Thursday, January 29, 2009

Braeburn But No Heartburn

Yesterday's post pretty much raved about the bar, the bartender, and the margaritas that I had here. Well, today will be more of the same, I am afraid, but focusing on the food. Can you tell, I liked the place.

It is always a bit confusing to walk around the West Village, so finding Braeburn can be a somewhat of a challenge. But well worth it. You can find it on the corner of Perry Street and Greenwich Street. It is about two blocks from the Hudson River and about four blocks from 7th Avenue. Just get in the vicinity and then start asking people for directions. At least that is what I did.

After drinking my margarita at the bar and ordering another I joined the Mysterious Chinese Woman and the Mysterious Sister-In-Law at our table.

So Happy To See Me


They have a decidedly French influenced menu. The chef, Brian Bistrong, started out by working in the orchards on a turkey farm near Princeton, New Jersey. I only mention this because maybe it explains why he named the restaurant after an apple. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has an impressive resume. That doesn't always mean you get good food, but in this case it did.

We were served delicious rolls to start us off and then I ordered Corned Beef of Short Rib for an appetizer. They, or it, was served with celery root, grain mustard, cornichons and rye croutons. It pretty much tasted like excellent corned beef that you might get from Katz Deli. Very tasty. They had a lot of other tasty looking appetizers and next time I am going to go for the Quail “Sausage” with spaetzle and a sauerkraut purée.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman decided to have the Duck Breast with Brussels sprouts, wheat berries and roasted squash sauce.

Delicious Duck Breast


I was only allowed a little bite of the duck, but it was tender, juicy, and simply fantastic. A dish I am sure she might have again if we come back and, if she doesn't, one I might order.

The Mysterious Sister-In-Law opted for the Loin of Lamb in a chick pea stew with merguez sausage and preserved lemon. Merguez sausage originated in Algeria and Tunisia and is popular in France as well as in Morroco, Israel, Belgium, The Netherlands and, soon, here in the good old United States. It is made with lamb or beef (lamb, in this case, I believe) and flavored with a wide range of spices such as sumac, paprika, chili paste, and who knows what else.

Loin Of Lamb


Their special of the day was Duck Leg Confit with white beans, apple smoked bacon and escarole. I am a big fan of casoulet, and that is made with duck confit. In fact, when I make it I only use the duck legs, so how could I pass on this.

For those of you who may not know, confit is a method of cooking where the meat is cooked immersed either in its own fat or in lard. It is then stored in the fat or lard and can be kept for quite awhile this way. It was used as a method of preserving meat back in the day.

Duck Leg Confit


Again, this was simply scrumptious. Deliciously crispy skin and the duck was perfectly tender. The beans and bacon were delicious as well.

After finishing up our meals we decided to share a couple of desserts. The Mysterious Sister-In-Law is a bit of a chocoholic so for her it was a no-brainer, Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with poached seckle pears and vanilla ice cream with a side of strawberries.

Chocolate Bread Pudding


This tasted like the warm chocolate brownies that you often find, and I have never had a bad one. This was no exception.

But my dessert was magnificent. I am a big fan of Key Lime Pie and I have to say this is the best one I have ever had, by a wide margin.

Key Lime Pie


This was served with a cream cheese sorbet, but what really set it apart was the top of the pie which was caramelized and reminiscent of a creme broulee. The combination of the sweet crunch topping and the tart key lime filling was perfect. I would come back again just for this. Maybe accompany it with their cheese platter and a glass of port and just skip the appetizers and entrees altogether. We will have to wait and see, but I can assure you that I will be back here again.

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