NYC Visit continued -
After a visit to Ellis Island (where my great,great grandparents arrived in America), we found ourselves in Lower Manhattan on Sunday afternoon. A number of recommendations on the board included Guginos in TriBeca. I also knew Les Halles was in the area. We decided on Les Halles.
It was 1:30, the restaurant was empty save for 1 table. We tend NEVER to eat in an empty restaurant, but we figured restaurants in this part of the city are not busy on the weekends, especially Sunday because it is the "financial district", so we tried it.
This is a well appointed restaurant, extremely reminiscent of the brasseries in Paris. I ordered a glass of white wine, which was pleasant. Hubby had a Stella Artois beer. We both ordered the onion soup, which was a knock out. The broth was rich and complex, the onions were sweet and sliced extremely thin. They were purple from the broth. The soup was topped with a wonderfully thick layer of gruyere laid over the traditional slice of bread. We were very pleased with this.
I ordered a salad nicoise (we were eating at Mesa Grill with my parents later.) It would have earned good marks but for the chunk of canned tuna. I suppose I should have asked, but I somehow expected fresh tuna in this restaurant. Hubby had a gratin with potatoes and lardon, which was OK, but very rich. He could only eat half of it. The fat had separated from the cheese, which is not very pleasant. The lunch was off their Sunday brunch prix fixe menu for $16. Overall, it was a mediocre experience except for the onion soup. I think the empty room was discouraging. I would try Les Halles again, but perhaps the Grammercy location.
That evening we went to Mesa Grill to celebrate our 25th anniversary with my parents, who live in NJ. This was my parents choice. OK...lots of varied opinions on this resturant. I thought the atmosphere was bright and jolly and comfortable. We started with margaritas (very well done) and then had Gruet champagne from New Mexico - a blanc de noirs which was delicious and the gave us a nice price on the bottle. Hubby and I had a peeky toe crab cocktail with avocado and mango and jalapeno. Nice portion size. The textures worked nicely together and jalapeno had a great kick. Mom had a smoked duck quesadilla which was rich, spicy and delicious. Dad had the shrimp and garlic tamale.Very savory. For main dishes, I had the crispy crusted blue corn whole striped bass. It was served perfectly posed as if it were swimming across my plate. The crust was very spicy and crispy, while the flesh was sweet and moist. I ate it down to the bones. Hubby had the spice-crusted NY steak with the double baked potato. He raved about the steak...I tasted that potato - mmmm...with creme fraiche and horseradish. Mom had the 16-spice chicken which I tasted. Spice combo was very complex and mellow. Dad had the garlic prawns which he devoured, so I didn't get to taste! I had the dulce de leche cake with pecan ice cream for dessert. Very rich...too much after the meal. All in all, we enjoyed Mesa Grill. The food was well prepared, well presented, and very tasty. I liked the reastaurant's take on using southwestern flavors...creative and very different from Coyote Cafe in New Mexico. The service was fine and the atmosphere was fun. With so many great places in NYC, it would probably be a while before I went back, but there are some other dishes I want to try...the chile relleno, for one.
I'm out of time for now...Daniel review next.