There is something in the air in NYC. And, no, for once I am not talking about the foul smell of the gas of the person walking in front of you. I am talking about Fall. Now, I have mixed feelings about this turning of the seasons. The cons are that it gets dark earlier, there are no more outdoor movies at Bryant Park, and-of course-WINTER is on its’ way…gee, do you think i am a sun worshipper or what? On the pro side, however, you do get to buy really cute chunky sweaters, enjoy the return of such wonderful television as The Office, and eat that comforting cold weather comfort food. Apples, root veggies, and carbs-I’m lookin at YOU! To celebrate this onslaught of autumn deliciousness, I went to a restaurant I have been dying to try for awhile-Trestle on Tenth.
Describing itself as a Swiss and French restaurant, I would say the restaurant is more seasonal with Swiss influences. It is a small, streamlined, modern space with a pretty looking garden outback. It is casually modern and comfortable, with a small bar at the center of the space.
After being seated quickly, we were brought sourdough bread with unsalted, whipped butter. YUM-hole filled, sour, stretchy bread with nutty, wheaty crust and some spreadable fat product…does it get any better than that?
Oh yes-it DOES get better than that when you upgrade from butter to chicken liver pate and rabbit rilletes for the fat content you spread on the bread.
I had never had rabbit-I’m not squeamish about it, I just hadn’t had the chance to try it before. And, when presented with an opportunity to try a new meat in a presentation that means it was cooked for hours in butter and it’s own fat? Um, yes please, that’s how I would like my rabbit.
And by like, I mean LOOOOVE. The rilletes were this spreadable, mild, meat jam. Not at all gamey or strong tasting, it tasted almost porcine in its sweetness and mild, fatty flavor. The addition of some excellent whole grain mustard added sweet and hot to the creamy and gentle flavor profile. This is DEFINITELY the way to introduce someone to rabbit…I almost forgot I was eating Thumper.
And the pate…this wasn’t yo mama’s chopped liver (though heaven knows there is NOTHING wrong with my mama’s chopped liver…I seriously love that stuff). This was creamy, delicate, rich with a deep, almost mineral-y liver flavor. I think some sort of sweet wine, like Sauternes, must have been added to the pate to give it a almost heady, elusive flavor, and caramelized onions probably figured in to the sweet background flavor. It was absolutely on par with pate de foie gras. I could have eaten this plain, sans bread.
Clearly, I almost did.
There were some very good house made pickles, as well as some walnuts and blueberries, on the side, but they were all but irrelevant next to these luscious meat products.
We also ordered some oysters.
Though these were fine-certainly fresh and served with some very feisty and horseradish-y cocktail sauce-they were not up to the par that the meat spreads had created. They were fresh but not outrageously creamy or briny. they were a little…tasteless? They just didn’t make me stand up and salute the way a great oyster does. And yes, I really do stand up and salute for great shellfish. That’s just the kind of gal I am. Also, the mignonette sauce was kind of perfume-y tasting. Too much thyme, perhaps? Too heavy of a vinegar? Alas, I shall never know.
But fear not, because next, we got these
Fried Duck’s necks. WHAAAA???? Imagine baby back ribs. Then shrink them. Then braise them for hours so the meat literally falls off the bone. Then infuse those ribs with the deep, dark, slightly gamey, rich taste that duck has. Then DEEP FRY those suckers in garlicky, salty breadcrumbs. And that is this appetizer.
Yes, you should indeed be jealous. Picking every inch of tender meat out of the crevices of these little bones is my new favorite activity. I’m adding it to my facebook page. Served with a mustard-y garlic aioli, I ate these suckers naked. Just let that pure, duck-y, fatty flavor engulf my palate. I already want more. MORE I SAY!!!
We also tried roasted beets. THIS is why I love fall. These beets were so simple-no foam, gastrique, or fancy artisan cheese. Just fresh beets, rolled in olive oil and parsley, and roasted until all their sugars developed and they were able to cut with a knife, yet still al dente. They were sweet, hearty, lush, filling, and just screamed “FALL IS HERE! WOOHOO!! GET OUT YOUR STRETCH PANTS AND EAT ME!”
Our last item ordered was pizokel with caramelized onions and gruyere. If you have ever had spaetzel, you have had pizokel. Lumpy, toothsome, pasta shaped dumplings. These were sauteed in butter and onions, and served under a blanket of crusty, sharp gruyere cheese. Butter, cheese, onions, and pasta…these are the main four food groups, right? This is something else that I can ONLY eat during times when I know I won’t soon be wearing a bathing suit. Aww, who am I kidding-I could eat it in the summer too if only I wouldn’t take up all my stomach space with ice cream.
The whole meal was about $52, including all that food and two sodas. I can NOT recommend this restaurant more as a delicious and fairly priced lunch with a date, a foodie friend, or by yourself at the bar. As a side note, it also seems like it is run by really nice people. I saw a homeless man quietly walk in and ask if he could get his water bottle refilled. He was obviously not dangerous to anyone, just a guy down on his luck-and quickly and courteously, the bartender filled his water bottle up, and then the man went on his way. I doubt anyone else in the crowded restaurant noticed this encounter, but I did. And it made a difference to me. I want to patronize a place that is run by responsible and kind Samaritans. Who make awesome food. For a fair price. And it seems like Trestle on Tenth sorta fits that bill!