Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
When I was in Nashville years ago, I had a meal I will never forget at an old-school cafeteria called Arnold’s. It’s what’s known as a “meat-and-three”, an establishment that serves you hearty American food comprised of one meat and three sides of your choice.
While many American restaurants practice the same concept, it’s rarely done as simply or as well as at a place like Arnold’s. Now a new spot in NYC has tried to emulate that experience.
The chef and owner from Nolita Thai restaurant Uncle Boon’s are the brainchildren behind Mr. Donahue’s, a tiny nostalgic counter (the small storefront literally has 9 seats!!) that brands itself as a modern meat-and-three. It’s quite different from Arnold’s, but it’s great in its own way.
Truthfully, this should actually be called a meat-and-two since a third side would cost $7 extra. But each meal comes with sides of your choice and a sauce from their innovative list. The simple menu is made up of American staples and twists on Southern specialities (did your grandma ever make Chicken Fried Pork Cheeks?)
We chose one plate of the rotisserie chicken with honey mustard sauce along with a spicy browned portion of button mushrooms in jerk spices and a warm salty salad of crab and saltine crackers.
Our other plate was even more American – roast beef with a ramekin of cowboy butter. The salt and pepper kissed meat was perfectly pink with a ring of dark edges. World’s away from what you usually find at banquet steam tables.
The sides here were also outstanding. For this one we chose pickled beets which had a wonderful tang and was balanced with rich herbed goat cheese and crunchy walnuts. And one of the more interesting (and less traditional sides) was a patty pan squash parmesan layered with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. It fell somewhere between eggplant parm and a potato gratin.
So it’s more expensive and you lose out on one side, but Mr. Donahue’s does a great job in bringing the style and flavor of meat-and-threes to trendy Manhattan. It’s a very charming restaurant with great service and great food. I’m actually surprised there wasn’t a line out the door (not difficult at a place this small). That may all change very soon. Price: $26
|203 Mott Street (between Spring and Kenmare Street),