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-

Pearl & Ash

A friend, who used to live in NYC, was in town for the week and requested that we explore a trendy, new restaurant for dinner.  Feeling a bit too old for the scenes at the Meatpacking District, we ended up at Pearl & Ash. 

The space felt warm and inviting.  Various design elements kept  my eyes bouncing around the room.  

PORK MEATBALLS, SHIITAKE, BONITO, SOPPRESSATA

PORK MEATBALLS, SHIITAKE, BONITO, SOPPRESSATA

The menu was designed with sharing in mind.  

The octopus was too charred for my taste. The portion was also tiny!

OCTOPUS, SUNFLOWER SEED, SHISO

OCTOPUS, SUNFLOWER SEED, SHISO

The cod was fresh and flaky. I love how the chef added a simple flavor like coconut and completely transformed the dish to something different. 

COD, COCONUT, THAI BASIL, LEMONGRASS

COD, COCONUT, THAI BASIL, LEMONGRASS

CAULIFLOWER, HAZELNUT, SHISHITO

CAULIFLOWER, HAZELNUT, SHISHITO

POTATOES, PORCINI MAYO, CHORIZO

POTATOES, PORCINI MAYO, CHORIZO

I expected the meat dishes to be more substantial. It felt like each dish was a little bit of a tease. 

DUCK, TURNIP

DUCK, TURNIP

FLAT IRON, BROCCOLINI, CHICKPEA-TAHINI

FLAT IRON, BROCCOLINI, CHICKPEA-TAHINI

It was impossible to know what kind of desserts we would be getting by reading the menu description. Our waiter was no help either.  Thankfully, the ones we chose turned out nicely. Both of the desserts were both beautiful and tasty. 

BANANA, MUSCAT GRAPE, CASHEW

BANANA, MUSCAT GRAPE, CASHEW

STRAWBERRY, PISTACHIO, GRAHAM CRACKER

STRAWBERRY, PISTACHIO, GRAHAM CRACKER

Verdict: AA-.  Good restaurant for groups.  More opportunity to sample more dishes and hopefully the socializing will distract one from noticing the small portion size.

Pearl & Ash
220 Bowery (Between Prince & Spring St.)
http://www.pearlandash.com