White and Church

I have said before how I don’t often dine out for Italian food. But when I was invited to a press dinner for White and Church, how could I say no? It’s a free meal. And if it wasn’t great, I simply wouldn’t write about it. 
Well, I’m writing about it, so…spoiler alert. 
The restaurant, which used to be molecular gastronomically focused Il Matto, morphed into the more conventional White and Church after a rash of varying reviews. Some people loved the food, some people hated it. What it was especially famous for was its  dizzyingly long cocktail list, including a section filled with cocktails made with insects. 

That insect cocktail collection is still there, along with a more relaxed, traditional interior and a large projector playing Fellini movies.

 Breakfast Martini – Grey Goose Poire, served with Pear, Black Pepper and Parmesan
The vodka was smooth, with a slight kick at the end that was echoed in the black pepper. The pear provided fruitiness that amplified the sweet, crisp taste of the vodka, and the Parmesan cheese added a salty, savory kick to the martini. This was so simple but so well rounded. I will absolutely be making this at home.

Pecorino Creme Brulee
This was a holdover from the nouveau menu of Il Matto, and was a delicious dish that is so simple, I can’t believe I hadn’t had it before. A sugary, perfectly caramelized top shattered into smooth, lush custard that was exceedingly sharp but not too salty. The mouthful was creamy and crispy, tangy and sweet. It was not exactly savory nor sugary. It was so tantalizing I ended up scooping out the dregs with the crust of the very delicious sourdough bread.

 Avocado Salad with Caramalized Cauliflower, Sudnried Tomatoes and Mozzerella
Ignore any other iteration of avocado salad you have ever had. This is the only avocado salad you will ever have after you taste it. Because all others pale in comparison to the point of disappearing altogether. The cauliflower was crispy on the outside and creamy like potatoes on the inside. It was infused with spices that made it a a little sweet and tangy, in contrast to the mild mozzarella, the salty sundried tomatoes and the buttery avocado. There were also a few large truffle slices on the bottom of the dish, which added a heartiness to the dish, making the cauliflower more substantial and the mozzarella milkier. I would never put these ingredients together and perhaps I haven’t well described it. But the symphony of flavors and textures was out of this world and the surprise standout of the meal.

 Fried Polenta and Parmesan Custard
More melted cheese? Well…okay! Smooth, creamy cheese that was more salty than it was sharp, with a mellow, smooth taste. The fried polenta were like the best hash browns ever, but instead of creamy potatoes, toothsome, earthy cornmeal inside.

 Fried Gorgonzola with Pears over Balsamic Glaze
This restaurant fries lie a champ. This time, a small fried nugget arrived at the table. When I broke into it, a melty, pungent river of Gorgonzola cheese flowed out, joining crunchy pears and sweet balsamic vinegar. The result was a dish that was sugary, salty, animal and vegetable. It was a tiny portion, but I could have eaten 4 or 5 of these croquettes, letting the blue veins of the Gorgonzola invade my nose and mouth, changing as it mixed with the balsamic and the pears.

 Steak with Mushrooms and Veal Jus
Another example of something so simple that I should be eating it more. The flavor of steak is so well amplified by the grassy, light taste of veal. Here, it was in a rich glace, ripe with meaty, umami flavors. The meat itself was cooked perfectly, with a bit of chew and a robust taste.  The mushrooms, tender and earthy, added another hit of umami to the dish, making it a full, deep, rounded dish. Though this is not a steaknouse, I have rarely had better steak.

Eggplant Napoleon
I know, I know. Napoleon made with eggplant? Apparently, it’s a traditional Sicilian dessert, and, really…not too bad! The eggplant barely had a taste and its soft texture melded well with the vanilla scented cream and rich chocolate sauce. Napoleons are not may favorite dessert in general, being quite sweet and heavy, but as far as they go, this was a good, if not outstanding version.
That said…most of the food here was absolutely outstanding! From the complex cocktail to the best avocado salad ever to a piece of steak that still has me drooling, White and Church has a bright future ahead of it. There is a happy hour and an extensive menu and…well, food that I can’t make at home.
I guess I do dine out for Italian food more than I had thought!
*Note: My meal was paid for by the restaurant.  I was not paid or required to write a review, and my opinions are my own and, I feel, impartial.*

Comments

  1. joanna says:

    Sounds delicious, I'll have to check it out

  2. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Joanna-yes you definitely should! The drinks are particularly delish!

  3. Sarah says:

    Can't wait for their brunch next weekend! Is it overkill that I want the burger stuffed with mac n'cheese?

  4. Tasty Trekker says:

    Wow. This place had been kind of uninteresting to me until I read your post. Now it is at the top of my list. Fried Gorgonzola with Balsamic (in my best Mike Meyers voice) yes please!

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