Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bits and Morsels goes to Table 8, DBGB, and Marea

Dishes leaving the kitchen of Marea.

Whirlwind weekend. I went with digital in tow to Table 8 in the new Cooper Square Hotel, a preview of Daniel Boulud’s new restaurant, DBGB, and dinner at the brand new Marea.

Chef Govind Armstrong’s Table 8, with locations in Los Angeles and South Beach, just opened in New York's brand new Cooper Square Hotel. Table 8 is already a scene. This weekend it was bustling and the noise level made it almost impossible to hold a conversation. That being said, if you are looking for a hip place to go out with your friends, Table 8 fits that bill. The décor is chic and my favorite touch: a bucket of champagne sits in front of the bathroom, making those bathroom waits a party in itself. I was very impressed with the service and the fact that they honored my party’s reservation.
The salt bar.
Table 8 has a salt bar in the front room of the restaurant that offers sausages and other cured meats. Think sushi bar except replace fresh fish with cured meat -- all of the items are also reasonably priced. Table 8 is a good place to go with a group and the best way to approach the menu is to order a few items for everyone to share. Start with the seared Cana de Cabra salad. Cana de Cabra is a deliciously creamy goat cheese and it is served up hot and crispy in this dish. For your main course: try the duck with hazelnuts or the halibut, which is served with toast topped with smoked halibut. Table 8 is definitely worth checking out for the scene and yes, the food too, making it worth the trip downtown.

Table 8
25 Cooper Square
My Table 8 dinner dates: Lauren Serebrenik, Michael Morris, and Sam Hamadeh. Stefanie Cohen and Danit Lidor.
Grilled octopus with celery heart salad, tomato and Moroccan olives. Sausage from the salt bar.
Clockwise from top left: The basil 8; Inside Table 8; Duck with sunchoke, hazelnuts and kumquats; Chef Govind Armstrong.
Seared Cana de Cabra with arugula, avocado, red onion, and balsamic. Halibut with smoked halibut on toast.
Almond apricot tart. Buttermilk panna cotta with fresh strawberries.
I went to a preview of Daniel Boulud’s new restaurant, DBGB Kitchen & Bar, located at 299 Bowery between 1st Street and Houston. Chef Daniel Boulud spoke about his desire and intention to blend a French brasserie with an American tavern. The space looked great although it's not completely furnished; Daniel spoke while sitting on a ladder.
Chef/owner Daniel Boulud addresses the crowd at DBGB.
The decor of DBGB, which has an open kitchen, reflects the spirit of the Bowery as a source for kitchen supplies. The shelves around the kitchen are going to house a display of pots and pans from chefs from all over the world. The menu is going to include everything from shellfish platters and burgers to a selection of more than a dozen sausages. This is all exciting news.
Shrimp on a seafood platter.
Beaujolaise -- pork, mushrooms, onion, bacon and red wine link with lentil stew.
The official opening party, benefiting benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels, is scheduled for May 26th from 5:30 – 8:30. Citymeals-on-Wheels provides meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers. Besides benefiting a great cause, this event is going to be filled with delicious and fun foods. Do not miss it.

For tickets, click here.
Ice cream toppings bar.
Saturday night I went to the brand new Marea, located in the old San Domenico space at 240 Central Park South. It turns out that Marea is one of the more stunning restaurants I've encountered in a while. The focus of the restaurant is Italian seafood and the décor and color scheme is calm and mellow.

The restaurant is not noisy (decibel-wise) due to its sound absorbing ceiling ... so an actual conversation with your dinner companion is a good possibility. If you can't already tell, I am thankful for a quiet restaurant.

Many restaurants that have recently opened are on the casual side. This is good news, especially in this environment, where a pair of jeans and a tasty meal is effective therapy.
Chris Cannon and Josh Ozersky. Marea Chef, Michael White.
The bar.
The dining room.
Josh Ozersky from the Feedbag was there on Saturday night and it was nice to see him again --- I ran into him first at Table 8. The menu at Marea is extensive and offers fish prepared in every imaginable form. The menu includes sections for pastas, risotto, crudo and composed dishes. Items include fusilli with baby octopus and bone marrow, Dover Sole and halibut.

Marea is a spacious restaurant with seamless service and (I can't believe I am saying this) outside of Le Bernardin, there is really nothing quite like it. This is the newest restaurant brought to you by Chris Cannon and Chef Michael White, and they have a big hit on their hands.
POLIPO, grilled octopus, insalata di riso, fava, yellow tomatoes.
240 Central Park South
Outside and inside Marea.
Chickpea and seaweed fritters ...
Pasta with pomodoro. Assorted raw oysters.
Perfectly cooked halibut with mixed vegetables. Lobster risotto.
Ananas -- caramel braised pineapple over a ricotta mousse with coconut gelato. Homemade chocolates.
Burrata cheese is beginning to appear on every menu. It’s my favorite cheese and I always order it when I see it on a menu. Burrata is a soft mozzarella cheese with an almost liquid inside filled with cream and fragments of mozzarella. It's definitely worth indulging in once in awhile. [NY Post]

Banh mi Sandwiches are becoming over exposed. Not long ago, finding a place that served these Vietnamese baguette sandwiches was a treat. Now they are seemingly as common as hot dogs in New York. Here are some alternative Vietnamese sandwiches worth trying in place of a banh mi. The sandwiches range from Bulgogi dogs to Vietnamese Sloppy Joes. [Metro Mix]

It’s hard to believe Midtown Lunch has been online for 3 years. Check out its new look. If you don’t go to the site on a regular basis, you should. It contains everything you would need to find the best lunch (or snack-before-and-after-lunch) spot in midtown. [Midtown Lunch]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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