Saturday was a grey, rainy mess of a day in New York City. The subways were clogged with damp people and drippy umbrellas. We spent the morning winding our way down the spiral of the Guggenheim Museum. It’s a pretty small museum, which surprised us both, and it only took about an hour to take everything in. But an hour was all it took for us to be hungry for lunch. And for that we stuck close.
The museum has a fine dining restaurant called The Wright which has, incidentally, recently won a big design award. It was small, but comfortable and definitely high style. To start we shared pan seared blue fin tuna with a phyllo dough “garden,” sesame aioli and toasted pine nuts … mostly because we wanted to know what a “phyllo garden” was. The tuna was perfectly (read: barely) cooked. The toasty, sesame-coated veggies were a cool and fresh crisp inside the warmer crisp of phyllo dough. Pretty and delicious.
K was tempted by the pan seared trout with fennel orange marmalade on a saffron “cloud.” There was the perfect hint of saffron over the lovely fresh fish.
I had something I’m rarely tempted to eat — a lunch salad. But this was totally my kind of salad — a bit of fresh greenery and huge pieces of cool lobster tossed with a tart/sweet blood orange vinaigrette. Little pieces of cold fingerling potatoes were tucked amidst the lettuce. This was a salad that begged to be eaten slowly to truly enjoy each mouthful of decadent lobster.
After such a light, but indulgent lunch, we felt ready to skip to our next destination, but cold winds and spitting skies put a damper on our exploratory spirit. We made our way to Chelsea Market to do a bit of shopping. While there I got a serious doughnut craving. Despite having about six bakeries in the building, none of them had doughnuts and my craving went unfulfilled (for that day and the rest of the trip since all we could find were Dunkin Doughnuts. I can get those sub par doughnuts at home).
We went back to the hotel to change out of our soaking clothes and warm up then it was off to Tribeca for dinner at Restaurant Marc Forgione, brain child of the newest Iron Chef. From the photos on the website, it looks like a rustic, intimate, candlelit place. In person, it is very large, loud and not at all intimate, but is, indeed, candlelit. The place was definitely bustling and not particularly relaxing (but I think that had more to do with the loud tables of people sitting right next to us, they were hard to ignore). One whole wall has personal photos, memorabilia and information on Marc Forgione. It was interesting, but bordered on an annoying temple of self-congratulatory celebration. Fine line.
We got started with two bites — peas ‘n carrots and artichoke soup. The peas and carrots were kind of bland and pureed like baby food, but the artichoke soup was full of flavor and played over different parts of the mouth. I’d eat a whole bowl of that.
We shared some crispy pork belly and it was melt-in-your-mouth tender and had a good crunchy crust.
K scored BIG TIME with the special of the night — the Chef’s burger. It was 28-day aged ground rib eye with smoked bacon, homemade pickles and ginger ketchup and crispy potatoes. I was not feeling well this night and wasn’t able to enjoy a great deal of food, but I’d give just about anything to go back in time, feel better and eat this burger. The one bite I had easily made it the best burger I’ve ever tried. K agreed. The meat was so juicy and beefy and the taste just kept getting better and deeper and smokier with each bite. And those tiny toasty potatoes, delish.
I went a small, safe route with seared scallops and white asparagus. The scallops were so fresh I could still taste the ocean in them, but other than that it was a pretty unspectacular dish. Really good, just no big deal. I have more to say about that one bite of burger than my entire dish.
For dessert we got fresh from the oven, hot, melty, sweet chocolate chip cookies with a shooter of icy whole milk. It is to my eternal regret that I could only eat one bite of burger, half a cookie and take two sips of milk. I want to go back to Restaurant Marc Forgione (maybe on a weeknight when it’s not quite so busy and crowded) and eat every last bite of an all American meal of that Chef’s burger and some chocolate chip cookies.
After dinner, we sprinted through the rain across the street to a really friendly neighborhood pub where we watched the New York Red Bulls soccer game. It was the of night that, if we’d been home, might have kept us indoors on the sofa. But what a cozy way to end a soggy day.