Last week, I had a fantastic dinner with my friends from Tabélog, Sachiko, Kenta and Shouhei. If you read this blog, you probably remember my encounter with Tabélog, a year ago. Tabélog is a restaurant review site with over 40 million users in Japan, expanding now in the US. Their reviews are not anonymous, leveraging bloggers and putting an emphasis on photos, that is great considering that a photo is worth a thousand words. But, what I like also is that the team loves food as much as the bloggers they meet and it is always fun to exchange experiences and good addresses.
This time, we had dinner at Left Bank, a restaurant that defined itself as "an American tavern, inspired by Greenwich Village itself, and influenced by European sensibilities". At first, I thought it referred to the rive gauche (literally left bank) in Paris, that is, beyond a location, a movement of writers, artists and philosophers like Pablo Picasso, Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine, Henri Matisse, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and many others. You many not know the term rive gauche, but, if you went to Paris, you probably heard about Boulevard Saint-Germain or the Boulevard Saint-Michel.
I arrived a bit early (I hate to be late) and toured the restaurant to take some photos. What I like is that there is a bit of space between tables and they did not try to maximize the space.
When I looked around, I could definitely sense a European feel, reminding me a bit restaurants in Paris, especially La Butte Aux Cailles, where I use to live.
The menu, crafted by Chef and owner Laurence Edelman, is of a good size, offering small plates as well as just few choices per section (raw bar, appetizers, pasta, meat / poultry /fish, vegetables), made with ingredients provided by local farmers.
We decided to start with drinks. On my side, I ordered a thyme and ginger cocktail:
The presentation was appetizing and rustic. You may wonder what the layer around the chicken liver pate was. Well, it was butter! And I admit that it went well together. This is definitely a dish I recommend.
Then, we had the Mongolian fish dumplings:
It had a nice acidity from the lemon and were perfect for me as I do not like when the shell is too thick.
Then, we shared the lobster puffs with champagne cream:
This is definitely an elegant dish, the champagne cream pairing perfectly with the fresh cream puff, but keeping the lobster the star of the dish.
For the entrees, we started first with the homemade parpadelle, served with sunchokes and fava beans:
That was one of my favorite entrees, the pasta being succulent and the dish being hearty.
Next was the suckling pig porchetta:
It was served with English peas, thumbelina carrots, ramps. This was a very good dish: the pork was very good, with a nice amount of fat, paired with a bold sauce that did not overpower the meat.
Last entree was the iron roasted split chicken:
It was prepared with roasted shitakes, escarole and puffed wild rice. I was not a big fan of the escarole, but certainly was of the chicken that had a crispy skin, heavenly salty, and moist inside.
To stay healthy (of course), we also ordered roasted cauliflower:
I admit that I just had a bite to try, preferring to focus on the meat...
Last was dessert. We went for the olive oil cake with candied hazelnuts:
This was sublime: not the lighter dessert, but a perfect one to end a wonderful and fun evening.
Thank you to the Tabélog's team for the invite and great evening at Left Bank, a place that is now on my list of restaurants to go back to!
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!