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Beef with DeMarco's Room & Kudos to Hell's Kitchen

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Beef with DeMarco's Room & Kudos to Hell's Kitchen

LBG | Jan 6, 2003 03:28 PM

Was planning a b-day dinner for a good friend and had originally snagged reservation at Sam DeMarco's DeMarco Room, in the back of Merge. When the restaurant unceremoniously left me a message that they were cancelling my reservation for 8 (since they forgot about a party of 35 that booked the room) - only 5 days before the party - I was seriously concerned that I wouldn't be able to secure a table elsewhere. They offered up a reservation at one of DeMarco's other spots, but I didn't think First or District would fit the bill the way that DeMarco's Room would have. Well, gotta say that ultimately it was a blessing in disguise. I called Hell's Kitchen, Chef Sue Torres' nouveau Mexican spot on 9th Avenue and they were incredibly accomodating. I hadn't eaten there in ages and I promise I won't wait that long again. The atmosphere was warm and festive. The lighting was forgiving. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. And then there was the food. We started by splitting the restaurant's famed black bean, epazote and goat cheese quesadilla with poblano cream - rich and flavorful, with just enough kick to remind you that you're eating South of the border cuisine. It's actually a main course, but it was just right for an appetizer for 8. Then we each dug into our own entrees. I couldn't decide between the grilled shrimp entree or the Long Island duck. I let the waitress decide and I was delighted with her choice: the duck. It was as crispy as the finest Peking duck I'd ever had and was perched atop a gorgeously orange mash of sweet potatoes and chipolte peppers. The dish was surrounded by a lush cranberry mole sauce. I would never have thought of mole and cranberry together, but the sauce was delectably sweet, rich and smoky at the same time - a winner combination with the duck and sweet potatoes. Everyone else was equally thrilled with their entrees. Then, we split three desserts, including a wonderfully decadent plate of carmelized banana empanandas. The b-day gal had a great time and so did everyone else. And, considering how poorly we were handled by DeMarco's room, I felt it only right to sing Hell's Kitchen's praises to other Chowhounders. (BTW - Curious if anyone has ever eaten at DeMarco's Room and might offer up an opinion on what we missed.)

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