14
Jun
11

Dined and Done…

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So my trusty lunch buddy, Badda Boom and I just hit this downtown smorgasbord up and man was it packed! I was hoping it was going to rain because today was the last day of my two-week detox, but alas it didn’t rain and my detox was cut short by a day. Oh darn.

So as we rolled up to the plaza we immediately knew we needed a strategy…long lines, herds of people, and so much to sample! Clearly this was a “sharing is caring” kinda day and we were going to split everything so we can try more. So we started scoping out the menu signs at tables…and everybody’s plate that was walking by. He saw some delish (and very easily portable) empanadas floating around so Salud was stop numero uno.

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The beef and cheese empanadas were $3 ea or 2/$5 and they came served with crema fresca. Badda Boom got us two and here we go. The crust was light and flaky surprisingly not too oily but the filling was the star of this one. The beef filling was charred and well seasoned but the corn provided a surprising hint of sweetness when you are least expecting it.

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As we walked around we checked out all of the different booths and writing mental postits of everything so we can narrow down what we wanted. As we took 5 steps we ran into Pound and Pence and their London Porter-Braised Lamb Sandwich served with pickled carrot salad. Braised lamb? No brainer here since BB and I both love lamb. Ok, we will start walking and checking the tables out after just this one. It was deelish. The sandwich looked like a sloppy joe but with immense flavor. The carrot salad definitely had a strong Indian influenced flavor which was probably thanks to some cumin and the strong yellow tint came from a heavy hand with the herdi (turmeric). Overall two happy grubbers and now onto the rest of the event.

There were ceviches at several tables with everyone giving the dish their own spin. Being that this IS the Wall Street area, we are pretty steakhouse-heavy down here and they definitely represented their specialities. Delmonico’s line was out.of.control. And with a roped off line we were not even touching that one…even if they did have their amazing crab mac and cheese on the menu. Only thing missing was a VELVET rope. SMH.

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The infamous Stone Street venues were out in full force also. Waterstone Grill had a tilapia sandwich and crab gazpacho, Mad Dog & Beans had their steak tacos and Mexian corn, The Dubliner had some amazing looking beef stew and the eponymous Stone Street Tavern had spicy gazpacho and some insanely yummy lobster mac and cheese. The City Hall Restaurant on Duane Street was there with their crazy grilled steak sandwich which looked scrumptous with its grilled onions and non-mayo-y coleslaw. Since we didn’t watch the seasons turn waiting on that Delmonico’s line for the crab mac n cheese we decided to get the Stone Street lobster mac n cheese with the grilled steak sandwich.

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The grilled steak sandwich was pretty good, but nothing outrageous. The carmelized onions and the coleslaw were wonderful topping because they layered sweet and salty flavor profiles nicely with the steak. The coleslaw was smart because it also contributed a unique crunchy texture to each bite that you would not usually get in a steak sandwich. I’d give it a B+.

Now onto the mac and cheese. This is a classic case of “you can put truffle oil on anything and make it taste good.” Yes, it tasted GREAT. However, there is a big BUT in here. I have a pet peeve. I hate when a dish is marketed with the spotlight on an ingrediant and you have to go on a scavenger hunt in that dish for the ingredient. Don’t serve me shrimp fried rice with one shrimp. Capiche?? Well, here we are with this bowl of lobster mac and cheese…and barely any lobster. If you click on the right picture below, you will see some red shavings. Those three red thread-like lobster pieces were the “lobster” in my dish. Really? NO BUENO! No wonder they threw in truffle oil; it was to take away from the fact that they forgot to add the lobster! Badda Boom would also like me to add in here that he thought the mac n cheese was a lil spicy. For the record, I did NOT. Let’s also keep in mind that I am Indian and I like fresh jalapenos, or as he likes to say, I like my food radioactive. Nooooo, I like my food like I like my men, with a lil flavor! Helloooo!

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Overall, this was definitely a welcome diversion to the usual humdrum of downtown lunching. If you were planning on just “running out” to grab something, this was not the place since the lines were pretty long. With that said, considering the insane turnout this year, I have to commend all of the restaurants for their overall efficiency and hospitality. With this being over, what now? Food trucks folks!! They seems to be migrating down to FiDi in droves this year and I’ve noticed. Now that my detox is over, let the food truck games begin 🙂

Salud

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