Monday, May 10, 2010

This little piggie went to Bowery

Ah, Mother's Day. Yet another reason for my family to try someplace new. It isn't like I do not see or speak to my mother all the time, or appreciate her year round (Hi Mom!). This year - brunch at DBGB. I am not sure what the "GB" stands for, but "DB" is Daniel Boulud, which invariably means good food.

After much deliberation, we settled on the viennoiserie (bread basket) to start, which my mother and sister both missed on the menu. My mother chose the croque madame, which came out open-faced, covered in bubbly brown Gruyere with a sunnyside egg on top. Rachel went for an omelet that apparently was good, but looked like it was made in a non-stick pan using eggbeaters. I defer to her judgment on taste. I went for the piggie burger. This is a burger with Daisy Mae's pulled pork and cole slaw on top. I had thoughts of ordering this well in advance of brunch and nothing on the menu changed my mind.

Initially, there was disappointment. The viennoiserie was running low. The pain aux raisins was excellent. A gooey, warm, raisin-filled wonderful bit of pastry. The croissant was nothing exceptional, but I did take note of its construction - it did not fall apart when being torn. The madeleines were light and warm, and went well with the jelly and butter with sea salt on the platter. However, there was one notable absence - pan au chocolat. How do you know what goes into the viennoiserie and not have equal amounts of each element? Why do you run out of one thing? Are people requesting a basket with only pan aux chocolat? Probably. But then, they should know this is going to happen and prepare accordingly. I felt gypped.

Here is where things began to feel rushed. The waiter came for a drink order before asking about food and waited until the drinks were delivered before coming back. Not a problem. We were still working on the bread basket when the rest of our food arrived. Problem. We do not eat slowly, so this was a real surprise. I would like a minute between croissant and burger, please. It was wholly unnecessary since this was the latter part of brunch time and tables were emptying.

The burger was good. Actually, what I could taste of the burger was good. The flavor of the pulled pork was clearly dominating here. The cole slaw stood out as well. I expected more of a complementary relationship between burger and pulled pork. I could have gone to Daisy Mae's and been just as satisfied; perhaps feeling a little less glutinous even. When the waiter brought over condiments, he recommended that I only use ketchup with the fries and not on the burger, which was half gone at this point. Duh. Apparently, he had personally made this mistake in the past. He made another mistake later on when he charged Rachel for the full brunch and me for the burger she was bringing to her boyfriend. Whoops. Overall, the burger was very good and was the last thing I ate until lunch the next day.

To dessert or not to dessert. That was the question left for me to answer. So I chose two: the chocolate-chocolate sundae, and a rhubart tart. The sundae should have had a couple of more "chocolates" in the name. Chocolate ice cream, truffles, chocolate chip cookies, cocoa crunchies. A little caramel sauce and some whipped cream on top. It was decadent, it was intense, it was delicious. The rhubarb tart was more lemon meringue than rhubarb, but very nice and light. A rhubarb ice cream on the side had us all talking, wondering if it was made in-house. If mass-produced rhubarb ice cream would taste like this, then someone should be making it.

I walked out with mixed feelings. There seemed to be something off at every stage. The viennoiserie was missing pan au chocolat. The burger was heavy on pulled pork (from another restaurant). The dessert... well that was really good.  I started to feel a bit rushed without apparent reason.  The waiter switched credit cards and didn't bring a credit slip when the correction was made. In the end, this is a series of mostly little things, but taken together they detracted from the experience as a whole. In the future, if I want pulled pork I will go to Daisy Mae's and if I want a burger I will go to Peter Luger. Maybe I'll go to both places and make my own piggie burger. Also, I never figured out what the "GB" stands for.

DBGB, 299 Bowery (between Houston and 1st Street)

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