Tag Archives: élan

Come back every Wednesday for another funny, informative video documenting my inept food adventures.

As I put out my year-end list of 100 Best Dishes, I notice a few restaurants appear multiple times. These are the best and most memorable meals of the year. High on that list is élan, where I tasted both the sea urchin guacamole and the classic seafood sausage. Chef David Waltuck was running restaurants way before it was cool and glamorous to do so and his new restaurant is a bona fide hit. I chose two dishes to never forget, but I could have chosen two different ones as well.

élan


Category: Video

Come back every Wednesday for another funny, informative video documenting my inept food adventures. 

As we put 2014 to bed, I one more time dream about the ten best dishes I tasted throughout the year. You can read more about each dish here or you can just watch this video and revel in my gluttony.

Top 10 Dishes of 2014


Looking back on 2014, I present the most memorable and greatest dishes of my year.

I can’t believe 2014 is practically over. It was fun while it lasted. And this year I really got a great taste of some new, hot restaurants in addition to dishes from classic New York institutions that I should have visited a long time ago. Here are the top five dishes I tasted this year:

NUMBER 5: SEA URCHIN GUACAMOLE at ÉLAN

SADLY, ÉLAN IS NOW CLOSED.

Sea Urchin Guacamole at ÉLAN

Asian-influenced guacamole really sounds like a mash-up gone horribly wrong, but in the capable hands of veteran chef David Waltuck, it is simply marvelous. Waltuck returned to the city this year with élan and brought his refined French technique together with unexpected flavors. The sea urchin guacamole adds a briny, rich layer to avocados that most taco joints would only dream about. Greaseless and light taro chips make the perfect vessel for a creamy guacamole that is dotted with sweet soy sauce and bright wasabi, along with the piéce de résistance: tongues of luxurious sea urchin. Price: $19

ÉLAN
43 East 20th Street (between Park Avenue South and Broadway),
Flatiron District
(646) 682-7105
elannyc.com

NUMBER 4: GRILLED SHORT RIB at BETONY

SADLY, BETONY IS NOW CLOSED.

Grilled Short Rib at BETONY

My birthday dinner this year was a huge blowout at Betony, which has reinvigorated the Midtown dining scene. It’s both fancy and high-end, but without too much stuffiness and if you play your cards right, you could get out of the restaurant without taking out a second mortgage. The dish I’m raving about now is one that most critics praised last year. Chef Bryce Shuman sous vides then grills a giant fatty beef rib, so it has both a masterful tenderness and a smoky crisp exterior. As perfect as the meat was, it’s heightened by its accompaniments which includes the greatest smoked mashed potatoes I’ve ever tasted. I wish it was my birthday all year long. Price: $40

BETONY
41 West 57th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West
(212) 465-2400
betony-nyc.com

NUMBER 3: ESPECIAL ADOBADA at LOS TACOS NO. 1

Adobada at LOS TACOS NO. 1

Forget kale salads or fried chicken, this was the year of Mexican food. There’s even now a bona fide high-end Mexican restaurant (Cosme) in New York selling NY strip tacos for $35. It’s supposed to be excellent, but for now, I’m going to stick with cheap and unfussy Mexican food. And this year, I discovered the best Mexican that Manhattan has to offer. Los Tacos No. 1 is nestled inside Chelsea Market. And here they are not only preparing impeccable tacos, but they are also deep frying a quesadilla. It’s called their Especial and can be stuffed with any filling, but I urge you to try the adobada (marinated pork and pineapple). Once you try this, you’ll have no interest in saving up for an expensive Mexican meal. This is all you need. Price: $5 ($6 with filling)

LOS TACOS NO. 1
75 Ninth Avenue (between West 15th and West 16th Street),
Inside Chelsea Market,
Meatpacking District
(212) 256-0343
lostacosno1.com

NUMBER 2: MILLE CRÊPES at LADY M CAKE BOUTIQUE

Milles Crêpes at LADY M CAKE BOUTIQUE

A cake boutique sounds ultra-fancy and intimidating, but don’t let it scare you away. Because Lady M is making one of the most interesting and mind-blowingly delicious treats in the entire city. The cake/crêpe hybrid known as a Mille Crépes means “thousand layers,” but all you really need are twenty. Each delicate layer of eggy pastry is cemented together with whipped cream and composed into a light, but decadent dessert with a perfect caramelized crown. If this is a cake boutique, I want to try everything on. In my belly. Price: $7.50

LADY M CAKE BOUTIQUE
36 West 40th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West
(212) 452-2222
41 East 78th Street (between Madison and Park Avenue),
Upper East Side
(212) 452-2222
The Plaza Food Hall,
One West 59th Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenue),
Midtown West
(212) 452-2222
ladym.com

NUMBER 1: BEEF RIB at HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE

Beef Rib at HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE

I’m such a barbecue snob. I often tweet out remarks about very popular barbecue joints in the city that just don’t live up to my standard. I can never say that about Hometown. This place makes the best I’ve tasted in New York. It’s worth the trek out in Red Hook to splurge on their gigantic beef rib. I’m normally a fan of pork ribs, but this mammoth features a blackened crust of peppercorns and spices protecting a neverending slab of buttery meat and sweet fat. It almost feels like a smoked meat marshmallow. And it’s my favorite dish of the year. Price: $25/pound

HOMETOWN BAR-B-QUE
454 Van Brunt Street (at Reed Street),
Red Hook, Brooklyn
(347) 294-4644
hometownbarbque.com

SADLY, ÉLAN IS NOW CLOSED.

Seafood Sausage at ÉLAN

At his new restaurant élan, Chef David Waltuck has graciously brought back his classic seafood sausage from his long-shuttered Chanterelle. It’s a perfect dish. It’s a heavenly sausage loaded with rich bites of seafood in a natural (and taut) casing floating above a decadent beurre blanc sauce. Hurry and try it before it disappears from the city again! Price: $19

ÉLAN
43 East 20th Street (between Park Avenue South and Broadway),
Flatiron District
(646) 682-7105
elannyc.com

 


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

SADLY, ÉLAN IS NOW CLOSED.

élan, 43 East 20th Street (between Park Avenue South and Broadway), Flatiron DistrictThe word élan means elegance or flair in French. It’s also the name of a new restaurant in Manhattan that exhibits both of those qualities. The restaurant marks the stylish return of a classic New York City chef, David Waltuck. When his critically acclaimed French restaurant Chanterelle closed in 2009, the city lost one of its greats (it had been open for a whopping 30 years!) But now he’s brought a bit of élan back to the city.

This new restaurant opened in the old Veritas space earlier this year to mix reviews. I was lucky enough to have lunch at Chanterelle before it closed (I remember being blown away), so I was beyond the moon to taste his seafood sausage again. It’s still a classic dish with rich bites of seafood in a natural casing floating above a decadent beurre blanc sauce. Truly spectacular.

Sea Urchin Guacamole at ÉLAN

But even more surprising was the brand new sea urchin guacamole. This is something fresh and shows that Waltuck is now experimenting with Asian and Mexican notes in his French food.  In less capable hands, this would have been a gimmicky mash-up that is more provocative than delicious. Here, it all comes together.

The luxurious briny sea urchin fits right in with the creamy avocado and balances the sweet heat from wasabi. And then those impeccably light taro chips provided a perfect vessel to sop up every last scoop.

Chef Waltuck is back and we should give him a big welcome with lots of élan.

ÉLAN
43 East 20th Street (between Park Avenue South and Broadway),
Flatiron District
(646) 682-7105
elannyc.com

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