Monday, May 11, 2009

Dinner at Walter Foods

Happy Mother's Day! I'm feeling so happily stuffed right now from the delicious dinner we had at Walter Foods (253 Grand Street at Roebling, 718-387-8783), where we took my mom to celebrate her day. She was happy, so we were happy! But really, the food was fantastic and the place is really nice. Clean and classic with white walls, exposed dark wood beams, white milky glass over the light fixtures (globes over the tables, angular shapes over the bar) and a looks-to-be beautiful garden out back, where I imagine I'll savor future meals come summertime. Oooooh baby. Last night I started with a Bramble, a cocktail made with gin, lemonade and crushed blackberries. It was tart and strong and quite yummy.

I read today on Eater that when the fellows who created Walter Foods (Danny Dodd, owner of Barrio Chino and Daniel Minch, former bartender at Balthazar) were thinking of their establishment, they wanted to make a place that Frank Sinatra would have wanted to go after one of his shows. When I saw that I knew it was my kind of place. Simple foods, done marvelously; classy drinks with strong flavors and a nice, wide open space that's at once airy and cozy, with black leather booths up on a level above the wooden tables for two and the bar beyond that. I also read about the amazing Raw Bar, so we started with some oysters. They were providing four kinds, so we chose two of each of the three East Coast kinds (there was one from Oregon, but we were staying local). I didn't write all the names down (sorry!), but there were some Blue Point which were the tastiest; medium sized and briny. There were some humongous ones that were pretty mellow and then some smaller-sized morsels that had a bit of a kick to them. They came with a metal container full of a red onion & red wine vinegar topping. We also got some shrimp served with cocktail sauce which was served on the same bed of shaved ice that were tender and fresh and delicious.

For my entree I ordered the Butcher's Steak, which comes with fries and horseradish sauce. The steak was a long strip of nicely cooked meat over a bed of arugula with a creamy, tangy sauce and thin fries. The fries were mediocre, but the meat was nicely done, cooked to perfection and the arugula provided a nice, sharp counterpoint to the savory, juicy steak.

My boyfriend got the Pork Shoulder with Ratatouille from the list of specials. This was so flavorful, so juicy and tender, it was the best thing on the table. You had to negotiate some bones, but it was definitely worth it. The ratatouille was made with spring veggies like zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes and was so bright and fresh!

My mom got the Swordfish over Spinach, also from the list of specials. She loved it and polished it off before I could get a bite.

My sister got the Caeser Salad which she really liked, with homemade croutons and a creamy, tangy dressing. She also got a side of Crushed Potatoes of which there is no photo, but were a really nice take on roasted potatoes. Seasoned with rosemary, they were both delicate and earthy and quite delicious with crusty bits mixed in with softer bits of smashed potato.

We also got a few sides; Brussel Sprouts & Onion Rings. They Brussel Sprouts were cooked until they were soft and seasoned with something akin to maple syrup, but they weren't overly sweet, and the Onion Rings were incredible. Big, thick slices of onion battered and fried and presented in a big pile with ketchup and mayonnaise. Pure decadence.

I love going to dinner with my sister for may reasons, not least of all is that it we'll definitely be ordering something chocolately for dessert. We chose the Chocolate Pudding from the Specials menu and were not disappointed. So thick it was almost like mousse, it came with two chocolate chip cookies and a dollop of whipped cream. The cookies were OK, more like shortbread than cookie, but the 'pudding' was divine.

We also got an order of Berries and Cream, because even though nobody else orders dessert, they want some when it's served, so better to have extra than not enough! This was a dish of pineapple, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries tossed in a balsamic-honey glaze and served next to a scoop of thick and creamy whipped cream. Fantastic. The fruit was fresh and sweet, and the cream was a perfect compliment.

I'm eager to get back to Walter Foods to try their Brunch. Maybe by then the backyard will be open!

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