September 24, 2010

Ladies who Lunch (late)

I had a savings code via that was expiring soon--and that just could not happen! My friend P & I finished up our workday and zipped over to Inside Park at St. Bart's for a late lunch, with a free bottle of wine and a free charcuterie plate. Yes, and Amen! The restaurant area is attached to the still-active St. Bartholomew's church on Park Avenue. There's seating indoors, but we opted for outdoor seating, where we could see the garden, the birds, the people...and enjoy our free food and wine!

There were two reds available, and we opted for the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, two of my favorites! I didn't realize until we saw the bottle that it was from the Barons de Rothschild [Lafite] vineyards, who also make one of my favorite reds (Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon).

This was a yummy, drinkable blend. I think we both enjoyed it, but I think I liked it just a smidge more than P did. Val d'ours means Valley of the Bear--how could I resist?

When I handed our server my printout for the free wine and free charcuterie, I thought he might be annoyed with us, but he warmed up to us quickly. I think he realized we weren't two cheapo tourists who were going to pretend to 'forget' what tipping is at the end of the meal (something that happens far too often in NYC).

He brought out our platter but left before explaining what anything was. I could tell the meat on the left was mortadella (droooooooool) and the far right was prosciutto (?), but other than that we were just guessing.

Pickled veggies = tongue-tingling deliciousness! Curried cauliflower, tangy carrots and beets--oh-so-crunchable. My least favorite was actually the pickles! There were also two dips: one a hearty, zesty mustard, the other what I guessed (correctly) was an anchovy paste. We kinda left that one mostly alone. ;)

Free wine, free appetizers, and outdoor seating on a cool but beautiful day in NYC? Top that! I heart it here.

I ordered the burger, which our server said was one of the best items there. It came with a red onion remoulade for dipping the fries. I'm not a 'fry gal,' normally, but these were perfect. Expertly seasoned, crispy but not dried out, and the sauce was spicy but not overwhelming. The burger was juicy, cooked just as I requested, and super-filling.

My dining companion ordered the Cobb Salad, which looked lovely, but which she said she wished would have come you know, like a regular salad. I get her point--the whole 'deconstructed' food trend can get a bite old when you want your meal to come with no assembly required. It sure did look pretty, though!

We had a great view of the garden out front, and also of the activity on Park Avenue, including the scads of crowds straining to get a glimpse of President Obama as his motorcade rode past us. It was not very crowded at all--we got there on the tail end of lunch-- and we took our time and savored every bite, every drop, every moment.

When the dessert question arose, we answered yes, even though we should have said no...especially to the financier. This thing was an awful, sandy, tasteless mess. The 'almond cream' it came with had hardly any flavor. Even the cherries were a disappointment. Ugh. Skip this dish--trust us.

The sundae, though? YUMAYUMAYUMAYUMMMMM. Definitely share it--you'll get plenty of vanilla, chocolate, and caramelized walnuts, all drizzled in hot fudge! What a lovely ending to a lovely lunch, and at a place I'd never have visited without that crazy-good coupon!

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