_15057_2395_11978.jpg

I wasnt overly impressed with the restaurant.. I thought the main room looked uncomfortable and tacky.. Everyone was thrown on top of each other, the tables were spaced weird.. I didnt have a chance to look in the back dining room.. But this is a place to go for a really nice lunch..


Edited by Daniel (log)

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1. In addition to those "soufleed" potatos, they also have regular french fries, which I personally much prefer.

2. Actually, the back room is the main dining room. It's more formal than the front room. I personally prefer the front room, awkward as it is. It's more vibrant than the stuffier main room.

3. If you have the burger without the truffles, it seems less an impossible once-in-a-lifetime indulgence, and more something you can have whenever you're in the mood. Although I always think it's a pity that a lot of people miss out on the very good "real" food on the menu here cuz they have to get the burger. You should go back sometime. Or snag those sweetbreads from the fridge.

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My friend and I had dinner at db bistro moderne a couple of Saturdays ago. The restaurant caters heavily to a pre-theatre crowd — and I must say that it's a far higher-class dining experience than most Theater District restaurants can offer. We arrived at 7:30 to a busy, bustling room. By 7:45, it was practically deserted. A few more diners came in later, but clearly their busiest hours were behind them.

No one seems to have told the serving staff that a couple who arrive at 7:30 probably aren't going to the theater. The appetizers couldn't have taken more than five minutes, and the entrees came out pretty fast too. In all, we didn't spend more than about an hour at db, and that included the time we spent lingering over our bottle of wine at the end. Although the staff didn't suggest that they were eager for us to leave, it seems the kitchen is geared up for turning out food in a hurry, and they don't change their rhythm after the theater crowd has departed.

The food, however, was wonderful. I had a great tuna tartare followed by duck confit. My friend had duck pâté followed by coq au vin. All four dishes were prepared in classic style and were flawless. If there was nothing particularly imaginative, there is much to be said for executing old favorites to near perfection. The wine list mentioned that the sommelier was highlighting syrah and granache this month, so we tried one of the recommendations in that category, and were pleased we did.

The bread service was underwhelming, and not up to the level of the rest of the food.

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A couple of months ago, I decided I had to have coq au vin for dinner. I walked into db Bistro (after 8), sat down at the bar, and there it was. (They brought me a boef en gelee as an amuse -- who knew life could be that good?) As oakapple said, it was flawless. It's just so good to get your itches scratched instantaneously.


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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Would people be kind enough to weigh-in on DB Bistro Moderne, please?

I need a place in the Theater District (right around the corner, actually), and am kind of suspicious that there's no chatter about this place on eGullet. Is it terrible?

Thanks.

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No one's posted on that thread in a while . . . I've had some very solid meals there, and a friend whose opinion I trust told me just last weekend that the food there has been excellent lately. I would definitely go . . . .

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We ate lunch there about 2 years ago in order to try the "hamburger." We were terribly disappointed by everything we had to eat. In fact, I think the hamburger made me ill. Clearly, a return visit was not in the cards. In fact, I have some difficulty finding myself paying top dollar for restaurants opened by star chefs...who seem to be paying little attention to their places...especially when they have opened places all over the world...so I think there are lots of other choices that I would make... :sad::sad:

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Your report and take on it is consistent with my experience. Last time I was there the food was acceptable but not much more and the FOH service was shockingly disappointing. We had to remind them twice of a bottle of wine we had ordered, and other things. Boulud clearly doesn't spend much time on this one.

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We ate here last night with just okay results. We were in great moods as we were headed to the first NY preview performance of "Young Frankenstein" which is why we chose this place for its proximity, but our good moods undoubtedly contributed to the favorable slant we felt towards the restaurant, which is very pretty, and whose people are very nice.

The lighting was really too low for acceptable photos, but as there aren't that many on this thread, I thought I'd include them anyway for reference.

We started with a Tarte Flambee that was quite good, and a very accurate-tasting rendition of the genuine article:

gallery_11181_5264_62283.jpg

Then we had the Foie Gras Torchon:

gallery_11181_5264_8574.jpg

and the "Fricassee of Frog Legs and Chicken Oysters":

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The Foie Gras was pleasant; not the worst we've ever had (that distinction may have gone to Landmarc a few weeks ago), and not the best either, but very enjoyable. The fricassee was pleasant, though too mildly flavored, and not nearly as good as other fricasses of frog+ that I have had. It certainly needed more aggressive flavors or seasonings.

Then we ordered the "Canard aux Figues" - Roasted Breast and Braised Leg of Duck. We made a big point of ordering the breasts rare, and they arrived overcooked. The server later apologized and said that he had completely forgotten to specify rare when he ordered it. The braised thigh was just a very, well, unfortunate thing to have been served. We kept the one order that had a little bit of pink in it, though it was cooked past the point that a duck breast is enjoyable.:

gallery_11181_5264_33461.jpg

and exchanged the other one for the Duck Confit, which was good:

gallery_11181_5264_24403.jpg

Dessert was an Apple Napolean which was enjoyable:

gallery_11181_5264_89317.jpg

The service was a little strange. We were there with a full two hours (plus) to spare before showtime, so there really wasn't any need to yank our Tarte Flambee plates out from under us when the Foie Gras and Fricassee arrived a moment later. And though the table next to us ordered wine at the same time as we did from the same server, they got theirs and we practically had to beg for our wine to have with the first course.

All in all we left in good moods, but if I wasn't seeing a show within a very few blocks of the place, I would not return for the food alone.


Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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We had a pre-threater dinner here last night. It was very satisfying. In addition, there was a Sunday $48.00 three course prix fixe, which I had. It consited of a nicoise salad with very fresh greens, tuna confit and a quail egg. Main was roast suckling pig. It was served three ways, loin with crackling, tenderloin and pied du cochon in a crispy square, all on some lovely vegetables. Very delicious and a good sized portion. Desert was a blueberry tartlet with caramel, popcorn ice cream.

My partner had the radicchio salad, 'lamb couscous', which was really lamb done three ways (chops, ribs, something else) on a bed of cous cous. Really excellent quality meat and wonderful flavors. His desert was outstanding. A chocolate hazelnut dacquoise with fresh raspberries and raspberry sorbet.

The service was very professional, read Stepford waitress, and the place was almost emply and remained so at 7:30 when we left.

We will go back, especially on Sunday. If one does not mind dropping some money, it's a perfect pre theater meal.

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Just finished having dinner here. Third visit, but first dinner. I love this place. I have always had excellent and consistent service and delicious food. A great value for such great quality. Especially tonight as the $45 prix fixe included an amzing pork chocroute platter that was HUGE!! and had a wonderful variety of various pork products. If you haven't been here, its time to go.

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