Consider a game by which you make a hypothetical but definitive choice between two things. By choosing one you forgo the other for the rest of your life. You can apply this game to anything. Movies or television? Mountain or sea? Wine or spirits? Or — chips or fries? The last one was easy. I would have chosen neither. I’m pretty sure I could have lived happily ever after without either chips or fries. That is, until I tasted April Bloomfield’s thrice-cooked fries with cumin mustard.
Admittedly thrice-cooked fries are not the only reason to go to The Breslin. There’s the lamb burger that goes with it. There is the entirely sinful and irresistible three-grilled-cheeses sandwich. And also, in season, the kale salad. But I’ll take a step back.
About 8 years ago, just a few months after the Spotted Pig opened, I pitched a cookbook with April Bloomfield to the publisher for whom I worked. Or rather I suggested the idea. Granted, it may have been a little premature. Phaidon had barely embarked on its first cookbook, and it was still the restaurant’s very early days. But my motivation was selfish — I really wanted those recipes.
Because the maddeningly wonderful thing about the food at Bloomfield’s restaurants the Spotted Pig and The Breslin (I haven’t yet been to her latest the John Dory Oyster Bar) is that they feel like dishes one could make at home, but beyond the consistently flawless execution there is always a surprising and cryptic twist that makes them spectacular.
While the first thing that comes to mind with Bloomfield is often offal and pig’s ears (and they well deserve the attention), the dishes I still think about most often, longingly, many years later, are a revelatory artichoke stew; a simply perfect radish salad with basil and parmesan; the famous feather-light gnudi doused with butter and sage; the aforementioned fries served with cumin (cumin!) mustard; and just last week I had poached eggs over curried lentils for breakfast, which will certainly be added to that list. I don’t think I’ve had a disappointing dish in either place, and many are mind-bogglingly good. I will, insatiably, be going back for more.
And now very soon, in just a couple of months, that long awaited cookbook is coming out. Can’t wait.
16 West 29th Street (between Fifth Ave. and Bway)
New York, NY 10001
Breakfast Mon-Fri 7am-11.45am
Lunch Mon-Fri 12pm-4pm
Brunch Sat-Sun 7am-4pm
314 West 11th Street (at Greenwich Street)
New York, NY 10014
Lunch Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm
Bar Menu from 3pm-5pm; Dinner from 5.30pm-2am
Brunch Sat-Sun 11am-3pm