Cherche Midi

This less than a month old restaurant on the corner of Bowery and Houston has already generated a lot of buzz.  

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The interior of the restaurant totally reminds me of Balthazar, another one of McNally's restaurant. 

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This Prime Rib Burger, already being compared to the Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern, was the reason for our visit.  It did not disappoint!  The burger was super juicy and flavorful!  The combination of high quality prime rib, bacon marmalade mixed with chopped mushroom, and gruyere cheese was delish!  As an added bonus, the juicy drippings from the burger nicely flavored my plate of fries.  

PRIME RIB BURGER WITH BACON MARMALADE, ROASTED MUSHROOMS, AGED GRUYERE CHEESE AND POMMES FRITES

PRIME RIB BURGER WITH BACON MARMALADE, ROASTED MUSHROOMS, AGED GRUYERE CHEESE AND POMMES FRITES

The cheese selection looked quite good, but we wanted something sweet.

The Raspberry Soufflé was amazing!  Super light and fluffy. I really liked the slightly hardened shell, which tasted a bit like caramelized sugar. The creme anglaise that was poured into the soufflé helped cut down the tartness of the raspberry.  I almost ordered the chocolate soufflé as well, but I exercised some much needed self-restraint. 

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There were several items on the menu that I would like to come back and try, the Lobster Ravioli being one of them. 

Verdict: AA. This place reminds me a lot of Balthazar. Comfortable setting, good bistro classics, and attentive service, without the madness of Balthazar. Adding this to my list of go-to French bistros in the city. 

Cherche Midi
282 Bowery (@Houston St.)
http://www.cherchemidiny.com

Ruby's

Burger for brunch?!  Perfectly acceptable so long as there's an egg on top :). 

Ruby's is a tiny Australian eatery in SoHo. After seeing how miniscule kitchen is, I am even more impressed with the quality of the dishes. It does look like they might be expanding into the space next door. 

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My burger was overcooked. 

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Verdict: A+ . Limited menu. 

Ruby's
219 Mulberry Street (Between Prince & Spring St.)
http://www.rubyscafe.com

Charlie Bird

Finally had a chance to check out the much-hyped Charlie Bird for dinner. First impression: while the space feels airy (glass wall that opens out to the sidewalk gave it a nice indoor/outdoor feel), the noise level was deafening! I guess the restaurant is going for a trendy, downtown vibe, but, personally, I think the loud music distracts from the space and the food.  

The menu has lots of small plates, so we decided to share everything, family-style.  

We started with the Farro Salad and the Chicken Liver. The Farro Salad had great texture and was quite tasty for a salad (no, I don't usually order salads). 

Farro Salad

Farro Salad

The Chicken Liver was beautifully presented, but was just average in taste.

Chicken Liver with Balsamic Raisins, Capers, & Walnuts 

Chicken Liver with Balsamic Raisins, Capers, & Walnuts 

The Duck Egg Sphagetti with Uni, a signature dish, was pretty good, but wasn't spectacular. The restaurant did split the dish into individual portions for us, which was a nice touch. 

Duck Egg Spaghetti with Uni

Duck Egg Spaghetti with Uni

It seems that every New York restaurant is serving some version of roasted chicken these days, so I was curious how Charlie Bird's version stacks up. As it turns out, the Roasted Chicken was the surprising star of the meal! The skin was perfectly crisped and the meat was extremely tender and juicy. No foie gras on the chicken (think NoMad), but it does come with a side of chicken liver.  Of course, this made the chicken liver appetizer that we ordered seem that much more redundant. 

Roasted Chicken 

Roasted Chicken 

Overall, it was a very nice dinner, but I am in no big hurry to return. If I do go back, I would probably go for lunch and request an outside table. 

Charlie Bird
5 King Street (entrance is on 6th Ave.)
http://charliebirdnyc.com

Verdict: AA-