Monday, February 16, 2009

Deliciousness at Blue Ribbon (beef marrow and piegon, yummm!)

My dinner club compadres Del, Saba and Juan, and I headed out to Blue Ribbon Restaurant in SoHo last night for our "monthly" dinner club celebration. I had heard about this restaurant from my friend Keith who generally has excellent taste in restaurants so I was really excited to give it a try especially since there were so many strange/interesting things on the menu. (Double click on the picture to the left to see the full menu! ;-p)

Going into the meal I was initially interested in the Sweetbreads or the Pigeon because.... well because they were weird and I like to try new things.... no matter how nasty they sound...

Our meal: Starters:
Oysters: I have never had an oyster, so when the waiter said that you could get a single oyster for $3.50 I thought, what the hell lemme try and oyster while I'm here. We all decided to get one and take them as a kind of "pre-dinner" shot. :-p The oysters came with 4 sauces, one was just basic shrimp cocktail sauce, the 2nd was a balsamic vinegar based sauce and the third seemed like a tomatillo lime sauce. I opted for the balsamic vinegar... poured a bit on my oyster and slid the sucker down my throat.... It was cool.... chewy... very fresh and clean and balsamic-y. The oyster tasted like nothing. It was amazing. I don't think I've ever in my life tasted a food so devoid of taste. It didn't taste like salt water, it didn't have any type of a seafood taste... it was just pure, chewy, fresh nothingness. It was kind of nice actually. It was an interesting sensation to eat something that really tasted like nothing at all. I would probably eat oysters again.... although I'm not really sure why. They get a B :-p

Bone Marrow and Oxtail Marmalade:
For starters, Del and I knew we were going to get the Beef Marrow and Oxtail Marmalade. I had never had "prepared" bone marrow before.... I mean I've sucked some marrow out of a bone at dinner on occasion, but never thought to scrape it out and fry it up before hand. Del, of course, had had bone marrow before and was very excited. The presentation of the marrow was BEAUTIFUL. The marrow was presented in 3 hollowed out, blanched bones and surrounded by the oxtail marmalade and some tasty grilled sourdough bread. The oxtail itself wasn't too too flavorful... it was just like pure fat, not really what I was expecting... It also had kind of a lumpy, booger-ish consistency. I definitely wouldn't say I DISliked it, but I'm not sure if I like it that much. The Oxtail marmalade on the other hand was AWESOME! It was little chunks of oxtail in a slightly sweet orange sauce... YUMMMM and the bread was hella good too. Overall I give that app a A-, but that grade is more for the oxtail and the bread then the actual marrow.

Saba and Juan had some REALLY delicious ribs. There were 4 ribs in the order and they came with some crispy Asian style chips and a spicy mustard and sweet (chili maybe?) dipping sauce. The ribs also had a cool presentation, along side the ribs was a little fire pit/grill and you were supposed to grill the ribs for a few seconds before eating to caramelize the sauce. The fire pit was a bit dangerous.... we had a lot going on our table and I really thought I was going to lose a braid to the pit and Saba has a history of setting herself on fire, so we all a little bit weirded out by the fire pit. Nevertheless, the ribs were OUTstanding. I think I'll get those as an app next time I go back. :-) Ribs get an A

- My dish was the pigeon of course. I was actually really against the pigeon until I asked my boss if she'd had pigeon and she looked at me like, "hasn't everyone?" and I saw last week's episode of Top Chef where the guest judge asked for "Squab and Peas" as his last meal. I looked up Squab and lo and behold squab= pigeon! If it's good enough for Jacques Pepin, it's good enough for me. (Just to clarify, the pigeon that was served was not the run of the mill NYC flying street rat, but a breed of domesticated pigeons bred specifically for food. Pigeon meat generally comes from young pigeons less than a month old.)

The pigeon was pretty daggone tasty, Thankfully my dish was only the pigeon legs/thigh, not the full pigeon, or I might have been a little freaked out. The pigeon legs were actually pretty meaty and they were served on a bed of barley and mashed sweet potato with a rich brown sauce. The pigeon had a decidedly "poultry" taste... it tasted kind of like dark meat chicken with the fattiness of duck and it had a bit of a liver taste to it as well. Overall I liked it. I feel like it could have been seasoned better. The taste of the meat was fine, but I feel like the execution of the dish wasn't really up to par of the Shrimp or the Hangar steak. I was pleasantly surprised that Saba tried some of the pigeon. I gave her a little piece, that she ate half of, but I give her a high 5 for trying it! :-) The picture above isn't my dish, but that's what the pigeon looked like.

-Del got the Hanger Steak with wild mushrooms and onion rings. The steak was REALLY juicy and the mushrooms were delicious. I can't really describe the taste of the sauce because I didn't eat that much, but it was TASTY.

-Juan got the Lobster, which was an entire BEAUTIFUL, little lobster with a side of corn on the cob and a baked potato. The dish looked SO fresh. The lobster was perfectly pink, and the corn perfectly yellow. The lobster was delicious also. I've only had lobster (like in the shell) a few times and none of them tasted like this. The flavor of the lobster was really intense and clean, like it wasn't marred by the flavor of the refrigerator, or freezer that it was kept in... i was just a really clean, pure tasting lobster... yummm.....

-Saba got the Shrimp Provencal with cheese ravioli. Just looking at the description of the dish it seemed really boring and I would never have chosen it for myself, but honestly it was my favorite dish of the night. When I think of Provencal, especially with cheese ravioli, I think of a tomato-y, garlicy, white-wine type sauce... which just seemed really boring compared to all the other stuff on the menu. In actuality, the sauce was REALLY complex... There was no tomato in the sauce, it seemed like a butter based sauce (maybe?) and at first I thought I tasted a bit of an Asian 5-spice type flavor, (fennel, cloves, cinnamon and anise), but it didn't really seem too sweet. In the end I think it was only fennel I was tasting... The sauce was AMAZING! And the ravioli... .Usually when you bite into Ravioli you get that kind of firm, pasty filling... Not this Ravioli... the filling was creamy and delicious... when you bit into it the strong, garlicy ricotta, poured out into your mouth mingling with the sauce in a sexy tango :-p OK I'll stop, but that mess was tasty! I think I'll try and re-create that this week.

Dessert: For desert we shared had the Chocolate Bruno which was sooo flucking tasty. It was a flourless chocolate cake served with a little ice cream and chocolate drizzling. Soooo goood. The cake was uber rich (just like a good flourless cake should be), warm and delicious. The ice cream was tasty too, but the dish was definitely about the cake... I have to try a flourless chocolate cake. My friend Anabela made one once for a birthday party and it was fantastic.

So all and all I have to say Blue Ribbon was one of my top 5 dining experiences in New York and unfortunately it had the price tag to match. Everything was just flavored and prepared expertly. I will definitely be going back.

N :-)

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