David Burke Kitchen was on my radar because of its red velvet sundae on the Restaurant Week dessert menu. I made reservations for three people as soon as Restaurant Week reservations opened. The night of our dinner was an off-night yet the dining area was packed. One person in our party was not able to make it due to an emergency, so we told the two young hostesses that it would only be two that night. We proceeded to wait 40 minutes for a table as other parties of two were seated. When we were finally offered a seat, it was in the bar area. I wasn’t too crazy about the seating as one person would have to sit on a large block of wood with a pillow behind her back while the other person got a chair. I found the tables to be awkwardly large as well so that, in a crowded dining room, you couldn’t hear your partner.
Our waiter gave us menus and explained that for Restaurant Week, you could order anything off the menu with a rabbit symbol next to it. I do like this gesture, as most participating restaurants have limited Restaurant Week menu choices. He also told us the specials. I was immediately disappointed to see the dessert menu options were different from the menu posted on the official New York Restaurant Week site–no red velvet sundae.
At this point, we were given a charming bread basket with the same blue gingham napkins at the table. The bread basket had very yummy, pencil-thin breadsticks, cooked carrot sticks and farmer’s bread. Our butter was served in a small glass jar.
I ordered the crab and tomato gazpacho with roasted corn, cilantro and lime creme fraiche to start. This dish arrived with a small circle of crab topped with the creme fraiche. The server poured the gazpacho into the bowl. This soup had a wonderful flavor. The lime creme fraiche had a hint of chipotle in it. I enjoyed this dish very much.
My friend ordered the cute tuna tartare tacos with whipped avocado and tobiko caviar. I did sample a taste of this and it was very good as well.
When I finished my appetizer, I picked up a piece of bread and buttered it with the butter knife on my bread plate. No sooner than I did that, in mid-chew, the busboy took away the bread basket and my bread plate. For my entree, I chose the trout with pickled carrot, citrus salad and mint yogurt. The trout was grilled, skin and tail on, which I didn’t like so much as the presentation is kind of ugly and I had to pull the skin off. I did like the mint yogurt as an accompaniment, but the citrus salad and falafel didn’t do anything for me.
My friend ordered the black sea bass with baby shrimp, spinach, tomato, olive and yellow pepper. The spinach and yellow pepper sauce were very good, but the sea bass didn’t taste fresh.
For dessert, we both chose the brownie. The server poured salted caramel sauce around the plate. This was a delightful dessert. I especially liked the chocolate crumbles and salted caramel around the plate. I think a vanilla ice cream would’ve gone better than mint chocolate chip. The chocolate lollipop had a wonderful cherry syrup inside, and who wouldn’t love the adorable floppy toasted marshmallow?
While the food was very good and the options plentiful for a Restaurant Week menu, the restaurant’s rushed vibe reminded me more of a chain restaurant in middle America than a trendy New York spot, and I was expecting the young wait staff to adorn “pieces of flair.” Therefore, given the plethora of restaurants in New York City, I would opt for a place with better service.