Two CHOW editors on a caloric extravaganza exploring innovation, novelty, and deliciousness. RSS
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Far-Out Belgian Food

Seriously craving a decent beer list after the beer wasteland that was LA, we decided to have our first dinner in NY at Resto. Described as serving creative Belgian food, with a deep selection of Belgian beers, it’s in a more mellow, shaded block of Midtown Manhattan. We’d read that they do a lot of fun beer pairing dinners and whole animal feasts.

The cozy, tasteful, wood-walled space was inviting, and our server incredibly nice. We were handed a vintage hardback book that had the beer list taped inside: a cute idea. There were a number of great Belgian beers to choose from, including a whole sours section, and American craft beers in Belgian styles (from that list, we tried a Sly Fox saison, which was good).

We had three dishes between the two of us, and somewhat surprisingly, they were all pretty unusual interpretations. First were deviled eggs, which were served on squares of battered and deep-fried puréed pork squares. It was sort of like a cross between an egg roll and a deviled egg, and not the first time on this trip we’ve seen meat used in place of bread to hold some kind of topping. Genius bar food.

The beet salad had yogurt and granola on it. Weird, right? The granola wasn’t very sweet, and you could kind of see how the chef (Bobby Hellen) got the idea: Beets are usually paired with feta, feta is kind of like yogurt, granola goes with yogurt which usually has fruit, beets are really sweet like fruit. It worked, sort of like eating a more savory breakfast parfait.

And finally, the charcuterie plate of our dreams. It contained four kinds of house-made sausage: a boudin blanc with orange zest in it, served sliced on top of a black truffle purée. A lamb sausage served with a dill-yogurt dip. A blood sausage rife with cinnamon, served in a ramekin. And lastly, a fantastic, cumin-y chorizo, curled up in a spiral on a toothpick. There was also house-cured ham and bacon. Wow.

We really liked this hearty interpretation of the charcuterie plate. Where we’re from, you generally get a variety of thinly sliced, cured meats. Nice, don’t get us wrong. But this bevy of sausages was a gastric bonanza! Makes sense: When you’re seriously getting your drink on with some fine beers, a dainty piece of prosciutto isn’t gonna do it.