DBGB Kitchen and Bar
299 Bowery New York NY 10003; map); 212-933-5300; danielnyc.com
Service: Casual, familiar, more than competent
Setting: Stark and cluttered all at once.
Compare to: Balthazar, db Bistro Moderne, Lucien
Cost: Three courses, $24.07
Previously: Tabla, Tocqueville, Chinatown Brasserie
The $24.07 price for lunch established by Restaurant Week is becoming a permanent fixture of many menus. (If the trend continues, will there be any reason for Restaurant Week at all?) Last week I enjoyed an fine Indian meal at Tabla. And this week, I ventured to DBGB Kitchen and Bar and found the same $24.07 price—although, in this case, the prix-fixe price has risen from DBGB's pre-Restaurant Week menu (it used to be a flat $22).
But I am not going to quibble over a couple of bucks, not when the food is as excellent the offerings at DBGB are.
The bread and butter are simply superb, adding serious value to the meal.
The first-course choices included grilled calamari and a winter squash soup, but how could I resist the pate campagnard? A dense, meaty slab of pork and chicken livers, so speckled with fat that it looked like a marble tombstone. I find the sausages the most compelling items on the menu at DBGB, and this pate did not disappoint. Served with a sour whole wheat bread, it was rich enough to be a main course.
For my main course I stuck with the charcuterie and went with the Chipolata sausage with eggs, hash browns, and frisee salad. The sausage was sharper in flavor than the slightly sweet, bready sort of chipolata sold up and down the British Isles; it's doubtlessly truer to the Franco-Italic origin. It was salty like bacon and had a gamey character. Texturally, it was meaty and loosely packed, but it could have used a bit more char from the grill.
I had no complaints about perfectly cooked sunny-side eggs, but the hash brown was soggy and the salad appeared to be missing acidity. Both it and the potatoes seemed to be too oily.
A mint chocolate sundae lives up to its name, loaded with chocolate sorbet, chocolate chip cookies, cocoa nip crunchies, and whipped cream. Despite this seeming tyranny of cocoa, the predominant flavor is actually mint. And not that artificial mint flavor that has become such a part of the flavor vernacular, but real mint—effervescent and refreshing, but far subtler than the fake stuff.
It is possible to eat a far lighter lunch than I consumed, and truth be told, I probably didn't need to follow a sausage course with another sausage course. But I feel that the charcuterie program at DBGB really is raison d'être for visiting in the first place. I will admit that I needed a nap after the meal.