The accomplished chef and restaurateur, David Burke, has created numerous successful restaurants throughout the country. His restaurants are so successful because he blurs the lines between being a chef, an inventor, and artist, making him a pioneer in American cooking. After starting many predictable restaurants, including a seafood restaurant (Fishtail by David Burke), steakhouses, and a few stores that offer comfort foods, he decided to create a restaurant that would tackle the new fashionable food craze of Farm to Table cooking, called David Burke Kitchen. It is located in the basement of the trendy, modernistic James Hotel, which seems ill-suited for a restaurant that is trying to convey the feeling of eating in an extravagant barn. 

The restaurant's warm country barnyard aspects are mixed seamlessly with the cool, industrial simplicity of an airy loft influenced by being located in SOHO, creating a perfect atmosphere. The restaurant is adorned with long tastefully distressed wooden planks that are reminiscent of a barn ceiling. The quite dull walls are softly light and embellished with large color canvas prints of grinning farmers holding piglets, excited fish mongers holding their catch, and overjoyed apple ranchers displaying their bountiful harvest that are supposed to represent their "suppliers". The tables seem to be cutting board-esque, with blue gingham picnic napkins, and woven chairs again reminding us of the farm to table theme. While the cafe couches and concrete construction expose the modernness that is mixed in. On good weather days, the garden is open for people to sit outside to eat and enjoy the sunshine and public art.

Pecorino Fries

Pretzel Crab Cakes: tomato marmalade, mango, frisee, cumin citrus

Salmon Tartare: california olive oil, citrus, hearts of palm, whipped avocado

Akin to the decor, the food is a modern take on farmhouse cuisine with David Burke, adding his whimsical style to every dish. That being said, in my experience, the food was pretty unremarkable, with the recurring motif of poorly cooked, over seasoned, or over enriched food. For appetizers, the salmon crudo was cut so fine, leaving no texture whatsoever that you almost forgot it was there. The segments of citrus added a good brightness and the whipped avocado was added a creaminess, but to what? The salmon was ground into oblivion. The crab cakes are an interesting take on the original, but the amendment does not enhances the crab cake in any way. It is a rectangle of soggy, yet overly dry pretzel sticks covering crab meat, which is very hard to taste beneath the exterior and the marmalade. We ordered a side of pecorino fries, which I thought might be extraordinary, but turned out to be pretty ordinary. They were regular fries topped with some pecorino that didn't stay on the fries nor add much flavor.

Creekstone Farms Beef Short Rib:

smoked mozzarella risotto cake, heirloom tomato, pickled red onion, merlot reduction

Branzino:

fennel confit, tomato, olive & candied lemon

Seared Sea Scallops

The entrees were more successful, however they still had many missteps in their preparation. The beef short ribs were platted with the components stacked up; the short ribs on top of the heirloom tomatoes on top of the smoked mozzarella risotto cake. The short ribs were drenched in sauce that made it overly salty, but the freshness could be tasted from the pungent flavor of real beef. All the components together made it balances out because the salty meatiness was offset by the raw heirloom tomatoes, while the mozzarella risotto cake adds the creamy, richness to the dish. The seared scallops that so fresh and so perfectly seared, were served with roasted pork belly, which was crispy and delicious, but was not very compatible with the scallops. The scallops were served on a bed of green beans and corn, which were overly sweet that made them taste as if they came from a can; a terrible crime to commit with a farm to table restaurant. The branzino is a dish that can be described with many superlatives and very few are good. The very fresh branzino with super crispy skin is balanced on exceptionally mushy artichokes drenched in an extraordinarily sour vinaigrette. The entrees, while better that the appetizers, failed to deliver any kind of a "wow".

David Burke's Cheesecake Lollipops:

cherry pink cashmere, triple chocolate tuxedo, toffee top hat

Cup O’Dirt:

dark chocolate pot de creme, salted cookie crumble

For dessert, the cheesecake lollipops are a classic in any David Burke restaurants. With flavors like cherry pink cashmere, triple chocolate tuxedo, and toffee top hat it is a fun experience to try. The lollipops are evocative of

the original cheesecake, but with an added fun element and different flavors. They are served with a cotton candy whipped cream, which seemed unfitting and completely unnecessary. The pink, over whipped cream tasted of toothpaste and ruins the creaminess and the darkness of the chocolate. Another popular dessert is the Pot O' Dirt, which tasted like any chocolate mousse covered with salted cookie crumble, which added good texture and a counterbalance from the sweet of the pot de creme.

I love the idea of a farm to table restaurant, that utilizes farm fresh ingredients and gives it a modern twist like they try to do at, David Burke Kitchen. But, in my experience the food does not match up with the expectation of the renowned name of David Burke. The plates are too salty, too sweet, too sour, too heavy, and overall badly prepared. Though the concepts and ideas are well thought out the execution is horribly flawed.

For more information on David Burke Kitchen go to: http://www.davidburkekitchennyc.com/index.php

 

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