Monday, August 2, 2010

Dinner at Strong Place

Hey! I'm back! Maybe just part-time for the rest of the summer, although there are a TON of new places that I'm eager to check out, so it's not like I have nothing to write about! Thanks for being patient, but the break was very needed and was quite helpful.

The new Strong Place (270 Court St., between Kane & DeGraw, no website) opened up last Monday, by the chef & owner of Bocca Lupo, (Kenny Tufo and Jeff Lederman respectively) and we took the opportunity to check it out. We also had heard from a photographer we interviewed back in the Fall that her boyfriend was making all the furniture and woodwork, and were curious to see what he made. When you walk in, there is a long, dark bar to your right, the length of which you follow to get to the tables in the back. There are windows on both sides of the space, which is a nice, and rare, touch. The tables are indeed beautiful and interesting. There are two-tops bolted to the floor, and metal fixtures into which you set an addition to expand your table as needed. Very clever.

We started off with some beer and wine. The beer comes in what look like 12-ounce glasses and my pour of wine was quite underwhelming. $11 for a few sips isn't cool. Ah well. Small plates = small drinks? We perused the menu, which is broken up into four sections: raw, market, seafood and meat. We started off with the Fluke Croudo, small slices of fluke with citrus, jalapeño, sea salt and agrumato oil (an olive oil infused with lemon). This was a delicious dish, possibly my favorite of the evening. Light, tender fish, subtle slices of jalapeño and a citrus dressing. It was flavorful and refreshing and topped with slices of pickled red onion.

We also ordered the Grilled Asparagus from the "Market" section of the menu, which came with a mushroom fondue and pecorino. The mushrooms were delicious, a mixture of hen of the woods and oyster in a thin cheese sauce. The asparagus, both green and white, were crisp, grilled just so and wonderful.

We also shared an order of Seared Diver Scallops, with English peas, tasso ham and lemon & honey. There were two large scallops, tender and meaty, over a mash of peas, with a slice of bacon-like ham served with a froth of the lemon & lavender, which had barely a hint of lavender. They were good scallops, nicely done and of good quality.

The dessert menu had a few options on it and for some reason the Upside-Down Pineapple Cake called out to me. This is not something I've ever ordered before, or have found appealing, but the description: with Brandied Cherries, Almond Cake & Lavender sounded intriguing. And it turned out to be one fantastic dish. The pineapple was sweet, the almond cake provided a nice balance, the cherries were earthy & tart and the slight floral addition of the lavender evened it all out. I'll definitely be back for this - perhaps at the bar with some red wine.

So, the food was pretty great, the servings of alcohol were on the small side, but the service and atmosphere are top-notch so I think this place has got a good chance of doing well.


Kristin said...

Welcome back and congrats!

I've never wanted to order a pineapple upside down cake either, but that looks pretty good. I've never been a big fan of the foam rage that's going on. It doesn't look appetizing to me, and I don't relish the thought of the texture.

Still, the asparagus sounds great - do you think it would still be good w/out the bacon? Or is this one of those places that it's an insult to request any changes? (Other than a bit more wine for $11...)

Eat It Brooklyn said...

Hey Kristin! Thanks!

Yeah, I know what you mean about the foam thing. It's not appetizing, and kinda looks like what my cat throws up, but I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt. I don't think it enhances anything, and some kind of reduction would be better.

The asparagus didn't have bacon - the scallops did, and it was a nice addition, otherwise might be a bit boring, since it just had peas & foam! I'm sure if you don't want the meat they'd be OK with that, at least I hope they would!

Anonymous said...

I went there last night (Monday Aug 2nd) around 7pm. As you wrote, the food was very very good. The chilled Lobster was perfect texture, well seasoned; scallops were great; beef tartar was very good; and the spicy pork was fantastic (albeit not too spicy).

My only complaint was the service was slow. It seemed like there was only one overworked waitress, and so after we got the food we weren't visited again to ask for 2nd drinks. And the wait for someone to take our desert order was so long we gave up. So the service was so slow that they lost out on 2 more drink and desert sales.

My sense is that it was just growing pains -- staff not fully ramped up? Not sure how to use the ordering computer? And hopefully would improve.

I'll definitely go back for the food, preferably on a night when I don't have movie tickets and thus am without time constraints.

Eat It Brooklyn said...

Thanks for the comment, Anon. When we were there we had three different waitresses coming by our table, but that made for some confusion. Perhaps they're still figuring things out, but the owners are established restaurant people so they should be able to set some strong guidelines before opening, no? Good to know the other food was good. I do hope they do well!

Anonymous said...

We went last Wendesday and sat at the bar. The food was excellent and so was the service. The bartender was a pretty entertaining guy and seemed to know what was going on in there. Maybe sit up there next time if the kinks aren't figured out in the rest of the place. But I recommened it, for sure.

Unknown said...

Don't want to try that. Pineapple upside down cake. Not my cup of tea.

Anonymous said...

I went a couple weeks ago, and I have to say everything was fantastic. In a neighborhood packed with A+ restaurants, they all are about to get a run for their money.

We ordered the fluke, crispy duck, lamb burger and beet tartar. Despite the fact that I hate beets, my date wanted it and I reluctantly went ahead with the order. I have too say, it was out of this world. The duck was by far the highlight. Nice and crispy on the outside, and very, very moist and juicy on the inside.

I'm really excited about trying everything on this menu!