By grace.g.yang ยท June 25, 2007
Under: Dinner,Grace's Picks,Recipes,Soho

After AVENUE Q, the three of us headed to Balthazar for dinner (we’ve only been to the restaurant for brunch and wanted to check out the options for dinner). The restaurant was packed, but luckily, Chris made a reservation before going to the show so we were seated right away. Since we saw a matinee, my mom and I didn’t really have time to eat lunch and apparently, neither did Chris. By the time we got to the restaurant, we were all starving. We started off with king crab legs:

Balthazar is my favorite Keith McNally restaurant so far (beating out Pastis and Schillor’s Liquor Bar) but Chris and I still have a couple to check out before making a final decision. The king crab legs were chilled over ice and seaweed and served with a side sauce and lemon. I loved the lemon juice with the crab legs and it was a great way to start the meal. We also ordered Brandade De Morue, which is a combination of salted cod and mashed potatoes with lots of cream and roasted garlic, served on toasted bread:

An interesting combination, right? It was really tasty (especially with the toasted bread…carbs on carbs!). It’s a great hors d’oeuvre and I’m going to make it the next time I host a party (….most likely in North Carolina). For our main courses, my mom ordered the grilled brook trout with spinach, lentils, and asparagus:

My mom really enjoyed the fish and it tasted very fresh. The asparagus was also really tasty, and the only complaint was that there might’ve been a little too much vinegarette on the fish.

Chris ordered the cheeseburger:

It was tasty, but I was a little disappointed with the bread. I love love LOVE Balthazar bread (seriously, it’s the best) but the bread for the cheeseburger was a little too crusty. I think the bun should’ve been softer on the inside (the core) but maybe it was just toasted a little too long. Chris liked the bread, so that’s all that matters.

I was originally going to order the duck’s Shepard pie, but at the last minute, I decided to order the Saturday dinner special: braised short ribs with mashed potatoes:

Oh. My. God. My braised short ribs were freaking AMAZING! The vegetables (carrots, leeks – possibly, and onions) were all really delicious as well. The mashed potatoes were so buttery and creamy and paired well with the short ribs (which were marinated with red wine and then braised). The meat literally fell off the bones (I took them home for my roommate’s dogs) and the meat wasn’t too salty (which is sometimes a problem with braised meats, in my opinion, since you’re cooking it with all these sauces for such a long time). The mashed potatoes were perfect (not too salty and just creamy enough that you could still taste some of the potato chunks) and the braised short ribs just melted in your mouth. Wow…it still makes my mouth water as I think about the dish. My mom and Chris agreed that the dish was awesome as well.

After dinner, we were all so stuffed that we didn’t order dessert (maybe next time!). Balthazar is such a great place to go after a long day of shopping in Soho, or a safe place to get a great meal. It’s also a great spot for brunch on the weekends or coffee on the weekdays (it’s a celebrity hangout during the week and many celebs/producers have their own tables). It’s great for a first date (maybe a blind date!) because if you can’t think of anything to say, you can look up to the ceiling and mention how quirky the playing cards that are sticking to the ceiling are. It’s also great for a party because there are so many different dishes for everyone at the table to order, or a great place to just enjoy some awesome bread (or if you can’t get to Balthazar for their bread, check out Whole Foods – they stock the brioche breads!).

Balthazar on Urbanspoon

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