Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Every year, I approach my birthday not as a sprint, but as a marathon. In true Glitter fashion, August becomes Glitter Appreciation Month. After an evening soiree at a local bar of the gay persuasion, I decide to have a dinner with my close friends at the ultra chic Butter. As I’m becoming more immersed in the culinary world, I’ve been slowly working through my butter phobia and thought Butter would be the perfect place to do it.
I went with my usual crew of boys/bois/ladies and was lucky enough to also be hosting my cousin from Australia the same weekend. Before dinner, we made a quick stop at my cousin’s favorite bar in New York, Angel’s Share. The entrance is hidden and the best drink isn’t on the menu. Become a fan of the Glitter Gourmet on facebook and I’ll announce the details in a few days – just click the button on the upper right on this page ;)
After some perfect cocktails, we went over to Butter and walked through the long dramatic tubular entryway to the host stand. A well-put together gaysian walked us downstairs to the “more relaxed” Birch Room. I looked longingly as we went past the stunning Great Room, a half-moon shaped room with theatrical lighting. The Birch Room wasn’t without its whimsy. The walls and ceiling are covered with, um, birch, which does a moderate job of convincing you that you aren’t in a basement.
As we sat, our yummy waiter greeted us, but alas, he seemed more interested in my female cousin than the boy battalion, damn. I began my meal with a house-made charcuterie plate. The plate had salami, duck mortadella, and chicken liver on toast with aged balsamic. Overall, the plate was a success with some meat shining brighter than others, just like a walk on the beach at Fire Island. The salami was salty and tangy and the mortadella was a bit bland. The chicken liver came as a loose spread that tasted like an excellent upscale version of the Jewish classic, chopped liver. The other appetizer on the table was a sautéed squid with garlic breadcrumbs, herb pesto and lemon. This squid was tender and crispy and the garlic paired with the pesto worked well with the fried squid, without overpowering the dish.
It was around this time that the DJ started to spin…in the dining room. Butter, much like David Barton, is a place that has a DJ for no reason. Luckily we’re a bunch of young and hip guys who can handle a little loud music.
My entrée was a crispy duck confit with lentils, crispy onions and a chestnut honey gastrique. This dish sounds decadent and it was, but it was just too much on a plate. The duck confit was rich, but the fry that made it crispy also made the duck’s rich fat almost syrupy and gummy. The lentils with honey sauce weren’t light enough to cut through the dense confit. As it turns out, one can have too much of a good thing. I only ate half.
At about this point, we became significantly less young and hip as this sick beat became a little too bumpin’ for our taste. We suddenly became a set of middle-aged housewives at a bar mitzvah, “It’s so loud we can hardly talk. I can’t even hear myself think!” Luckily, by the time our entrees were cleared\, we gave up on speaking all together and just made faces at each other.
Much to my chagrin, our beloved DJ called for the birthday boy to dance. My friends and I all decided to make the best of the situation and made our way to the dance floor just in time to see our waiter walk by with my dessert, candle aflame. We ran back to the table to make sure I didn’t lose my wish. Dessert was raspberry beignets with a vanilla dipping sauce. These were glorified jelly doughnut munchkins and anyone who’s had Cookshop’s ricotta beignets knows that a beignet and a munchkin should have nothing in common.
While I’m getting better at eating butter, I haven’t quite conquered my phobia of Butter.
Butter – 2 Sparkles **
New York, NY