Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

THE MUSKET ROOM, 265 Elizabeth Street (between Houston and Prince Street), Nolita

Elizabeth Street has been flooded with Australian restaurants for quite a few years. Some might even call this stretch “Little Australia.” But up until recently, the street has been lacking the flavors of Australia’s neighbor New Zealand.

We don’t have nearly as much Kiwi food in the city, but after trying the trendy and refined plates at The Musket Room, I’m realizing we need a lot more. Most folks from New Zealand would recognize certain ingredients here, but Chef Matt Lambert is deconstructing many dishes and bringing a fresh perspective.

The menu features lots of berries, seafood, and wild game. And a tempting pavlova at the end of the meal, which we successfully resisted. We’ll have to come back for the classic dessert.

New Zealand Red Deer with Flavors of Gin at THE MUSKET ROOM

Deer is not something you often see on menus in this country. Perhaps the more politely named venison, but red deer sounds quite primal. But the masterfully cooked meat medallions were tender and meaty with just a hint of gamines. Even more exciting was the accompanied “flavors of gin.”

The meat was not cooked with gin, but instead the plate featured components that represented the minerally and floral notes of the spirit. Next to the deer, we were served caramelized fennel, celery root pureƩ, and dollops of juniper mousse. A puddle of licorice jus brought the dish together. Amazingly, each of the accompaniments were indeed reminiscent of the flavor of gin. It was a playful, light, and unique presentation.

Thanks to this great addition of New Zealand cuisine, Elizabeth Street shoould probably be re-named “Little Oeania”. We just need a Papa New Guinea restaurant to the seal the deal.

THE MUSKET ROOM
265 Elizabeth Street (between East Houston and Prince Street),
Nolita
(212) 219-0764
musketroom.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

2 Responses to DISH OF THE WEEK: New Zealand Red Deer with Flavors of Gin at THE MUSKET ROOM

  1. Mary Lou Waltz says:

    When my husband and I were in Finland, back in 1991, we had dinner one night in a very unusual place. It seems we were on an island, near the coast of Helsinki. We were in an ancient fort, and the dining area was a huge tunnel. So long ago that I don’t recall the details. But I do recall ordering reindeer. For dessert we had something with cloudberries. Yes, they were cloudberries. Reminded me of ligonberries, but the flavor was less tart.

  2. Brian Hoffman says:

    Sounds really interesting. Scandinavian food is becoming a big thing in NYC lately. Although we still don’t have a Finnish restaurant. Yet.

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