So Thursday night, I was the beneficiary of a corporate gathering that happened to include an incredible dinner. Normally, I try to avoid such functions as not to appear as a “Corporate Tool,” however, this occurrence was rendered mandatory by my boss. For said dinner, myself and eight colleagues gathered on the Upper East Side to dine at David Burke Townhouse, and I must say if this is what “Business” dinners consist of then I am completely willing to be the biggest “Corporate Tool” around.
Obviously, we began dinner with drinks which, for me, included Duvel (pronounced Doovil not Du Vel….trust me) and Green Flash IPA, a West Coast IPA that any Hop Head would be happy with. Other drinks included Allagash White (a truly amazing White Ale from Maine), 18 year Scotch (the brand eludes me….you can guess why) and an assortment of red and whites. A plethora of appetizers soon followed. There was something for every palate.
First, there was my personal favorite; a Parfait of Big Eye Tuna and Salmon Tartares with apples, pine nuts, hijiki and a beautiful creme fraiche. I am in no way a food critic, but I will say that the dish was insanely good.
Also served as appetizers were Shrimp cannelloni with Roast Prawn, Market Salad that included goat cheese, walnuts, apple, crisp potato, bacon and fresh herbs, Crisp and Angry Lobster served, literally, on a bed of nails, and Scallops Benedict topped with a Quail Egg.
Needless to say I would have been more than satisfied if our evening had ended there, but fortunately, my main course was on its way. I ordered the Bronx Style Filet Mignon of Veal with Veal Cheek with a Fig Ravioli. I was feeling a bit adventurous and went with this because I had heard that cheek from any animal can be some of the most tender and best tasting meat on the animal. I was not disappointed. The filet, cooked medium rare , was great. The Cheek was PHENOMENAL. Seriously, if you get the chance to try it, go for it. Don’t be dissuaded by the fact that it’s part of the cow’s face.
Out of nine of us, only three entrees were ordered. I should clarify by saying that we all got an entree but there were several copy cat orders. The Veal, Braised Short ribs (not pictured) and Australian Rack of Lamb with Roast Octopus, which I would have ordered if it were domestic lamb. Imported vs. Domestic lamb is a debate for another post. However, the presentation of the lamb was incredible. The frenched bones were standing upright but were wrapped in the octopus tentacles. I apologize for not getting a good shot of this, but you can see the tentacle which one of the guests graciously let me try. I will say that it was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever tried. Not based on taste because it wasn’t bad, but more on texture. It wasn’t rubbery and overcooked as so often is the case with octopus, but it wasn’t like a piece of beef either. It was honestly indescribable. Perhaps you guys agree or maybe you think I’m an idiot. That’s ok. I’m just describing what I thought.
We ordered after dinner drinks with our dessert and by that time, I was starting to feel silly taking so many pictures (the owner of my company was there), so I didn’t take any photos of them. I did order Calvados as my drink. It’s an apple brandy specifically from the Normandy region of France. Thank you study abroad; I did learn something. Dessert consisted of cheesecake lollipops, beignets with dipping sauce, an indulgent chocolate cake with Guinness ice cream and an apple tart.
Now obviously, I had nothing to do with the bill, but if you are looking to celebrate a very special occasion, Townhouse is doable. It’s certainly not cheap, but I recommend it if you ever get the chance. If you guys have any dining experiences you want to share, please let me know. We’re always looking for new and interesting places and dishes.