Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bits and Morsels goes Patroon-ing

Charles Gabriel and Ken Aretsky in the kitchen of Patroon.

Last week my friend alerted me to Fried Chicken Fridays at Aretsky’s Patroon.

Every Friday night chef Charles Gabriel arrives from Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken in Harlem to Patroon in Midtown West to prepare fried chicken, cornbread and southern style side dishes such as candied yams and collard greens. Charles Gabriel fries the chicken in his own skillet that he brings with him from his Harlem restaurant. Unlike deep-fried chicken, which doesn’t require much attention, Charles pan fries the chicken and attentively turns it throughout the cooking process. For $25 you get three pieces of chicken, cornbread, two sides and banana pudding for dessert. The dinner is served in the Gibson room on the second floor of Patroon (you also have full access to the menu in the main dining room). And to complete the experience: live music from honky tonk piano player Benjamin Healy.

Nowadays restaurants all over town are putting fried chicken on their menu. But it’s nothing like the experience at Patroon. Ken Aretsky is a restaurateur who understands that if you are going to attempt to serve fried chicken, you serve the best, made by the best.
Diana Lyne with her son Gene Aretsky. Gene was having dinner with his friends at the Chef's Table. Fried Chicken Fridays at Patroon.
The food at Patroon is classic American and they are currently participating in Winter Restaurant Week. Choose from Dover sole, dry aged steaks, hamburgers and Caesar salads made at the table (my favorite). For dessert, splurge for the classic New York Patroon Sundae and a plate of cookies. The sundae is constructed with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, brownies, hot fudge, fresh whipped cream and almonds. On the cookie plate are homemade Oreos and peanut butter and jelly cookies that are ideal for dunking in your coffee.

The walls of Patroon are decorated with photographs from an impressive group of photographers — Helmut Newton, Hiro, Saul Leiter and Alexander Liberman to name a few. Patroon even gives out handy guides to all the photographs and where they are located within the restaurant. I don’t know any other restaurant that does this, do you?
Charles Gabriel brings his own skillet from his Harlem restaurant.
Right out of the pan.
Corn bread.
I spoke to owner Ken Aretsky and his lovely wife, Diane Lyne, both styles of whom are reflected in the decor and artwork of the restaurant. And as you would suspect, there is a story behind every photograph. Patroon's second floor contains a series of rooms perfect for private events. Patroon is actually closed on the weekends for private parties so that gives you an idea of its popularity. They even have a humidor room, and when the weather permits their rooftop bar is open (I can't think of a better place to enjoy a drink and a cigar). The Fried Chicken Fridays are just one of the many things that makes Patroon a no-brainer.

Aretsky’s Patroon
160 East 46th Street
Patroon makes the Caesar salad at the table. I do love how the ingredients are presented.
Blue cheese and walnut salad, which I selected off the Winter Restaurant Week menu. A side of candied yams.
A full plate of fried chicken, mac and cheese, candied yams, and corn bread.
Wild mushroom pasta, also part of Winter
Restaurant Week.
Lemon thyme pudding.
Clockwise from above: The perfect sundae; Pistachio mousse; Cookie plate.
The reception area.
Live music in the gibson room.
The Chef's table is right next to the kitchen.
The humidor room. The Chef's table.
Photo mural in the airplane room. The previous owner of the restaurant is Christopher Cella, who is flying the lead plane.
Two photographs of Elsa Peretti by Helmut Newton. Diana Lyne worked at Tiffany's with Elsa Peretti for over 20 years.
Hiro's Maiden Voyage to the Moon, Apollo 11, 9:32 AM. 7/16/1969. Jardineto metal flower sculpture by
Manel Rovira.
Hiro's Apollo Spaceflight Training Suits. George David, who used to work for United Technologies, was recently at Patroon and said that the suits weigh about 400lbs each (fortunately that's about 60-70 pounds on the Moon).
Irving Penn and Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn by Alexander Liberman.
January is finally over, so make way for "February is Pancake Month." The best place to indulge yourself in pancakes is at the Clinton St. Baking Company, located at 4 Clinton Street. All month long (Monday through Friday), they will be offering special varieties of pancakes. Year round, their fresh buttermilk biscuits and wild blueberry pancakes are rated as some of the best in the city. Only problem: I normally experience a very long wait for a table. It’s especially hectic on a Sunday (expect to wait over an hour).
Pancake month at Clinton St. Baking Company.
Blueberry pancakes with warm maple butter.
If they are busy, put your name on the list and head a few doors down to the brand new Dessert Truck Works at 6 Clinton Street. DT Works is the creation of Dessert Truck owner Jerome Chang. Mr. Chang used to work as a pastry sous chef at Le Cirque so he knows a thing or two about making killer desserts; and these are priced well.

The truck, which is now used mainly for private events, sold outstanding portable desserts like chocolate bread pudding and molten chocolate cake. All of those delectables plus much more can be had at DT Works. Being a donut fiend, I had to try the nutella donuts. Let's just say DT Works is worth a visit all on its own.

Clinton St. Baking Company & DT Works
Dessert Truck Works' Jerome Chang.
Dessert Truck Works' treats.
Brown butter almond cake with caramelized pear. Brioche donut holes with nutella filling.
buttermilk panna cotta. Molten chocolate cake.
We are all sad about the passing of JD Salinger. While not much is known about his personal life we do know that he was a fan of the $12 dollar roast beef supper at his church and he would always sit near the pies. Celebrate his life and pay tribute by making some roast beef and pie. [Food and Wine]

Anheuser-Busch is launching a light beer that is only 55 calories a serving. That’s not a lot of calories at all for a beer. The release of Select 55 is just in time for Super Bowl Sunday. [Sun Times]

Speaking of the Super Bowl ...
here is a list of restaurant where you can enjoy the game or order food to go. They range from a fondue superbowl party at Artisanal, where 10% of the proceeds will go to Haiti relief, to burgers and fries at BLT burger. [Zagat Buzz]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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