Texas de Brazil and Maoz – My Favorite Salad Bars!

Really quickly: 2 different restaurants that I am loving:

1. Maoz
20140330_122755 This casual, counter service import from Amsterdam has some killer French Fries, well spiced shawarma, and the make-your-own falafel sandwich or salad of your DREAMS. A killer salad bar with cumin scented carots, tangy cabbage salad, tabbouleh, roasted cauliflower, and a litany of sauces. Creamy tahini, cooling yogurt, garlic sauce so potent that it might make or break you night, hot sauce so potent and fiery that it makes your toes curl. Herby, bright broccoli and fresh cilantro laden salsa. Don’t forget the inexpensive but delicious hummus and babaganoush you can add to your salad bar. And, of course, the fried eggplant, with silky innards and a crispy shell.

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The falafel sandwich starts like this…

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and should end like this, covered in pickles, sauces, and vegetables from the salad bar. It’s all included (one trip only, except for more sauce), so don’t worry. The falafel is piping hot, fragrant with cumin and parsley, an served in a fluffy pita with crisp romaine. This inexpensive place ain’t Israel, but it surely feds the yen when I am stateside.

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2. Texas de Brazil

Remember I said I had been to a Brazilian steakhouse? Well, I am now obsessed with them and this is the best one I have been to by FAR! Modern, clean (though, truth be told, a little “mall chic”) decor, extremely well informed waitstaff, and the food is about 19 times better that the other place. A smaller but better curated salad bar filled with imported cheeses, all varieteis of spicy peppers, a soup of the day, creamy pottaoes gratin, and a host of other items. Don’t miss those tiny red peeppers that are spicy enough to rip off your top layer of lip skin or the creamy, sweet poatoao salad – almost as good as Hawaiian potato salad!

20140329_194033 The meat here is even better than the salad bar. Tender lamb chops, garlicky sausage, and the flavorful, perfectly medium rare house cut ribeye are standouts. Avoid the pork products, but everything else is commendable. And don’t miss the mini chicken Parmesan that comes around on skewers towards the end of the meal.

 I am never going to fit into my wedding gown, am I?

 

Dessert Scavenger Hunt

Let’s play a little guessing game today.

Here is a spot that is insanely expensive and was featured in a movie.

20140329_212534 It usually has a very long line and a rather surly front of house staff (though the servers are often excellent).

If you come here on a rainy night, your chances are MUCH better of getting in sooner than later.

There is no liquor menu and if you come here for the savory food, then congratulations, you are the only one who has done that…ever.

20140329_212550 (1) There are a ton of impostor Tiffany lamps and wacky things for sale as you wait – thinks like purses with eyeballs and Troll hair and muffin tins that look like jeans (so you can bake “muffin tops”…get it?).

The main event often looks like this:

20140329_213835 The best hot fudge ever…sorry Eddie’s. With soft vanilla ice cream and cake so dense and rich that it feels like a tiny bomb in your stomach.

The whipped cream is piled high and sweet.

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The Can’t Say No Sundae  might be even better. Same ice cream, same whipped cream, same hot fudge, so substantial and rich that it hardens against the cold ice cream, but this time…there are fresh bananas. And peanut butter pie. Smooth, nutty, creamy peanut butter pie.

I wouldn’t kick it out of bed for eating crackers.

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Frozen white hot chocolate.

The piece de resistance. The most vanilla-scented, smooth, purely milky taste in the world. It’s not too thick or too watery – you can drink it with a spoon. It’s mild enough for a baby to enjoy and tasty enough for 4 adults to fight over the last sip. It’s the best parts of white chocolate (sweet, buttery, rich) with none of the bad parts (waxy, overly sweet, plastic-y).

And it comes showered in edible glitter.

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Of course, this joint is Serendipity 3. It’s overdone, it’s overpriced, and they make you order at least $8.50 worth of food per person, so you are sure to over-eat and get a stomach ache. But, I have to say…for nostalgia or maybe even just for taste…it’s damned good and fun.

Skillet o’ Cake at David Burke Fishtail

So, this weekend, I made some awesome Mexican corn dip, ate the best deviled egg of my life, and had some kick ass Chinese food at my bridal shower (spoiler alert – Congee Bowery has not only an awesome private room but some of the juiciest pork dumplings in town).

But this isn’t about any of those piddly stories.

This is about the most whimsical things that I ate this weekend.

This is about Fishtail’s Skillet of Cake.

Fishtail is David Burke’s elegant UES restaurant. It’s loud and upscale, just like all of his places, but it has a casual bar in the front area. You can sit there and have a beer or sit at one of the high booths with your friends and order this expensive, indulgent, childhood kickback dessert. I didn’t even take any pictures of the interior because the bar area is really just the standard picture of a nice UES restaurant bar.

Little did I know what I was in for.

They call it a can o’ cake, but it’s really a skillet. You order it in the large size for 4 people and then it takes about 20 minutes to make.

IMG_20140131_212835_904 Don’t worry, while you wait, you get to lick the beaters, just like at Grandma’s house. The cake batter is dark and chocolatey, whith a smooth texture. It’s so fun to sit in this fancy restaurant and lick cake batter off of the beaters. And, of course, eavesdrop on all of the second dates going on at the bar.
IMG_20140131_215406_039 When the cake is ready, it comes to you on a small side table. A warm skillet of brownie cake, homemade vanilla ice cream, a can of whipped cream, hot fudge, and puffed rice. Let the server divvy up the cake and give you the works.  IMG_20140131_215611_771 This is pretty much a souped-up version of a brownie sundae. It’s all warm, soft, dark chocolate cake, airy whipped cream, and some of the finest vanilla ice cream in recent memory. That ice cream is homemade and it’s really something else. It has a caramelly, buttery note that made me think that there was bourbon int here somewhere. The server swears that it’s just vanilla, but let’s be honest – there is obviously some addictive substance in there that they aren’t telling us about. And that’s okay – as long as they keep this on the menu, they can be as secretive as they want. The cake is reminiscent of Duncan Hines in the best way possible – it’s soft and warm – just like you remember. This is totally nostalgic. It’s expensive to be sure, but what a fun way to cap off an adult night on Manhattan’s UES. Plus, if you split it between four people, it’s only about $10 a person after tax. I have spent more than that on adult desserts that aren’t as whimsical or tasty.

And they surely don’t come with a side of raw batter to enjoy!

NYC’s Best Lazy Buffets

I happen to love a good buffet. The hedonistic, gluttonous, slightly(more than slightly?) trashy experience of eating mountains of sushi, prime rib, eggs Benedict, and “gelato” until your stomach is distended and the clock has turned from AM to PM.

But…there is something a  little better than the standard buffet, which also includes lines, sneeze guards, and less than optimally heated food.

That would be the lazy person’s buffet.

Where the endless food is just brought to you. You don’t even need to get up from your chair. Expandomatic pants are all that’s needed.

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Churrascaria Plataforma

Have you ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse? Because if not – and you eat meat – you have been missing one of life’s greatest pleasures. A pleasure that starts with cheesy, puffy yuca rolls, like doughy gougeres. That progresses to a massive salad bar filled with vegetables, pasta,  spicy bean stew, and other items. A pleasure that reaches its savory climax in the parade of meats. Servers come to your table and slice you different cuts of freshly roasted meats – as much as you can handle. Literally – you have a little token that you make red when you want to stop eating, but as long as it’s green…you keep getting fed. And this stuff ain’t hot dog meat, either. We are talking smoky pork chorizo, garlicky rubbed steak, salty and wonderfully rare prime rib, Parmesan crusted juicy pork chops, and every kind of rib you can imagine. Don’t forget the bottomless mashed potatoes, fried bananas, and french fries. And don’t forget to come early…you can stay as long as you want and with food this tasty and at a price this reasonable-you will want to eat as much as you can.

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Moti Mahal Delux

This New Delhi export makes the UES the best brunch neighborhood in town. For just $15, you get intricately flavored, delicately balanced Indian food – as much as you can handle, and then some. Pungent bhel poori, creamy tikka masala, buttery dahl, fragrant saag paneer, fresh naan…and the menu changes every weekend. If you gett he brunch special, you get what the Michelin-recommended chefs want to make that day. And if they would eat it themselves, why wouldn’t you eat it? The food is not heavy or salty – it’s complex in flavor and texture, and is highly recommended for the most discerning Indian food connoisseurs (not that I’m discerning, but I have had a lot of tandoori in my life…just saying). Do NOT miss out on the gulab jamun for dessert – the yeastiest, warmest, softest doughnut I have had in  many a moon. As added bonuses, service is excellent and the menu is very vegetarian friendly.

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Mish Mosh at Sugar and Plumm

Not a buffet, but it might as well be…do you SEE the size of this thing? Vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, potato chips, gummy bears, chocolate candies, whipped cream, blondies, and chocolate sauce…and a spoon.

Or 2 spoons if you want it to be more of a meal with loved ones and less of an ode to lactose tolerance and gluttony.

Whatever floats your boat.

It isn’t cheap, but it is insanely decadent (LOVE those salty chips!), and where else can you go at 9 PM and see an entire menu filled with desserts, fit for an out-of-town guest (for those times when a diner just won’t cut it)? It’s over the top, but then, that’s just what buffets are.

Especially lazy person’s buffets.

I’ll meet you at the table.

Moti Mahal Delux on Urbanspoon

Cafe Boulud – Practically Perfect in Every Way

You know those times when you meet up with a couple of friends for a casual dinner, then one bottle of prosecco later decide to go all out and scrap the relaxed plans to dine at a Michelin starred chef’s intimate bistro?

I didn’t know those times till last weekend.

Now I do know those times. And spontaneity plus foie gras equal my best dining experience in many moons.

In fact…it might have been a perfect meal. 

IMG_20131011_202954_942 When we made a last minute reservation at 8:30 on a Friday night at Cafe Boulud, we didn’t know what to expect. Wouls it be overly stuffy or filled with octogenarians? Would it be super casual and not really deserving of the Boulud name?

It was both and neither. It was casual enough to wear nice jeans but still demanded a button down jacket or an elegant blouse. It was filled with people mostly in their 60s, but the vibe was anything but stoic. It was bustling and humming and all the people there, regardless of age, looked like they were enjoying the best time of their lives.

Just one bite of the food, and you will see why.

Quick note: Use the sommelier. We had an excellent experience, where we were recommended a few excellent wines in a range of prices so we didn’t feel embarrassed or bad about our lack of knowledge or how much we wanted to spend. Bravo! IMG_20131011_203559_471 Truffle arancini

A tasty amuse bouche to start the evening. Piping hot risotto balls, with a thin breadcrumbed crust and a wonderfully al dente risotto interior. Nothing mushy here – individual grains of rice blended with salty cheese and the heady, aromatic flavor of truffles. This is a fantastic way to start the evening because it enlivens all of your senses – you hear the crunch of the breadcrumbs, you see the golden-brown balls, you you smell that unmistakable truffle, you feel the warmth of the ball, and you taste…heaven. These were a touch on the salty side, but if you are like me and like that – you are in for a treat!

IMG_20131011_205754_820 Bread

So worthwhile – don’t take just one slice. The savory, pleasantly briny rosemary olive, the sweet cranberry walnut, and the whimsical pumpkin bread are all winners. The pumpkin bread is a total sleeper hit – who would expect a piece of bread to taste SO MUCH like grandma’s punkin pie? Slather it with the sweet butter on the table and you might just want to order more of this and cancel your first course.

But, please, don’t do that.  IMG_20131011_210648_119 Veloute de champignon with warm barley, wild mushrooms, and parsley cream

After she tasted this, my dining companion actually looked at me dumbfounded and said “I couldn’t believe it when you ordered soup. But now, I get it.”

She ended up almost stabbing me with the butter knife to get the last of the soup.

This is picture perfect. A balance of earthy, creamy, warming, and light enough for a first dish. The barley is nubbly and textured in the smooth, deep,  rustic soup. It tastes wild and out there, but the presentation is totally refined. The parsley cream is cool and airy next to the dense soup,  adding a touch of freshness to the dish. if you thought you liked soup, you have to get this. If you think you don’t like soup, get this.

Then admit you were wrong.

cafe boulud foie via

Seared foie gras with almond beignets, seckel pear, and tonka bean

The best foie gras I have eaten in NYC. No question. Seared with such a thick, caramelized, salty sweet crust that it almost stands apart from the interior. And, oh, that interior. That liquidy, buttery, meaty, delicate, otherworldly interior. The accompaniments are lovely here – sweet and complimentary – but this is all about that seared lobe of foie. Unforgettable. Unimprovable. Literally perfect in every. Single. Way. 

IMG_20131011_213257_815 Duck breast with brussels sprouts

So well cooked. This duck eats like a steak – it’s served in a hearty portion and thick, meaty slices. It’s very mild and tender enough to cut with your butter knife. The skin is crisp and sticky sweet, but not so hard that you can’t bite it. The meat is unbelievably juice and fulfilling – you need to really be a carnivore to love this. The sprouts are crispy and caramelized, but this is really all about the duck.
IMG_20131011_213312_359 Crispy polenta

What the hell have I been making all of these years? These bites are so crispy, creamy, airy, buttery, corny, tasty WONDERFUL that the name polenta just seems disrespectful. Especially when smothered in garlicky, onion-y jam. I mean come on…this is one of the best bites of the night. How come they aren’t called “so tasty that once you take a bite, you will forget about the government shutdown” bites? 

IMG_20131011_221154_322 Chocolate mousse with coffee ice cream

More fudge than mousse, this is a chocolate desert that really makes you sit up and pay attention. It’s halfway between low and high brow. It’s creamy and smooth like the chocolate bars or your youth, but has a pleasant bitter edge and creamy coffee ice cream that keeps it from venturing into saccharin territory. It’s an uncomplicated and comforting end to a luxurious meal.  IMG_20131011_221220_980 Oh no, wait…this is the end.

These warm, lemony madeleines that are just like the ones in Palm Beach.

That is to say, perfect.

How many times did I say the word “perfect” in this review? Too many? No, too few. Too few times to describe the expert, unobtrusive yet always alert service. Too few to explain the depth of flavor in every dish. Too few to relate the way the warm, bubbly atmosphere infected our table and made for a truly fun and delicious time. Too few times to relate how the price is SO fair for the service and food that you get.

It really was a pretty damn perfect meal. 

Café Boulud on Urbanspoon

Good Idea, Bad Idea

Good idea:

IMG_20130915_143620_958 The small charcuterie plate at Bar Boulud. This highly priced plate of charcuterie is actually worth its rather dear price tag. The meats can vary, but on this day the plate included a savory beef cheek terrine,  mild rabbit terrine, salty saucisson sec, a few slices of mild jambon de Paris and – my favorite – a smooth pork and foie gras mousse that is rich and airy. Served with a traditional gelatin layer, it is delightful when spread on warm toast. This isn’t a large pate but it’s very satisfying. The accompanying pickles and vegetables are tart and light in contrast to the rich meats. This is a fantastic hearty appetizer for two or light nibble for four.

Bad idea:

IMG_20130828_185401_458-2 Grinding London broil to make burgers.

Remember how you have to cook and slice this very carefully so it isn’t tough as all get out? Well, guess what happens when you grind it? That’s right, you get tiny, medium rare hockey pucks that have no connective tissue to hold them together. Sandy little rocks…what a waste of great meat! From now on, I will grind sirloin or buy my meat already chopped.

Good idea:

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Gazpacho at Match 65

This adorable UES bistro has as much personality and class as a snazzy Keith McNally joint, but none of the buzz. Maybe it’s the octogenarian crowd or maybe it’s the Lexington Avenue location, but whatever it is, I will tak it! Reasonably priced with an adorable bistro atmosphere and delicious steak and moules frites. If the gazpacho is still on the menu, it’s definitely worth a try. Light and thick at the same time, loaded with the taste of sun ripened tomatoes, sweet summer corn and buttery avocados. It’s the perfect lunch with some of their excellent baguette.

Bad idea: IMG_20130902_080041_094-2  They’re baaaack….

The Best of British Food at Jones Woods Foundry

Anyone who says that British food isn’t tasty has either seen Oliver! one too many times or is just working off of jokes made in the 1980s.

Because British food is just delicious – clotted cream, savory pies, and fresh, briny seafood.

Jones Woods Foundry brings the best of British food to the Upper East Side in the form of a cool, beer-focused gastropub.

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The restaurant has a long, narrow bar area that expands into a larger (but still pretty cozy!) dining area. By 7 pm on a Tuesday night, the area was hopping and we had to wait for a seat at the bar. Though there is a comprehensive bar menu, if you want a longer, more comfortable meal, you should definitely make a reservation. The dining room reaches pretty high decibels, so keep this in mind more for a dinner with friends than one with your grandparents.

[ox 360 Cod mash toast

One of my dining companions laughed as he took a taste and said “it’s whitefish on toast!” This is a lot like my favorite whitefish salad – creamy, slightly salty, mixed with fluffy mashed potatoes. However, I would compare it more to baccala. It has a faintly, smoky fishiness that is pleasant if you like lox or other smoked fish. It’s spread on crunchy bread and is a great starter.

jones liver

Chicken liver and foie gras mousse

Now THIS is chopped livah. Incredibly smooth and rich with foie but airy, too. It balances the mineral-heavy chicken liver with the fatty, almost sweet taste of the foie. It actually does melt in the mouth, leaving behind only the memory of the  umami-heavy spread. Sprinkled with coarse grains of  salt, it disappears all too fast. Don’t share this…it’s just too delicious.
jones grouper Florida grouper with whipped cauliflower, spinach, and sweet onions

Another winning dish. Brits love combining salty and savory, and often pair a sweet chutney with salty cheese or hearty meats. This play on sweet and salty works so well with fish that I may have to make it on my own at home. The onions are cooked slowly with red wine so they become very sweet in the way that only onions can. Layered upon the mild white fish, the tastes blend and become savory-sweet-salty-meaty. Really, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The cauliflower is creamy and light and the garlicky spinach is the perfect accompaniment. This dish is fantastic and I would order it again in a heartbeat.

jones menu Jones Woods Foundry once and for all puts to sleep the notion that British food isn’t delicious. Because it just is! The food here is different than what you see on American gastropub menus and is made carefully with thought to texture, aroma, and flavor. The beef and cocktail menu is varied, the service is excellent, and the atmosphere is always a party. The one downside is the expense – the food is a little pricey for the portion size. However, for a real taste of British food (the lamb and rosemary pie is also a winner!), you can’t do better than Jones Woods Foundry. 

Jones Wood Foundry on Urbanspoon

Yefsi Brings Greece to Yorkville

I joke about the Upper West Side being a culinary desert.

And, I mean, it ain’t no East Village.

But it is Shangri-La compared to Yorkville.

That’s why when we headed over to dinner with our friends, I was expecting a diner or a chain restaurant, or perhaps ordering in.

What I got was a very pleasant suprise.

pix 067 Yefsi is a large, airy Mediterranean restaurant that honestly seems way too breezy and modern to be in this part of town. It’s the sort of relaxed place you can come for a quick lunch in jeans but it’s nice enough to attend on a date. It has a long bar with high chairs (with backs in case you sway a bit from too much ouzu) and a deceptively large dining room.

pix 068 Horiatiki

Greek salad done right – no watery iceberg lettuce here. The tomatoes are thick and impossibly ripe with sweet, acidic juices. The olives are juicy and meaty, and the cucumber, green peppers, and onion, complete the salad. Oh yeah…and the feta is no slouch either. It’s creamy and salty but not at all bitter or chalky like lesser fetas are. The dressing is bright and fruity, flecked with thyme and pepper.This is the ideal way to start a meal.

pix 069 Gigantes

Kind of mind blowing, and this is why: dill and scallions.  These gigantes are large, creamy butter beans in a tangy tomato sauce. Unlike other gigantes, they are loaded with sharp, crunchy scallions and fragrant sprigs of dill. These two ingredients add a really fresh, verdant quality to the stew-like dish. They are little touches that totally make the dish stand out.

pix 070 Pikilia

This plate of spreads is tasty, but overpriced. The standout dip is the spicy feta. It is the red dip and it is creamy, a little briny, and has a slow building heat that really makes my upper lip break out in sweat. The tzatziki is also good if not groundbreaking. The pita is fine, but ask for more of the complimentary house made bread and garlicky hummus if you really want the best carb in the house.

pix 071 Lavraki

Sadly, the meal ended on a so-so note. This fish is usually moist and silky, but this one is chalky and a little meager at that.(That old joke of “the food was terrible…and there was so little of it!).  Though I was asked what side dish I wanted, none came. True, I had filled up on too much of the appetizers and bread to really care, but I still noticed. Also, the fish is not well seasoned – it needs acid and a little salt. The moussaka I tried is a better bet.

Yefsi really is better than what I expected. It isn’t a destination meal and the food is a little overpriced, but as far as Yorkville goes, it’s almost great. The atmosphere is lovely, service is prompt, and some of the appetizers are really stellar. Go for a selection of mezzes and you will be pleased.

Yorkville, I didn’t know you had it in ya.

Yefsi Estiatorio on Urbanspoon

BurgerFi – Go for the Burgers, Stay for the Custard

Let’s talk burgers.

You know, for a change.

BurgerFi is an UES burger restaurant that – might as well make the comparison here – looks a whole lot like Shake Shack. Antibiotic free beef, frozen custard, and made to order gourmet dogs and burgers. Pair those characteristics with a fast service restaurant concept and its hard to tell the two apart. How, you ask, does the food compare?

Texas Chili Dog

One of my dining companions said that this tasted like 7-11 chili. I would equate it more to Der Wienerschniztel chili, but either way, there you have it. It’s thin, salty, and just slightly zesty with cumin and a bit of cayenne. It’s basically perfect. Slathered over a charred hot dog with gooey cheese sauce and a fluffy bun, it’s really tasty stuff. Nothing out of this world, but very satisfying. 

The BAD (breakfast all day) burger, with bacon, cheese, hash browns, and an egg, all drizzled in maple syrup

This burger, which both of my friends got, is really pretty great. The egg is nicely gooey, the bacon is crispy, and the hash browns are…well, they are fried potatoes and onions. How bad could they be, right? The maple syrup adds a really interesting sweet touch – why weren’t people doing this before?! The only downside, for me, was the beef itself. A little thin and served only well done or medium well, they lack seasoning and char. A sad story, since the rest of the burger is so tasty.

Fries

I only had the fries, but damn were they good. Crispy, salty, and fresh cut. These are fries you pay $7 an order for in a fancy gastropub, which make them a really great deal here. Swipe them in some mayo and you will be in heaven.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Concrete

Sorry, Shake Shack. This is where you lose. The custard here is far superior. The concrete here is thick and rich without being overly bitter or chemically tasting. The chocolate is mild, letting the eggy, creamy taste of the custard shine through. The peanut butter flavor takes a backseat, offering a slightly salty backnote to all of that sweetness. Totally craveable.

BurgerFi offers tasty food at great prices. It’s nothing novel, but it does fit a need in that neighborhood. Though the burgers can’t touch Shake Shack’s, the fries are just as good and the dessert options are actually better. Hopefully there are more places like this in the future, because if there is anything I consistently need and want…

It’s a burger

Burgerfi on Urbanspoon

David Burke at Bloomingdale’s

On a recent Bloomingdale’s shopping trip, I was having a minor meltdown.

Okay, I was having a full-on panic where I refused to try on one more pair of jeans, almost smacked the poor fragrance woman who spritzed cologne on me, and had to breathe into a paper bag to calm myself down.

Before my sister completely threw me in the gutter and disowned me, she thought we should take a break for lunch and see if I returned to normal.

David Burke is a chef who I just love. He is creative, he is technically excellent, and although his restaurants are on the pricier side, the portions and quality more than justify that. But this is a rather casual restaurant in a department store….could it really hold up to his standards?

 

PopoverEach meal here starts with a warm, oversized popover. These are a little dry for my liking – I prefer a moister, eggier interior.

Apple Sangria

This seasonal special revamps my idea of sangria. This is very light and sugary, with a slight effervescence. It has the sweetness of apple cider with just a little alcoholic tang to anchor it. The fruits are fresh, and more than garnishes, are actual ingredients in the drink. You can order this by the liter, and doing that just makes sense. After all, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Juicy Burkey

A double patty stuffed with carmelized onions, cheddar cheese and bacon. Served with pickles, chilled green bean salad, and duck fat french fries. So big that you need to put your order in early, because it takes about 30 minutes to prep. Just put your order in the second you get there. Don’t even look at the menu before you do…

because this burger is unreal.  It is humongous, yet it is ideally cooked. A thick, craggy crust surrounds a rosy interior. Well, two rosy interiors. Each stuffed with sharp, tangy cheddar cheese and sweetly caramalized onions. The patties are coarsely ground and so chock full of flavor that any ketchup or mayonnaise is merely gilding the lily. This burger is possibly the best I have eaten since Louis Lunch. It is really all about the meat – it eats like a steak. The patty is juicy but does not spill all over the plate – rather, it holds its moisture as you eat it. The toppings are delicious, but the meat is absolutely the star. The bun is standard, but holds up well. This burger feeds 2 easily, though if you eat it alone in 25 minutes, you get a free T-shirt. Antacid not included.

The duck fat fries are also memorable. They have a salty, umami -intense flavor that makes it undefinable savory. It is like eating a fry that has already been dragged through meaty juices on a steak frites plate. The delicious burger would be enough, but the fries put this over the top dish…well…over the top.

Oh yeah…there is green bean salad, too. It is light and vinegary, with tender green beans, but next to the burger and fries…who the heck is noticing greenery?

Lobster Bacon Mac and Cheese

 3 kosher dietary sins at once: shellfish, bacon, meat + cheese. I couldn’t possibly have any more fun sinning. Al dente noodles in a cheese that is more melty than creamy, with plenty of cheddar cheese and just a bit of cream for richness. Large slices of bacon are crispy and salty, mingling well with juicy, sweet lobster meat. The combination of sweet, salty, crispy, and tangy is truly unique. I would never think to pair these ingredients together, but Burke is right on the money here.

Think of it this way…now you finally have something to atone for at Yom Kippur.

Crabcake Sliders

This plate is another delicious choice, with moist, creamy crabcakes served on slightly sweet potato rolls. The crabcakes are chock full of sweet shellfish and are served with a tart, creamy tartar sauce.

These are a tasty small lunch or an ideal appetizer.

David Burke does it again. He serves delicious, inventive food in a department store…how does he do it? I don’t know and I don’t care – just grateful that he does. The burger is a showstopper, but all the food is fantastic. The prices are what I would expect them to be in this neighborhood, but the food is WAY better than it has to be. The service is lovely, and if you come here for dinner for 2 during the Olympics when any American wins a gold medal, just say the world “gold” and you will get a bottle of wine. If that isn’t enough to get you here soon, I don’t know what is.

And it’s a great way to keep your sister from committing sororicide during a routine shopping trip.

Disclaimer: The restaurant paid for my meal. I was not required to write a review, and my opinions are my own and unbiased.*

David Burke at Bloomingdale's on Urbanspoon