Manhattan is one of the most renowned food meccas of the world, and rightly so. Still, the Californian in me believes that San Francisco has some of the best, most approachable, diverse, and least pretentious food in the world, and even Tom Douglas, a Seattle based restauranteur from the East Coast agrees!
Which leads me to my next question - is food in Manhattan really all it’s cracked up to be? In my seven months here, I’ve sampled a few things that have been buzzed about and while they were good, I just can’t justify the price for some or the hype for others.
1. DB Bistro Moderne - The Original DB Burger ($32)
This is a sirloin burger filled with braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffle, and served on a parmesan bun. Foie gras has recently been banned in California so I was really excited to have encountered it here in New York (one strike against California), but $32 for a burger? In all honestly, the short ribs, foie gras, and black truffle didn’t really add to it. These are all great items by themselves, and the need to combine all three into a burger is a little excessive. This really made me appreciate an honest and traditional burger, where the only addition you really need is a nice pickle.
2. Gotham Bar & Grill - Gotham Chocolate Cake ($13)
This isn’t an expensive dessert, but for how much hype it gets, I just don’t see what it’s all about. It’s your standard chocolate cake, people. Even as a chocolate person, this is too rich and one note.
3. Scalinatella - Truffle Papardelle Pasta ($180?)
I went here with a client for work so I didn’t pay or even see the bill and this is the kind of place that certainly doesn’t put prices on the menu. Scouring the internet, I can deduct that this dish might cost around $180. Eating here is a real dining experience - sure, it looks a little outdated on the outside and you walk down to this dark basement restaurant with semi cheesy Italian decor. But there is fresh fruit and veggies on display everywhere and there are at least 5 waiters to every customer, which at first seems a little excessive but once you start eating you see why. The waiters put all the finishing touches on your dishes right in front of you, put all the shared food on your individual plates, and even bring you little appetizers you didn’t order. The truffle pasta was good, but definitely more of a production - the waiter brings out a bowl of a bunch of black truffles sitting in raw rice grains and shaves it over your papardelle, which has already been cooked with truffle oil and cream. Delicious, yes, and there aren’t many places you can get shaved truffles on something, but for $180? Ouch. Thank God that wasn’t on my wallet.
I’ll be moving to Brooklyn next month, and while I’ve dabbled a little, I’m looking forward to eating in a borough that in general has less hype surrounding it, by chefs who are just making their way in the culinary world, and for half (or more) the price.
@jp3g makes delicious lasagne for the sick girl!