Tonight I left my friends in the lounge with the tv on to go with seven other members of the Columbia Culinary Society to David Burke Townhouse for a restaurant week dinner. I really enjoyed the chance to get off campus for a night of foodie conversation, and the restaurant was perfect.
David Burke Townhouse takes its service and food seriously, but they let in just the right touch of whimsy with glass balloons on the ceiling and pink bubblegum whipped cream at dessert. But I'll get to dessert in a minute. Let's start with appetizers.
Before we even looked at menus, a small plate with a shot glass atop a lace doily appeared in front of each of us. Huh? This tiny little bite turned out to be salt cod with potato foam. It was extremely salty, but in a yummy, beef jerky sort of way. The potato foam provided a neutral backdrop for the salty fish. After this sweet random bite, we were served warm, fresh rolls. The butter was gorgeous. Served on a slab of pink salt, it had been carved into a swirl and drizzled with more smoked salt.
For an appetizer, I ordered parsnip soup. It was creamy and very delicious, especially the small roasted parsnip shards. Other friends ordered the pretzel-crusted crabcake, which looked more architectural than edible, but apparently it was delicious.
Below is the mushroom cavatelli with braised short ribs. The homemade pasta was soft, like gnocchi, and it was wrapped in a creamy sauce studded with chewy mushrooms. The meat broke apart at the touch of a fork in fatty strands and absorbed a dollop of truffle mousse that melted over the cube of meat onto the pasta below. A small pile of mushroom chips provided crunch to balance the softness of the meat and pasta. I know other people didn't like this main course that much, saying it was too salty or too bland, but I loved it. The many forms of mushrooms plus the short ribs created a glorious umami taste that defines richness.
For dessert, I had a delightful strawberry poundcake sundae. A soft scoop of ice cream was piled on top of cubes of dry cake, freshly sliced strawberries, and crunchy almond brittle. A waiter poured warm strawberry sauce over my sundae, melting the ice cream and soaking the cake in fruity goodness. It was delicious, and not too heavy.
Our table also shared a cheesecake lollipop tree. It was a gorgeous contraption with ten lovely chocolate dipped lollipops of the softest cheesecake. At the base of the tree sat a small saucepan with a giant scoop of bright pink bubblegum whipped cream. I didn't get any pictures that I liked of the tree all together, but that's what the internet is for.
And here we are, looking well fed and happy.
We headed home in the cold and analyzed our meal on the subway. Too salty? Perhaps. But you can find problems with anything if you look hard enough. And this was a whole hell of a lot better than wings and beer.