Recently, and at long last, I finally got to try Alex Guarnaschelli’s flagship restaurant, Butter. A few weeks ago, I had made reservations to go during restaurant week, but at the last minute, had to cancel the reservation. Part of me is glad that I did. Often times restaurant week menus can be a bit lacking and often aren’t nearly as good as the restaurant on a regular night. Why you ask? Well, as my friend who has worked in kitchens has told me, they really just pump out dishes more quickly and often times put a bit less care into them. When the opportunity arose to try Butter with the Vegetarian and my father-in-law, of course I accepted!
Normally I make a brief mention of the restaurant’s interior, but with Butter, I need more than a mention it. When you first walk into butter, you enter a small foyer area, adorned by all wood, including the small log-like chairs in a small entry way. As you walk through a narrow (not too narrow) foyer, covered in the same wood, you enter into a magnificent dining room that truly takes you out of the hustle and bustle of the streets of new york. The room is truly spectacular, filled with small trees on the side, with white holiday lights (its no longer x-mas, so that’s what I’m calling them) and a backdrop at the end of the room that appears to be a still forest. With the backdrop lit up, you really feel at peace. The ceiling contains semi-circle shaped bands of wood, each with hidden speakers to play music throughout the room. It is definitely one of the nicest dining rooms I have seen in Manhattan, let alone the country.
Ok, now the food. At the top of this entree you can see a picture of my scallop appetizer which was three perfectly seared scallops with beer braised carrots, pork belly cracklings and crispy marjoram. The dish was composed and well balanced. I could have used a bit more sauce though.
For entrees, two of us ordered the magnificent hunk of veal chop you see below. The chop was about the size of the one seen in the Flinstones cartoon credits. Topped with crispy veal sweet breads and a celery root slaw and braised greens, it was a truly magnificent plate of food. The celery root was a bit bland, but the sweetbreads were crispy and delicious. The greens were succulent, juicy and soaked up all the sauce that the veal chop left behind.
The vegetarian ordered the one vegetarian dish, the ricotta ravioli with grilled king oyster mushrooms and pine nut gremolata. I tasted the dish and it was rich rich rich…utter deliciousness. I didn’t see a single fleck on the plate afterword, so I assume it was enjoyed.
For dessert we split the three raspberry beignets with a delicious vanilla dipping sauce. This was a nice end to a glorious meal. Overall, I would give butter 4 stars (out of 5), as the food and service was almost impeccable. There were a few minor flaws with parts of a few dishes, but overall, you are going to get a meal you will remember.