Ciao Bello

2011.Apr.25 Monday

in Life, Restaurants

“Fare thee well gone away
There’s nothing left to say
Farewell to New York City, boys”

– from Body of an American by the Pogues

A last look back, a last few nibbles, up, up and away….

In the financial district, apartment and office rentals. Do we really want to encourage them?

W Hotel downtown
The W Hotel, downtown.

That is one big freakin’ boat. Whither thou goest? Might I join you?

Perilla - bloody mary
After how good the food was on Saturday at Kin Shop, I decided on checking out the same chef’s other restaurant, Perilla, 9 Jones Street, just a few blocks away. Now, he’s apparently known for various preparations of duck, which is one of the things I liked – and although the duck weather finally cleared up for Sunday, giving me the one beautiful day out in two weeks of this vacation (and then the rain returned with a vengeance last night, followed by fog that still remains), I thought I’d check out what was on offer at the other spot. No, the drink has nothing duck related, just a good bloody mary with a touch of smokiness to it – as a guess, they put in a little chipotle tabasco. Reasonably spicy, certainly one of the better bloody marys I’ve had in awhile. [Closed]

Perilla - duck burger
And so, I was really looking forward to the much touted spicy duck burger on Perilla’s menu. Unfortunately, I’m not really looking back on it with a lot of fondness. It was a) not remotely spicy, perhaps some salt and pepper in the mix, but that seemed to be about it, though it was helped by a good slathering of mustard; b) was cooked well done and dry, pretty much all the way through – didn’t think to specify something like medium, but also figure that in a restaurant of this sort, that shouldn’t be necessary and/or they should ask; c) the bun was too big and was borderline stale; d) the jack cheese flavorless; e) the avocado, instead of sliced to top the burger, came in two big chunks that looked like someone simply broke them off with their fingers and that weren’t exactly burger-topping friendly; f) the spiced fries it came with were tasty but dripping in oil; and g) it would have been nice if the bartender had told me when I ordered it that it came with house cured pickles so I didn’t order the side dish of them on top of that – enough, as it turned out, for about four people. But then, given that she and the two wait-folk serving the room spent a good amount of time at the end of the bar comparing their sales figures, what they’d “gotten people to order” or were about to “get that table to order” (do you three realize how bad that sounds when you’ve got half a dozen customers sitting in earshot?), I guess I can’t be surprised in retrospect. All in all a far less satisfying experience than the day before.

Which kind of brings me to my one regret of the week’s dining experiences – apologies go out to Simon Glenn, chef of Tchoup Shop, a Sunday afternoon bbq extravaganza in Williamsburg, and past customer at Casa S, whom I told I would likely drop in for the afternoon. I just couldn’t face the idea of slabs of grilled meat and cold beers yesterday afternoon, despite being a beautiful day out, and what likely would have been a better experience. Next time my friend, next time.

Dinner was a return to my fave sushi bar, Kanoyama, which was as good as always, and it was great to catch up with a trio of friends for a last night out.

World Financial Center plaza
Part of the plaza outside the World Financial Center.

Tulips at the World Financial Center
Tulips that were “planted” this week all over the plaza for the opening of the Tribeca Film Festival – a riot of color. They actually arrived fully grown and blooming, in pots and then they filled in around and over the pots with mulch. I imagine that makes it easy to keep the flowerbeds always blooming with whatever’s in season – just pull out the pots when the tulips start to droop and put in something new.

Ed’s Lobster Bar
What did I choose for my last meal in town this time? Ed’s Lobster Bar, the kiosk – a setup from the end of March to the end of October on the WFC plaza, serving up lobster rolls, peekytoe crab rolls, lobster burgers, clam chowder, grilled yellowfin. Thankfully it was just misting out, so it wasn’t too wet to sit outside and enjoy soaking up a last bit of NYC atmosphere (as opposed to the atmosphere I’ll soak up in the cab enroute to LaGuardia in a little while.

Ed’s Lobster Bar - lobster roll and clam chowder
And, mixed thoughts. The clam, corn and bacon chowder was actually pretty insipid. Watery/thin, little seasoning, finely chopped bits of clam and bacon that were completely lost, and not much corn nor potatoes. A real disappointment. On the other hand, the lobster roll rocks. All props to Luke and Ben from the other day, but this is my style of lobster roll – chunks of claw and knuckle meat, the tail shredded, all held together with just enough mayo to bind it, a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice, tarragon and chives, salt and pepper – a lobster roll with some flavor to it! Comes in two sizes, 3 or 6 ounce, this is the latter, which also comes with Cape Cod Kettle Potato Chips – pretty much the same nutritional profile as the Miss Vickie’s from the other day, but more flavor and less greasy – and a beverage included.

And so, a couple of thousand $ lighter in the wallet and a couple of kilos heavier in the midsection, I head out to wing my way back to BA. For the first time in six years I have mixed feelings about leaving, and where I’m returning to – maybe it’s that seven year itch thing coming on.


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