Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rose Water

It has inhabited a space on the corner of Park Slope's Sixth Avenue for over a decade and so, on a rainy autumn Tuesday, I finally went. The room is intimate and spare, bolstered by a lovely little protected patio that, in summer, provides plein air seating. I started with a surprisingly deep dry sherry--to find a restaurant that even serves a dry sherry as an apertif is a minor victory--and followed with a half bottle of Willamette Valley pinot noir. Half bottles! Sherry! Such sophistication does not exist in my own home borough. (And both, by the way, should be de rigeur in today's changing restaurant climate.)

We shared two appetizers, a by-the-book but competent pork belly, served with a cabbage and apple slaw and a fried triangular pasta--trenne--with a duck ragu. The pasta had the crisp consistency of good French fries, nothing to complain about (fried pasta is kind of an inspired idea, by the way). Next, a chicken with crispy skin but a little too little breast moisture; thick cut duck cooked a perfect medium rare; and a side of completely addictive fried Brussels sprouts served with an equally hedonistic mayonnaise. Why eat Brussels sprouts any other way?

Dessert did not disappoint; apple slices arrived in a thick, crisp batter and with cream cheese ice-cream and caramel. Perhaps it wasn't the most original meal out there, but there's a reason Rose Water has overcome the New York test of time.

Rose Water
787 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Next Momofuku

Ok, not really, but it does seem like Asian small plates with a Korean bent are all the rage. Danji, a minimalist space with 30 something seats in midtown west, fits in just fine. Aside from the wait, which wasn't nearly as long as that over at RedFarm, service was pleasant enough. I started with a beverage of watermelon-infused tequila and a background heat I couldn't identify. On one side of their menu, Danji offers traditional Korean fare; flip the sheet and arrive at a group of selections entitled "modern." Both sides do the country justice.

A riff on steak tartare, complete with a jardinere of daikon radish and perfect cubes of fatty meat, comes with the requisite quail egg yolk. It doesn't disappoint. Neither does a salad of chewy whelks, arugula, and red onion, paired with a tangle of buckwheat noodles, all cold. A trio of kimchis--Napa cabbage, daikon, cucumber--though tasty, left me wanting more. No, really. It just wasn't enough food.

That was the theme as a whole, actually. Bulgogi sliders, so rich they actually dripped fat, came in a tiny duo. I could have crushed five more. Crispy, spicy chicken wings came five to a plate. But bacon paella (a bit of a misfire, actually) with a fried hen egg was enough for two people and then some. Too much fat in the skillet prevented the rice from assuming the caramelization endemic to a good paella.

Still, the food is worth the hunger pains. And anyway, you can always order more.

346 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019