Last night I decided to go to the new one-month old restaurant in the Lower East side, where its name is its address: Allen & Delancey.
I walked in to find a dark restaurant lit with an abundant amount of candles and walls of exposed brick. It had a modernized gothic feel to it, but in a sexy way.
There is a bar up front, with the main dining room in the back separated by a small hallway. I walked past the bar to the Hostess station to see if there were any seats available. I noticed an open table and asked one of the hostesses where she thought I should eat. She recommended the bar where "Heather would take good care of me." I like being taking care of, and also like making conversation with everyone who works at a restaurant (and eats at a restaurant too) so the bar was where I sat.
I started out with a Manhattan. I figured a stiff drink would be a good way to get the night going (it was 10:30pm). I was excited to check out the menu, for the chef, Neil Ferguson was plucked from Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in midtown, a reputable dining destination in NYC.
After perusing the menu and inquiring with Heather what her favorite dishes were, I eventually made the decision to go with an appetizer of Skin Roasted Spanish Mackerel with bacon gnocchi, and apple cider vinagrette ($15). For my entree I chose the Moulard Duck Magret with turnip confit, buttered radishes and foie gras.
The highlight of the meal was actually the bread. The bread is baked in-house, and I was given a plate of one sage and bacon roll, and one regular roll, along with a side of butter. Both rolls were warm, and fluffy, and absolutely delicious. The butter was amazing as well. It was extremely creamy, which I liked. It was one of the best plates of bread I have ever had.
The Spanish Mackerel appetizer was a very interesting dish. The combination of flavors were unlike any I have encountered before. Mackerel is a very "fishy" fish, so the bacon gnocchi and apple cider vinagrette were used to counteract that fishiness. The fish was well cooked, but the dish to me only works when you combine all three elements on one forkfull. I will admit I am not a fan of apples, so that might have been a turn-off. But the bacon gnocchi were not what I expected either. In fact, I was having trouble locating which was the gnocchi and what was apple. I wish the gnocchi had stood out a little more. I was still pleased with the dish and the use of unusual flavor combinations, I just wasn't blown away.
The Moulard Duck Magret was yet another dish with unusual flavor combinations. The duck was presented in the center of the plate cut into many slices. It was perfectly cooked, and nice and juicy. I never had turnip confit or buttered radishes, and both were fine. They were interesting compliments to the duck, and the dish had a very "Autumny" feel to it, but I can't say I loved it. It was something different though, and I love trying new things and experimenting. The best part of the dish though was the foie gras. There was a small piece of duck foie gras at one side of the plate, really not the focus of the plate at all. What made the foie gras so great was it was topped with toasted almonds. It gave it some great texture, as well as some added flavor, and I loved it.
I was too stuffed for dessert, although they all looked interesting, with again some unique flavor combinations, such as one dessert that came with olive oil ice cream!
So, if you are looking for a sexy dining experience, with good food with unique flavors, Allen & Delancey would be a very good choice.
Allen & Delancey
115 Allen St. (and Delancey!)
New York, NY 10002