Butter (NoHo)

So our first dinner during this summer’s Restaurant Week(s) is also going to be the kick-off dinner for the newly formed Phat Friday Dinner Club: Brewmaster, Lil Miss Chatterbox, Muñeca and yours truly–with possible guest diners every month.  LMC wanted to check out Butter for a while, so that’s going to be my first stop on the Restaurant (2-) Week journey.  When you walk in you immediately notice its trendy, contemporary motif.  The long, lofty space has no windows and a lit up wall with images of birch trees at the end of the dining room.  Cool.  But how’s the food?

Since it’s Restaurant Week we were there for the prix fixe.  Brewmaster and LMC both had the Soup of the Day which was the silky corn chowder.  They both enjoyed it and kept commenting on the freshness of the soup.  It was rich, yet light with the corn kernels freshly cut off of the cob.  Muñeca ordered the charcuterie plate which consisted of pork sausage, chicken liver paté on toast with pickled radishes and coffee-rubbed bacon.  YUM.  First let me just say paté is one of those dishes that can very easily be hit or miss.  If not not done right, it can be inedible and VERY gamey.  At Butter, Chef Guarnaschelli nailed it.  It was perfect: well-seasoned and silky.  The sausage and the bacon were, honestly, not memorable but good.  I had the mussels which were served in a white wine sauce with smoked trout and roasted chunks of sweet garlic.  YUM.  I had to pass the sauce around the table with the bread so everyone could get their dunk on.

Onto the main courses.   Brewmaster and LMC had gone with the same dish again–the roasted chicken with romesco sauce and grilled scallions.  Romesco sauce is a red pepper based sauce originating from Spain that is made with nuts, garlic and olive oil.  The chicken was perfectly roasted with the skin being nice and crispy and the meat being very tender and moist.  Good dish, but nothing earth shattering.  Next up, Muñeca had the Beet Ravioli with the roasted beet greens, parmesan and chervil.  Chervil is a mild, seasonal herb that is similar to parsley which offers a bit more delicate flavor than it’s stronger cousin.  This dish was good and lived up to Chef Guarnaschelli’s standards of using primarily market-fresh ingrediants.  Each ingrediant worked well with each other yet stood out enough where you could taste each component.  Definitely a well executed dish.  Last up was the Braised Creekstone Braised Short Ribs with braised radishes, olives and capers.  Really??  Everytime I think of capers in a meat dish, I think of Latin-style dishes…not noveau American.  But this dish worked well and it didn’t have any sofrito in it!  This was the first time I’ve tried the braised variety of radishes and they were perfectly done in the juice reduction.  Very good dish, but I would have to say that the Beet Raviolis were my favorite of the night. 

Last up are the desserts.  I had the “Dobosch” Cake with Chocolate Butter cream and salted caramel.  This is a traditional Hungarian layer cake which is topped off with slices of caramel to keep it from drying out.  In our NY version we had the slightly dry cake enrobed and layered in chocolate buttercream, however there was salted caramel on top to give that unexpected contrast in flavor.  If you’ve been reading this blog carefully, you’ll know from my past posts I LOVE the combination of sweet and salty so this dish hit the mark pretty well.  Next up is the Peach Cobbler that Brewmaster and Muñeca ordered.  It was good.  The fruit was spiced and light and not overly sweet, but the highlight was the bourbon peach ice cream on top.  Disclaimer:  I am a complete sucker for ice cream.  Last but not least is my favorite dessert from Butter’s prix fixe menu…the Raspberry Semifreddo.  WOW.  It was SO good.  Putting aside that raspberry is one of my favorite fruit flavors, this dessert was skillfully done.  Not only the flavor execution, but the textures were perfect.  It was firm, tart and the baked meringue on top gave it a great chewy sweetness that the tart semifreddo needed.  YUM!

Eating at Butter you get what Alexandra Guarnaschelli is trying to do with her green market concept.  She wants us to dine on fresh comforting food that is still upscale at the same time.  I think she succeeded.  The food was familar and fresh but done as high-brow as the $35 prixe fix price will allow for.  The meal wet my appetite enough to come back and venture off to their a la carte menu to try some of  her other well-conceptualized dishes.  Stay tuned for that!



1 Response to “Butter (NoHo)”

  1. August 10, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    I love Butter’s space, the runner up to THE LION in which restaurant would I want to live in.

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