Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Restaurant Week Review: Butter New York

by: Wela Quan

Summer has come to New York in full force and for foodies nothing says summertime better than a cold drink in one of the city’s hottest restaurants during NYC’s Summer Restaurant Week. While browsing through the extensive list of eateries at, I was at a bit of a loss as to where I wanted to eat first. So much good food, so little time. My indecision was however quickly thwarted when I mentioned to Ethan that Butter was one of the restaurants also participating in Restaurant Week. “We’re going there” he said. We both have heard great things about Butter from different friends so we were both very excited.

Our reservation was at 10:30PM on Tuesday so the restaurant was not nearly as packed as I imagine it would normally be. When we got there, we were both famished since we had spent the previous 6 hours in Central Park. While we knew that our ears were in for a feast at the New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Park we had no idea that this was also a gastronomic extravaganza for the seasoned concert goer. Having only packed two sandwiches, Ethan and I could only drool as others ate buckets of KFC chicken; wine, cheese, fruits from Whole Foods and even professionally catered food. I was ecstatic at finally seeing Lang Lang play the piano for the first time but I was definitely ready to eat after feeling like Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner.

From the moment the waiter served us the bread (whole wheat and cornbread), I knew this dinner was going to be just perfect. My hint? the herbed chive butter that came with the bread. I always love to get something slightly different from the ordinary and this fancy butter was just the start.
Fancy Butter at...Butter!

The Restaurant Week menu at Butter featured an appetizer, a main and a dessert for $35.00 so of course Ethan and I took advantage by ordering different things. I started off with the Mussels in White Wine with Smoked Trout and Roasted Garlic while Ethan chose the Mixed Homemade Charcuterie Plate. When the waiter brought me a spoon for my mussels, I was certain he got confused and thought I ordered the soup. Ethan, who always has more faith than I do said it was perhaps for the soup in my mussels. I didn't say it but I pretty much dismissed that idea right off the bat, I mean was the soup the mussels came in really going to be THAT good for me to actually drink it with a spoon?
Mixed Homemade Charcuterie Plate

The short answer is YES! I was surprised by how tender and flavourful the mussels were, but I was even more astounded at how delicious the soup it came in was. Pretty soon I was using that spoon and scraping my bowl for every ounce of the trout/garlic soup after consuming the mussels in a New York minute. Don’t tell Ethan I didn’t believe him! Normally I am pretty unimpressed with mussels since I make some mean mussels myself, but these mussels were nothing short of divine and definitely something I cannot recreate in my kitchen. Ethan’s Charcuterie plate was every bit as interesting with a great mix of crispy bacon, pickled vegetables and probably the best chicken liver I’d ever tasted. Perhaps the best part of both our appetizers was the fact that it came with very unique bread. My bread was soaked in oil or butter and tasted like a Chinese donut (you tiao) prompting Ethan to remark that we should head out to Flushing sometime soon again.
Fish of the Day with Zucchini and Eggplant Gratin

For the main course I ordered the Fish of the Day with Zucchini and Eggplant Gratin while Ethan had the Braised Creekstone Farms Short Ribs with Braised Radishes, Olives and Capers. An because I am greedy, I ordered two sides – the Mashed Yukon Potatoes and the Chilled Cucumber and Fresh Oregano Salad. When I was told that the Fish of the Day was Salmon, I was slightly disappointed because I was hoping for a more exotic fish but once again I was proved wrong. The Salmon was baked just right with a crispy layer of skin on top and juicy meat. I was most impressed by the Zucchini and Eggplant Gratin. I’d never tasted such a great mix of the two vegetables baked into a square before, they blended in perfectly such that I could not tell where the zucchini ended and where the eggplant began.
Braised Creekstone Farms Short Ribs with Braised Radishes, Olives and Capers

Ethan’s short ribs were equally mouth-watering, melting in your mouth with a strong but flavourful sauce. Finally, the two sides were also artfully done. The cucumber added a freshness to our meal while the mashed potatoes were some of the best I’d ever eaten. I love mashed potatoes probably more than anything in this world and I have had every kind from ones laced with pineapple to shitake mushrooms, but these mashed potatoes – which came in a bowl were the straight up good stuff with lots of cream and butter. No need for bells and whistles, just the spud in all its glory. When you go, pay the extra $4.00 for them. They are worth every penny.
Layered Dobosch Cake

Finally for dessert I had the Peach Cobbler with Bourbon Pecan Ice Cream and Ethan had the Layered Dobosch Cake. Ethan’s cake was a perfect layered mix of chocolate butter cream and moist cake. He was surprised when he hit the salt crystals from the salted caramel but aside from that he consumed the whole thing. I on the other hand, am sorry to admit that I was unable to completely finish my Cobbler even though it was perfect in every way: I was simply too full! Had I not been greedy and skipped the two sides, I would’ve been golden but I can’t say I regretted ordering them. The peach slices drenched in bourbon baked in a crisp crust really was like a cherry on a birthday cake; a perfect ending to my meal.

One observation I made while at the restaurant was that the portions were just perfect; I don’t think I’ve ever been to a restaurant where that was an active thought in my head. Even though at first I thought the Salmon looked too small, it turned out to be just the right amount for me. When you have the guts to name your restaurant after something so delicious as butter, your diners – especially your foodie diners will come with great expectations.

I am happy to say that Butter satisfied everyone of them.

Butter NYC
415 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10003-7045
(212) 253-2828
Butter on Urbanspoon


Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

These photos look great! Next time I'm in NYC, I definitely want to head to Butter!

MsBeals said...

Get the pork chop next time you are's to die for!

Onosquanna said...

Wow that salmon looks ahhhmazing!!!!!! all that food for only $35 too!

Finance Foodie said...

Thanks to Wela for the great review!

Brenda said...

Great photos - i've never seen butter with parsley (?) in fancy!

truenyc2000 said...

Butter is over, it was cool circa 2005 but its done. not trendy and no good - sorry to burst your bubble.

Justin said...

Great post! This entire meal sounds amazing...Butter is a must!

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