Right in the heart of the theater district, db Bistro is a long narrow restaurant with a small lounge at the front, long tables with high stools and a bar in the middle and dining tables at the back. The seating is close like a French bistro and we felt we could not help but talk to the diners around us. We received both menu and theater recommendations. Decor is modern, the music is lively, and with many of the staff in t-shirts and servers wearing aprons, it has a casual atmosphere although I also noted other diners were dressed in nice casual clothes, some women in very trendy clothes.We had an early reservation at 5:15 but within half an hour, the place was almost entirely full as most people were going to a show after dining. The noise level was high which my DH liked because he felt it gave the place energy. The wine list is not lengthy, but it is still a good sized list with some very good wines reasonably priced. For starters, DH had the lobster salad, which the server warned him was fairly large. With avocado, hearts of palm and artichoke hearts in addition to generous chunks of lobster and the mixed greens, it was very filling for a salad. I had squash soup which was creamy and thick with bits of cilantro and grated squash for hits of additional flavour and texture. DH had the famous burger (known for its $29 price tag, but now $32) with fois gras and short ribs in the middle of a patty which was not large in diameter but at least twice as high as a usual hamburger. It seems to be a popular item. A man with two women next to us also ordered the burger and the two couples on the other side ordered three among the four of them. One of them advised that you can just pick it up and eat it, but DH opted to use a knife and fork. The burger comes with either pommes frites or pommes souffle. DH had the frites but the souffles, which appear to be puffed up wedges of potato, it looked very interesting.
I had a blanquette de veau, which was veal braised in white wine and butter with an assortment of vegetables and a crunchy basmati rice dish on the side. We loved our meals but both were rich and filling. For a French oriented restaurant, we found the portion sizes American. For dessert, DH had a chocolate tarte with raspberries and ginger ice cream. I had the chocolate pot de creme which came with hazelnut praline and passion fruit sorbet. Neither of us could finish our desserts which was a shame because they were both so delicious and unique. The different Boulud restaurants all seem to have outstandingly good pastry chefs whose offerings are consistently top. If you go, save room for dessert.
October 19, 2006
From journal Entertainment in New York City