Friday, May 18, 2012

Color Our World

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Ok, I have to admit, while Anne and Danielle typically find the top-rated, James Beard awarded, “hottest and trendiest” places in NYC to dine, I lean more towards the word-of-mouth/read-it-on-Yelp camp.  As most of us have experienced, this doesn’t always yield the best results but it does prove for an interesting evening!

So after a tip from my best friend and fellow foodie AJ to visit an eclectic place called Colors in NoHo, we were all intrigued.  Coincidentally, Colors happens to be right next door to Butter (as reviewed by Foodies’ own Anne Donohoe) so it got good points for having cool neighbors. We stopped at Butter for a quick, stiff drink (just what the work week ordered) rushing to make our 7:00pm reservation.  Aside from getting the Open Table points, a rezzie was completely unnecessary.  The typical rambunctious, Thursday night dinner crowd was absent - but we all had a good buzz going and quietly took our seats before jumping to any conclusions.

Food club at Colors (as seen through Sangria goggles)
To drink we stuck to cheap ($12!!) pitchers of pretty decent sangria.  Our waiter was attentive and very patient with our typical food club silliness which we were thankful of (note: we are not subtle when we dine!).  While we perused the menu, we chatted about the fact that Colors is owned by its workers and focuses on local ingredients.  The “owners” all come from various backgrounds in the restaurant industry and are part of the Restaurant Opportunities Center, the largest restaurant worker organization, whose mission is to improve wages and working conditions for the nation’s low-wage restaurant workforce. We are all for that!

After a few pitchers of sangria, we were ready to order:

- Veggie chips (banana and potato) with various dips including smoked trout with fried capers, fresh guacamole, black chickpea hummus with olives, and tomato tapenade - a perfectly light and fresh starter
- A fried veggie tart topped with goat cheese, mixed greens and cherry tomatoes – you can’t go wrong with goat cheese
- Chicken and chorizo paella with snow peas and lemon aioli - we’re somewhat of paella snobs so this wasn’t our fav
- Pan-roasted pork loin with creamed corn (yum!) and peach jus – deliciously tender and flavorful
- Argentine Chimichurri ribeye (Anne’s fav) with roasted red potatoes – tender and tasty

Each dish hit the spot and admittedly helped to soak up the alcohol in our bellies.  The bill was VERY easy to digest as well and didn’t put nearly the dent on our wallets that The Dutch had - but in NYC you often get what you pay for!

Overall, we admire the dining experience that Colors has created but wish it had left us with a brighter outlook.  With great food, local ingredients, reasonable pricing and a fabulous entrepreneurial spirit, it should be packed every night!

417 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10003

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Catskills on the Cobblestones

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High expectations are a tricky thing. Finding out that Kutsher's, a place I spent childhood vacations and two summers at camp, had opened a restaurant in NYC that featured foods I crave and often critique, is a good example of this situation.

That being said, this is a love story, because I loved everything about our experience at KT.

We started the meal with a round of bug juice - how can you pass up the upscale, alcoholized version of the summer camp classic? Great drink, even greater that they mix up the fruit juice ingredients day to day, keeping with tradition.

On to the food. First, the amazing matzoh ball soup. The best I've ever had in a restaurant. The soup was flavorful, the veggies and noodles al dente (but not crunchy carrots, that's a no-no) and the matzoh balls were literally perfect in consistency and nearly perfect in flavor. If I could carry around a jug of that soup and eat it daily for lunch, life would be complete. Next we tried the pastrami and chopped liver on the 'charcuterie plate'. Both were fantastic, the pastrami felt like it was Montreal inspired, hand cut thick slabs that were accompanied by great rye bread and some very on the money sour pickles. We also tried the crispy artichokes, which were very good, and the gefilte fish with beet/horseradish tartare, which was unremarkable.

For the main event we shared (there were 4 of us, calm down) the prime skirt steak and the roast chicken for 2. Both were excellent. The rest of the crew loved the chicken above all, and that was great, because it left more steak for me. Both were tender, tasty (neither one undersalted) and complimented on the plate by a knish and a mushroom stuffing, respectively.

We finished with the unique rainbow cookie ice cream sundae and 4 spoons. A fitting end to a great meal.

Overall this is a must try - the space is cool, and roomy for NYC, the service was spot on and the food hits the mark. They took a chance trying to find the right balance between old and new, tradition and ambition, Catskills and Tribeca. For me, it paid off big time. Well done.

Kutsher's Tribeca
186 Franklin Street
New York, NY
(212) 431-0606

Mitch Wexler is an advertising exec, part-time sous chef and full-time foodie based in Hoboken, NJ.