Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Sunday in New York

My job can be pretty demanding. This may come as a shock to those of you who believe the life of a management consultant to be a cosseted existence of champagne and oysters. Sadly, this is not so. Generally it consists of late nights, missed lunchtimes and too many airline lounges. But sometimes, just sometimes, my traveling life can be pretty sweet.

I've been on my current project, an Oracle R12 implementation since November 2011. During the intervening period, I've had to travel to the US several times, sometimes up to 3 weeks at a time. I thrive on international projects, working with a diverse range of colleagues and clients, but being away from home and family can suck.

On my last trip, and with some military quality planning, himself and myself arranged to meet on New York's Fifth Avenue. He flew from Dublin, while I flew north from Raleigh. Our trip coincided with Fleet Week, so the city was at once both quiet and stuffed full of sailors. The weekend flew past with trips to the Empire State Building, Liberty Island, Ellis Island and the 9/11 Memorial. We didn't plan any food adventures, as the time simply hadn't been available, but luckily Sunday turned out to be a pretty decent day food wise.

Sunday was already bright and warm when we left our hotel on West 37th Street. Brunch was booked in a restaurant on West 23rd Street, so we decided to stroll over, giving ourselves a chance to look round. On our way, we passed Brgr on 7th Ave (between 26th and 27th) where I noticed a sign for their milkshake, proclaimed to be the best Milkshake by New York Magazine. The famous milkshake was a rich, creamy concoction of blueberry and pomegranate. It's pricy at $5.50 plus taxes, but definitely delicious.  
Blueberry & pomegranate milkshake at Brgr
We passed the famous Hotel Chelsea, now hidden under a heap of scaffolding. It's impressive to stand outside this famous location, reading the names of famous guests from the wall plaques. Bob Dylan, Charles Bukowski, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Arthur C. Clarke and even Brendan Behan have all lived at the Chelsea. Then it was onwards for us to the Guilty Goose, a lovely family inn in the heart of Chelsea, where the ground floor has been turned into a restaurant with a fine selection of craft beers. 

Duck and fowl features front and centre on the Guilty Goose menu and the brunch menu serves many classics, all with a little twist. After ordering we were served some rather dull corn bread, along with French press coffee (no espresso based drinks here). My D.L.T., a twist on the classic B.L.T. featuring duck ham, fried egg, lettuce and oven dried tomatoes. This was served with garlic aioli and garlic french fries ($16.00). This was decent enough, but could have benefited from more of the tasty duck ham.
The Duck, Lettuce & Tomato (D.L.T.)
Himself had chosen the Goose omelette which arrived as a delicate pale yellow wrap, covered in micro leaves ($15.00). The omelette was light and fluffy, enclosing a wonderful mix of goose confit, olives, chèvre and english peas. Goose is a meat that I tend to associate with heaviness and Christmas, but here it was light and wonderful.

The Goose omlette
Leaving the Guilty Goose, we continued down to West 22nd Street, where we ascended to the High Line Park. This amazing park was once a 30 foot elevated train line which was originally used to take dangerous train and tram traffic off the New York street level. Unused since 1980, it has since been turned into a mile long promenade on the west side of Manhattan. Its layout changes as you walk, sometimes wide with greenery and benches, sometimes narrow with birdhouses. The sun was blazing down at this stage and it was so enjoyable to sit basking in its warmth.

The wonderful Highline park
We then descended from the High Line Park and followed West 23rd Street down to the Chelsea Waterside Park and Pier. From there we had a lovely view out over the Hudson River, and a less lovely view of a man in a bright neon blue banana hammock playing badminton. That's New York for you, you simply couldn't make it up. 
View of the Hudson River from Chelsea Park
Our fairytale time in New York was drawing to a close, but we made a heroic effort to fit in one last meal at Righteous Urban Barbecue (RUB). New York City isn't exactly where you'd expect to find top-notch BBQ, but Chef Paul Kirk is hailed as one of the best pitmasters in the world and a member of the BBQ Hall of Fame. The restaurant itself is simple and basic. As it was a warm and sultry New York evening, all the windows and doors were wide open, with seating spilling out onto the pavement.

I chose the Burnt End Dinner, which features the point of the brisket, cooked twice until crispy and lightly sauced (€20.95). This is a limited availability dish, and comes with two sides, for which I chose onion strings and super fries. I love the crispy ends of roast meat. In fact, I'm the person who asks carvery chefs for all those crunchy, tasty end bits. These burnt ends didn't disappoint, and neither did the sides.
Burnt ends platter with fries and onion strings
Himself chose a mixed plate of barbecued chicken and ribs. Overall, he wasn't that impressed as the rib pieces were tough and chewy, more reminiscent of jerky. Both platters featured the weird addition of sliced white pan.
Mixed platter of barbecued chicken and ribs
Rub BBQ wasn't quite the high note on which we had hoped to end our New York trip, but it's worth checking out if you do find yourself in NYC, with no chance of venturing further south.  Real BBQ is a great modern cuisine, but unfortunately without too many devotees in Ireland (other than Mike Corcoran down in Ballinascarty, Cork). 

And so it was that our short trip to New York came to an end. We reluctantly got into separate taxis and headed to our separate airports. But we can always say that we arranged to meet on 5th Avenue. 

Brgr, 287 7th Avenue, New York 10001
The Guilty Goose, 131 West 23rd Street, New York 10011
Rub BBQ, 208 West 23rd Street, New York 10011


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