“I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.” – Former President George Bush
It is always a pleasure to dine with someone else who not only appreciates food, but has a refined palate and is up for a little culinary adventure. In fact, my list of friends whose palates I trust are few, at this time only three people. They are all well dined, and perhaps more importantly, observant and appreciative eaters. Most importantly, though, they are all willing to put up with me. That is a lot to ask of anyone.
Like an addict seeking an ever-greater high, my culinary adventures are becoming increasingly….unhealthy. In less than two weeks I leave New York, in fear there are so many restaurants unvisited, streets unwalked and cocktails untried. And so, in my last ditch efforts of trying to dance with every girl at the ball, I am learning the art of gluttony. Thankfully, my operational eating tempo is unsustainable, for both my wallet and my stomach. In the meantime, I will practice one of the seven deadliest.
This brings me to my latest adventure, a meaty, boozy feast. The evening commenced at Gotham Bar & Grill, where I shared their famous Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, complete with Japanese cucumber, shiso leaf and sweet miso Asian ginger vinaigrette. Accompanied by a classic Bombay Sapphire martini, it was a nice, but ultimately unremarkable beginning to our meal. I am not sure what to say about Gotham’s tuna, other than how my dining companion said, “Watery.” My martini was also poorly constructed, and the room as a whole very corporate. I cannot judge the place on a raw-tuna dish alone, but awkward bartenders, uninteresting tuna, drab décor – little desire to go back, and glad we went only for an appetizer.
After a quick drizzly walk across Union Square, we arrived at dorm room sized Casa Mono. Accompanied by a lovely bottle of Ramirez de la Piscina Gran Reserva 1999 (excellent choice sommelier Alex Alan, despite your calling it “lower end”), we ordered four unique dishes:
Sepia with Salsa Verde
Foie Gras with Cinco Ceballos (in the words of Eater.com, “Gently seared, fatty foie gras over two crostini that soak in fat, balsamic vinegar, and a slightly sweet sauce. The clincher, as the name suggests, is the array of onions that provides bite and offsets the richness”)
Beef Tongue with Marrow Broth and Barely
To finish, we ate the Seasonal Sorbetto y Moscatel, which in this case was cantaloupe flavored.
Casa Mono was very, very good food. Mind blowing? Or as like to say, transcendent? No. But damn tasty.
Time for a nightcap (or two), our journey continued to Booker and Dax at Momofuku Saam. While pondering the meaning of life, my overstuffed stomach received some steamed pork buns and an excellent Manhattan as the evening dwindled away.
After escorting my dining companion home, one singular thought dominated my mind: Is this how rich men got gout?
I do not like broccoli.