Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Lobster Burger Does Not Equal A Lobster Roll

I know this Maine Lobster Burger from Bryant Park Grill looks pretty good. The alfalfa sprouts, remoulade sauce and haystack fries look freaking amazing.

But I'll tell you what. A lobster burger really pales in comparison to a lobster roll (and a crabcake for that matter). Lobster is so delicate in flavor that any kind of breading just clouds the taste. I'm sure that this one was actually pretty well executed, too. There were chunks of lobster, not a ton of breading and it was pretty well seasoned. The brioche roll was nice and fluffy and fresh. However, even so, it was only okay. It left something to be desired... like more lobster. Next time I'll hold out for the lobster roll.

Really Good Cappuccino

I like coffee that is medium-bodied. Not too bitter and not too strong. I tend to like Guatemalan and Brazilian roasts the best. And I always prefer an espresso-based coffee over a regular drip. The best I think comes from a stove-top espresso maker. Next, a French press. Of course, the kind from one of those $7,000 machines from Italy isn't too shabby either.

I'm not sure where the beans are from or how much the machine at La Colombe costs, but they make a pretty mean cappuccino.

Here's a pic from a recent cup. The flavor was nice and robust without the slightest trace of bitterness. The froth was firm enough to be spoon-worthy. The barista masterfully made a heart with the foam -- it looked a lot better before I put sugar on top. Delish!

Oh Yay-ah for Olea!

I almost lost my camera at Olea the other night! Thank god the waitress ran after me, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to post about this delicious Mediterranean meal. Olea is a cute, open space on Lafayette Avenue and Adelphi with high ceilings, big windows, and a tavern-like appeal. I'd been here once before for tapas, and found the food to be simple, well-seasoned and fresh. The wine list was also pretty great. After that experience, I couldn't wait to return for a full meal.

We started with Boquerones Marinated White Anchovies served with chopped toasted almonds and celery leaves. These were so good that they were all gone before I realized I forgot to take a picture! I've never had almonds with anchovies -- they added great texture to the fish which was pickled and marinated in a delicious mix of oil and vinegar.

For my main course, I had a special; Pan-Seared Scallops served with a barley-like grain sauteed with roasted red peppers, spinach, and portobello mushrooms. The scallops were amazing! I never really order scallops because I fear there will only be three on the plate and I will leave starving but I decided to go for it and I'm glad I did. These were perfectly seared with a nice crisp exterior and a great buttery flavor inside. The grain mixture was a nice complement; it was much lighter in flavor. The only thing was it was a bit oily in taste. Surprisingly, the dish was kind of filling.

My husband ordered the Roasted Mediterranean Brazino with fingerling potatoes and balsamic glazed cipollini onions. The dipping sauce was a lemony-garlic combo with what we think was parsley. While there were a lot of bones to navigate around, the fish was really well prepared and the sauce was to die for. I didn't try the onions or potatoes, so can't comment on those (but he said both were great).

We shared the Roasted Brussell Sprouts as a side. All I can say is yum.

All in all, a great meal. Really glad this place is only a five-minute walk from our apartment!

Restaurant Week: Chez Oskar

Last week was Restaurant Week in Brooklyn. Participating restaurants were offering 3-course Prix Fixe meals for just 23 bucks! With so many choices, it was hard to decide where to go but we settled on Chez Oskar; a neighborhood institution that's had solid reviews and is always full of patrons. I'd say it was a 'nice' experience overall. I wasn't wowed by all 3 courses, but I'd go back again.

The weakest course was my starter. This was a Restaurant Week special so I am not sure what it's called (not on the regular menu). It consisted of blanched leeks with a dijon dressing and a very light cheeze - I think ricotta? It was pretty flavorless.

The entree made up for it! It was a roasted cornish hen over creamy polenta. The flavor was great. The polenta was especially good -- it tasted buttery with a slight hint of cheese.

The Flourless Chocolate Cake was perhaps the highlight. It was more like a mousse -- light in texture and rich in chocolatey flavor. The one criticism is that once you finished the ice cream on the side, it became a little heavy.

So, ratings wise, I would give the meal a B-. That said, I think I just didn't order the right things. My cousin ordered the Lamb Shank, which was pretty amazing served with caramelized onion and potato fennel gratin and my husband ordered the Grilled Salmon served with artichokes, snow peas and oyster mushrooms, which was also good, but not especially memorable.

Lunch for Breakfast

I heard something -- once again -- on TV the other day about how important it is to have breakfast. I try to eat breakfast regularly, but I'm really not much of a breakfast foods person. I could take or leave an omelette; oatmeal is only "eh." French toast and sausage are good but I'd rather have them later in the day. That's why I am really loving Pret a Manger's Organic Egg and Tomato on a baguette! So much so that I had it no less than 3 times last week. What's funny is that the baguette version of this sandwich is only served for breakfast and not even for lunch. They have egg salad for lunch, but it's on sliced sandwich bread, rather than a baguette. I don't get it. Anyhow, the breakfast version is delish -- it's nicely seasoned with a ton of pepper and not too much mayo. Yum!