One Hit Wonders – Good, Le Pescadeux, Pure Thai Cookhouse

I don’t always eat full meals at the restaurants I visit – if I had 3 courses and cocktails 5 times a week, I would be gigantic, poor, and probably have palate fatigue. This is a rundown of some delicious dishes that I have had at restaurants on which I couldn’t quite write a full review, but  knew that they deserved some notice. 
This restaurant is sophisticated, hip, and romantic with candlelight and an upscale comfort food menu. Though the service was a little uppity and aloof, the food and moderate prices made up for it. 
Burger with Aged Cheddar Cheese and Fries
Coarsely ground meat with a thick, dark crust concealing a warm, rosy patty. It was so moist that juices spilled onto the plate with each bite, saturating the salty fries with delicious bovine taste. The cheese was exceptional – tangy, sharp and thickly cut, and it stood up perfectly to the sturdy but not tough bun and that incredibly meaty burger. I am a big fan of condiments, but actually, this required no ketchup. It was more like steak than a burger – just fantastic, and worth every penny.

This lilliputian SoHo restaurant specializes in Montreal style seafood. That means lots of shellfish, including a fantastic oyster selection:
Beau Soleils, Moonstones, and Pine Islands
The Pine Islands were a first time oyster for me and each one knocked my socks off. Large, soft, and positively creamy – there was no salinity or iron-y taste. These were mild, light, and luxuriously textured. A squirt of lemon was all that was needed – didn’t even use any Tabasco here.
The best part? Each night from 4-7 PM, the oysters are all half price. 
Can I get a culinary “booyah?”

Every person who has been to Pure Thai Cookhouse has LOVED it; calling it incredibly spicy, incredibly delicious Thai food in a very casual, inexpensive setting. 
Wok Curry Paste with Pork, String Beans, Eggplant, Basil, Bamboo Shoots, Green Peppercorn Kaffir Lime Curry Sauce
This is perfect for those days when you want something with flavor but not too much spice. It is not overly greasy, garlicky, or salty. The pork is tender, and the sauce is very subtle and well balanced – sweet, bitter, sour, and just a bit spicy. My sister finds it far spicier than me, but she is a major wimp. The eggplant is soft but not mushy and the pork is thickly cut and tender, with no tendons or gristly bits. Pam is still my favorite Thai in the area, but if I had to go back to work in the afternoon and didn’t want a major food hangover, this would be my spot for sure. 
And there ya have it: Some of Fritos and Foie Gras’ one hit wonders!
Good on Urbanspoon
Le Pescadeux on Urbanspoon
Pure Thai Cookhouse on Urbanspoon

Jane – The Best French Toast in NYC

If you head to Jane for brunch, you need a reservation. I am not joking, this is not a test. You must have reservations, and even if you do, you might wait a little bit. Not long, just about 10 minutes. Not going to lie, the wait got under my skin, but it was handled pretty well, considering the throngs of people both in the restaurant and outside it. If you don’t have a reservation, have fun with your 2 hour wait.

The restaurant itself seemed casual, but to be honest, it was hard to tell. There were hip 20-something Soho-type beautiful people everywhere – standing at the bar, crammed 6 to a table, swinging from the rafters. Well, maybe not really, but considering that each of the brunch entrees comes with a complimentary cocktail, it isn’t hard to imagine. Bottom line – this place is crowded and caters to a young crowd. 

Not really my scene. But you know what is?

Farmer’s Omelette – Ham, Caramelized Onions, and Gruyere Cheese

A huge portion of scrambled eggs – creamy and done to a medium consistency. Onions caramelized so sweet that they were almost like sugar, nutty Gruyere cheese, and soft, salty bites of ham. It was so delicious and nuanced that it didn’t even need hot sauce – a first for me. Try as I might, I actually couldn’t finish the large serving – I like getting my money’s worth! Served with lightly dressed mesclun greens, it was a perfect brunch dish. Well, almost perfect:

Cheddar Grits

These made it perfect. An egg dish just needs a carby side, and these were fantastic. Creamy and thick enough to be eaten with a fork, the taste was smoky rather than tangy – it must have been smoked cheddar. There was heavy cream in there, and a light hand with the salt. These are a must order. 

Creme Brulee French Toast

Oh. My. Gawd. I am not into sweets in the morning, but this may become my exception. The bread was amazingly custardy and soft – it really tasted like cake more than French toast. The taste was more rich than sweet – eggy, creamy, heavily scented with vanilla but with only a light dusting of powdered sugar to bring out the sweetness. The crust was crunchy and golden, and dipped in real maple syrup, it is good enough for dessert. Absolutely my favorite sweet breakfast in NYC.

Jane is a scene. It is loud, it is crowded, and you might even have to wait for reservations. However, the portions are huge, they are very reasonably priced, and the food is just delicious. The eggs are savory, the grits are creamy, and the French toast is the stuff dreams are made of. So let me revise my first sentence: WHEN you go to Jane, you need reservations. Because there really is no IF.
Jane on Urbanspoon