Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bits & Morsels hunts for caviar

Caviar on a blini with creme fraiche at Petrossian.

The other day I was feeling blue. Between the raw weather and the gloomy news, I really needed a pick-me-up. In general, I am not much of a caviar fanatic but I was craving something luxurious; and nothing is more so than caviar. So I decided to go for it and treat myself to brunch at Petrossian.

It's located in the famed Alwyn Court building at 58th and 7th and it is the one of the preferred places to go for caviar. They offer a $31.00 three-course brunch on the weekends and a $28.00 lunch during the week. The décor of Petrossian is decidedly old New York and while it has been remodeled, nothing about it feels modern.
This was my first time at Petrossian and I didn’t really know what to expect. Although the fact that it was eerily empty during brunch-time did not leave me with high hopes. As soon as I soon discovered that their bread was homemade and that the brunch menu included Transmontanus U.S.A. farmed caviar as an appetizer for a $16.00 supplement, I immediately felt better; and hungrier. Caviar, which is usually served as a garnish or a spread (in case you were afraid to ask), is basically fish roe. Besides offering an excellent selection of caviar, Petrossian has other tasty options on the menu such as a smoked fish platter and eggs benedict with smoked salmon and/or steak.

Two popular types of caviar are black caviar from sturgeon and red caviar from salmon. Fish stocks are dwindling, so as a result wild sturgeon caviar is globally banned. Petrossian was one of the first distributors to work with sturgeon farms on an alternative caviar. The caviar at brunch was served in a generous portion over a fluffy blini with crème fraiche. The combo can’t be beat. In case you're still intimidated, a few doors down from the restaurant they do have a casual café where they sell caviar and baked goods.

Petrossian, 128 West 58th Street, (212) 245-2214
Clockwise from top left: Outside and Inside Petrossian; Bread and butter.
Bagel and smoked fish platter. Apple batons for dessert.
Grilled hanger steak fried egg & crushed herbed potatoes, port wine reduction. Eggs benedict with smoked salmon.
Caviar on a blini with creme fraiche. Hot tea.
Another place to get your caviar fix is Sable's, located at 1489 Second Avenue. Sable's is an appetizing store that serves up some of the best salads and smoked fish in New York.

It’s especially enjoyable to go there because they are very generous with their samples. It’s even fun to wait on line because it gives you ample time to sample all their smoked salmons and delectable salads.
Sable's, 1489 Second Avenue.
Insides Sable's.
They have a few tables in the store, but it’s really more of a takeout zone. Besides selling a wide variety of black caviar they also sell salmon caviar. A yummy way to ramp up salmon caviar is with this easy recipe: Combine salmon caviar and crème fraiche in whatever ratio you prefer and serve with crackers or blinis. Salmon caviar, while not as sought after, is just as good and will definitely award a much needed pick-me-up that we all crave, sometimes.

Sables, 1489 Second Avenue, (212) 249-6177
Salmon caviar and all the fixings. Jar of salmon caviar.
Sable's caviar prices. Caviar to go.
A lot of Broadway shows are closing and this is having an impact on theater district restaurants. Business usually slows down after the holiday rush in December but it is especially slow this year. Many restaurants are changing their menus and offering lower prices and specials. [AM NY]

We all know this is a bad time for magazines, but I never thought it would affect Gourmet. It is a sad possibility that the magazine might go under and move completely to the web this year. [24/7 Wall St.]

Second Avenue Deli may be opening another location on the Upper East Side. This is something to look forward to as there are really no viable delis around there. The current location is doing well at 33rd between 2nd and 3rd. It used to be that there was a good deli every few blocks in New York. [Save the Deli.com]

It is possible that the current salmonella outbreak was caused by some rotten peanut butter. The recent outbreak has affected at least 400 people in 42 states. The Minnesota Department of Health stated that a tub of the peanut butter from a nursing home that had patients ill with the national outbreak strain had tested positive for generic salmonella. [USA Today]

The new diet rage in Japan
is the Collagen Diet. Usually collagen is injected into your your face by a dermatologist, but now people are eating foods rich in collagen. Natural sources of collagen like chicken skin, pigs feet, and shark fin (disconcerting considering shark populations are quickly declining thanks to shark fin soup) have become very popular. Many scientists are skeptical that this diet has any real anti-aging benefits. [Telegraph]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

Comments? Contact Jordana here