I had dinner at DBGB Kitchen + Bar, Daniel Boulud‘s downtown brasserie/bar, three nights before The New York Times awarded it two stars in its restaurant review, and though I rarely read reviews anymore, I’ve got to say I agree. It’s a fine place to go eat, but not necessarily one that warrants a special trip. If you’re in the neighborhood, though, at least check out the menu and see if anything catches your eye.
Speaking of the neighborhood…
The Lower East Side used to be gritty and grungy, the type of place I’d be scared to take my parents — more for fear of my father embarrassing me as he pointed out Hells Angels and littered, graffiti-ed streets than of anything else. Don’t worry, though, if you’re seeking some grit; in spite of the area’s gentrification, the Hells Angels are still there. Even with their tattooed presence, I feel a bit more comfortable directing my dad to Delancey… even if he still might embarrass me. Chances of that happening, though, are slim at DBGB, where aging parent-types like my dad can comfortably sit in the dining room and non-reservations-holding patrons can order the full menu at the bar.
My offal-loving father would have enjoyed the veal tongue appetizer ($9.00). Dressed in a sauce gribiche and tossed with fingerling potatoes, it was much lighter than I expected it to be. Traditionally sauce gribiche is dribbled over a boiled veal’s head, but since I’ve yet to order (let alone encounter) that on a menu, all I can tell you is that in my uninformed opinion, the animal’s tongue makes a delicious substitute. It still frames the egg-based, caper-y, cornichon-infused gribiche beautifully.
Though I ordered the sautéed skate ($19.00) for my main course, I tried a bite of the DBGB dog ($9.00) and the Beaujoliase sausage ($13.00) — DBGB has a startlingly wide selection of sausages, which can be ordered as appetizers, sides or even an entrée. Ask for the “sausage duo” and you’ll receive your choice of any two sausages and its accompanying sides for $21.00. With the authentic-tasting dog, you’ll get a wiener in a bun, along with sautéed onion, relish and crispy fries; the sweet pork-based Beaujoliase arrives atop a mound of lentils du Puy.
I’m a bit sorry to say that skate was, to my taste, underseasoned; I hate having to salt and pepper my food when I’m dining out, but once I did I was much happier. (My picky parent, on the other hand, would have been disappointed, self-seasoning or no.) The cauliflower risotto the fish rested upon, however, needed no tampering. Studded with toasted pinenuts and decorated with threads of saffron, it was the best thing on my plate.
I was too full after dinner to even considering splitting a dessert — though I was really intrigued by the cassis beer-yogurt at $3.00 for a scoop and $9.00 for a two-scoop sundae with Belgian spice cookies, a blackcurrant compote and a lemon crème anglaise. If I do find myself in the area, and if Prune has no availability, I’d pop in for a taste of ice cream. Otherwise I doubt I’d go out of my way.
DBGB Kitchen + Bar
New York, New York 10003