Delicate Essence

DELICATESSEN | 54 Prince St. (at Lafayette St.) | 212.226.0211 | delicatessennyc.com | | | | | Delicatessen on Urbanspoon


WHAT A PLEASANT SURPRISE IT was to get an email from the fine folks at Urbanspoon alerting me that a rep was coming into New York City (from Seattle) to meet with Urbanspoon “Prime users” to pick their brains for idea as to how to make the Urbanspoon experience even better.

The rep would be hosting two meeting on two occasions: one a dinner at night at Morimoto, the other a lunch the following afternoon at Delicatessen.

I chose the Delicatessen lunch, and did the quick trek down to SOHO, Prince and Lafayette Streets, walked into a large, open, homey space with a modern/rustic decor (which reminded very much of the space of COMPANY), and got to meet Keela, Urbanspoon SVP and GM.


Delicatessen (NYC)

Delicatessen (NYC)

Delicatessen (NYC)

Delicatessen (NYC)


Delicatessen (NYC)


Keela and I jumped immediately into “talking shop” that it took us a few minutes to even get into Delicatessen’s featuring an eclectic mix of “global comfort foods”. I chose to get one “outré” item, the “Duck Duck Goose” dumplings (with smoked duck breast, duck confit, foie gras) for an appetizer, Keela started with the fried tuna avocado roll. I followed my dumplings up with a much more traditional Reuben sandwich as Keela decided to sample the”Mac ‘Shroom”, one of the signature macaroni & cheese dishes from sister restaurant MACBAR next door, which shares the same kitchen. (And as the gas was out for the soda guns, instead of a ginger ale I ordered what turned out to be a very delicious strawberry lemonade to drink with my meal.)


Duck Duck Goose Dumplings

Duck Duck Goose Dumplings


Flash-Fried Tuna Avocado Roll

Flash-Fried Tuna Avocado Roll


"Mac 'Shroom"

"Mac 'Shroom"


Delicatessen Reuben

Delicatessen Reuben


Strawberry Lemonade


Overall, very decent dishes. Most started with great ideas but then suffered from a little too much over-thinking. My duck and goose dumplings had plenty of that rich, earthy gaminess, countered nicely by a sweet cherry chutney. Toasted almonds added smokey, crunchy texture, but the brown butter vinaigrette, though acidic enough to cut through the richness of the dumpling filling, added heaviness to the dish that could be a better app being more “light”. The fried tuna avocado roll was more successful, brightened and amplified by a sambal chili sauce, which supplied enough heat to open the palate without interfering or masking the freshness of the properly fatty tuna and fresh avocado.

The reuben sandwich—which Delicatessesn amusingly brands with its own name on the menu—was the least “un-fussed with” preparation, and therefore, to me, the most successful as it most showcased the kitchen’s skill, as opposed to kitchen’s cleverness. Thick, tender, beautifully-seasoned, thick-cut hand-sliced corned beef piled high on barely-toasted rye bread with a copious amount of hearty sauerkraut, plenty of full-melted swiss cheese, and bold Russian dressing, all made this dish a near home run.

Keela’s “Mac ‘Shroom”, with roasted “magic” [their quotes] mushrooms, mascarpone, fontina, and truffle essence was not as successful. Unfortunately, her serving suffered from overcooked pasta that pretty much fell apart in our mouths before we could bite through it (the mushrooms were far more firmer), and the truffle “essence” [my quotes] remained long after all of the other flavors of the dish. And as it is also very aromatic, it actually made me apprehensive to go in for more after just a few bites.

Delicatessen is very much a Soho kind of spot. It’s pretty, shiny, and does what it can to be noticeable yet different. But when you get through all its “cleverness”, you can tell there’s actually some “there” there. You just have to get through all of the other diversions.

And much like Soho, it is so pretty and shiny that you also can’t help but feel pretty and shiny while you’re there. And isn’t that, in essence, why you’re there in the first place? :D


Delicatessen Delicatessen

Bun Apple Tea!

KACNYC


DELICATESSEN | 54 Prince St. (at Lafayette St.) | 212.226.0211 | delicatessennyc.com | | | | | Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

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