My mother occasionally has me lunch with people I don't know. It happens often. I find myself lunching or conversing with a colleague, a friend of a friend who shares an interest in food or writing, or even a friend of a friend who knows this other friend who my mother somehow got a hold of and portioned me over for lunch. This past Friday was one of those lunches. I was to meet Heather Zusman, a warm and wonderful woman who works with my mother at the Museum of Arts and Designl they are both docents there. ( The new show is fabulous! I just came from the Klaus Moje opening; fantastic pieces in glass, and sculpture!)
Heather and I are both foodies and were up for anything. After searching on the web, mostly NYmag, we finally decided on Blue Ribbon Bakery, which is across the street from Blue Ribbon Bar and a Blue Ribbon to-go bakery half way down the block. Apparently there are Blue Ribbons dispersed throughout the city, but every time I pass by this particular one, the windowed room is always filled with people eating sumptuous meals.
Heather and I both agree that the combination of flavors and sides raised the dishes to new dimensions of taste.
I had never had beef marrow before and I was interested to eat and experience the taste. I only saw pure fat in the trough shaped half bone brought to the table. The beef marrow, too, on the little fork was just a clear fatty jelly.
Once it was drizzled with a red wine sauce, smeared on a buttery toast point, sprinkled with crisped parsley and bejeweled by a pinch of sea salt, you have a combination so good that you'll want to rub the bone dry with the toast when that little fork no longer finds any marrow.
My initial taste of the trout was without any added condiment, which stood well on its own. But the squeeze of lemon, dab of tartar sauce, and the bitter sweet crunch of the radish salad (I think it was a radish salad), certainly made the dish more interesting if not better.
Escargot were served traditionally in oil, butter and garlic pesto. I always love the nutty flavor of the garlic and oil combined with tender escargot but I did not get the same DIY discovery satisfaction as I did with the other dishes. Though I did soak up the litle pools of oil left in the porcelain cubbyholes with many pieces of bread.
I'm not sure if I was just overly satisfied from the savory appetizers or if I was overwhelmed by the large brick of bread pudding drowning in carmel sauce and melting icecream, but after a bite or two the banana walnut bread pudding started to seem like a $14.25 over ordering mistake.
But despite that very minor letdown for the unneeded finale and the aloof and seemingly uninterested servers (uninterested in making recommendations or filling our empty water glasses), enjoying those appetizers in our warm and cozy wooden booth while looking out the large corner windows on two of the most beautiful streets in the West Village, made for a wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon.
35 Downing Street (Downing and Bedford)
New York, NY 10014