January 14, 2014

Butter Midtown

While LaShauna was in town for her birthday, we wanted to find a fabulous spot for a celebration dinner. Alex Guarnaschelli's Butter Midtown had opened recently, and it was on the top of my proverbial List.

We got a reservation for 7 and showed up pretty early. They weren't able to seat us right away (nor did we expect them to), so we got a seat at the spacious, welcoming bar. These bar seats are fabulously comfy, and we could take in the whole restaurant, which features communal seating as well as luxurious booths.

Our bartender, Devon, set us up right away with drinks: the Anjou & Forelle for me (pear liqueur, pear vodka, and a pear garnish) and the Calamansi (Grey Goose Vodka, fresh watermelon 'ice cubes,' mint, and Calamansi lime juice) for LaShauna. Cocktails are $15 each.

That pear cocktail was so delicious-- not too sweet, full pear flavor, and a perfectly crunchy slice of pear on the outside. I could easily have had another, but then we saw Devon make a mojito with elderflower liqueur-- and that was our second round.
Devon was great-- attentive, while working with a lot of customers, and he makes a perfect cocktail.

It was about 20 minutes past our seating time and we hadn't been called to our table, so we checked in ourselves. They sat us a few minutes later at a booth. This is when service went from stellar to sadly spotty.
We eventually got some bread and butter (herbed and salted--both stellar), and just about pounced on that.
We ordered one more cocktail (oh be quiet), another Elderflower mojito. The young woman taking our order asked if we wanted the Mount Gay mojito. I clarified that it was the one Devon made with elderflower. She looked a bit confused, but nodded...and came
back with 2 Mount Gay mojitos. We took a sip and decided that these would not work. We actually sent them back to the bar-- something I've never done!

They replaced our drinks quickly, and we tore into our appetizers.
I went with the Welsh Rarebit, which at Butter Midtown, is a toasted pullman bread with melted Wisconsin cheddar & ale sauce. The wholegrain mustard was strong and in the forefront, but it didn't overpower the delicious cheese and ale flavors, either.

LaShauna's app was the ricotta crostini-- 3 crunchy bits of bread with housemade ricotta, hen of the woods mushrooms and toasted, crackly brussels sprouts leaves. It was a small portion, but LaShauna still shared it with me. I could have eaten a bowl of those leaves, and I'm still wholly undecided on brussels sprouts in general!

LaShauna had a pork chop special for her entrée, and she loved every last bite of it.
My entrée was the wild boar, over toasted fregola (a Sardinian pasta similar to couscous, but even better, I think) and sautéed kohlrabi, which I'd never had before, but enjoyed. I tried cutting into the meat and it felt incredibly tough, but I kept sawing away. It took me a few seconds to realize the twine was still tied around the meat. Oops! Once I removed that (it was a bit tricky/messy), I cleaned my plate. Squeaky clean. I hate to say the boar tasted 'gamey,' because that's a word that normally has a negative connotation in my book, but it was definitely different from my usual fare and quite tasty. It was supremely tender (minus the twine) and expertly done.
We also had an order of fingerling potatoes ($10), and there was more than enough to share for 2. These were so delicious and craveable that I kept eating even when I knew I was getting full. The perfect texture, seasoning, and size. Bravo.
We pushed through and MADE room for dessert. I ordered the Dobosch torte: multiple layers of sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with a caramel drizzle that gave it a buttery flavor and a fabulous crunch (with a little sea salt to boot). The textures alone kept me coming back for bite after bite. I'd probably share this next time, but I would definitely order it again.
LaShauna's dessert was the house made S'more. This one definitely was NOT very shareable, but she still gave me a bite. It was FLAWLESS. My only wish is that there were more of them!
I had mentioned in both OpenTable (online reservation program) and to our server that we were celebrating LaShauna's birthday, but they still forgot a candle or sparkler or whatever they normally do for a special occasion. I was definitely more disappointed than LaShauna was, but I still wish the servers paid a bit more attention overall. This was not a cheap meal, and I definitely felt like we were getting service that was subpar compared to the on-point food and drinks.
TL;DR: Service is spotty- we actually wish we'd stayed at the bar. Despite my mentioning it twice (in Open Table and to the server), they still forgot about LaShauna's birthday, and we waited a long time for placing orders, getting food, and getting the bill. Everyone was nice, it just seemed a bit.. off. I'd go back at least once more, but I'd definitely eat at the bar.

Butter Midtown
70 W 45th St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 253-2828

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...