"" What's She Eating Now?: Reviewlette - Double Crown

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reviewlette - Double Crown

The Monday Room-- a literally hidden gem located behind the hostess stand of Public-- has been a go to of mine for exceptional quality and value since it opened in 2006. Put simply, it made me heart Chef Brad Farmerie's flair for texture and clever flavor combinations. And when I learned of his newest outpost, Double Crown, I was excited to try it.

I let some time pass so that I could visit the restaurant at its steady state. I wanted to see Double Crown at its best. To be fair, this assessment is based on only one visit but I feel that the things I found fault with would likely be consistent issues and the things I enjoyed were not flukes.

The four of us started by sharing three items off the snack menu and one from the starters. The duck steam bun was mostly bun. We estimated that if we had taken all of the duck from the four buns it may have produced an appropriate amount for one. We also tried the spicy pork stuffed lychees. The table was split on these. While one diner loved it I found the textures completely incongruous. The pint of prawns was an odd presentation that looked sort of neat but I don't really enjoy fishing around to retrieve my food. Served literally in a pint glass with shredded lettuce on the bottom to keep all the food within reach, the vessel contained tail-on shrimp with a somewhat slimy coating. This dish would have been utterly unimpressive if it weren't for the fried heads it was served with. These were very good; a perfect crunchiness that yielded a small flavor explosion upon biting. The last appetizer was in my opinion the best thing we had all night: a crispy quail, which was exactly what it sounds like and was simple and well composed. On the whole, the dipping sauces served with some of these starters were at times extraneous and inconsistent with the East Asia and India-influenced cuisine. I hate to say it but the accompaniment to the shrimp was reminiscent of ketchup mixed with mayo.

On to the mains. Two of us had the snapper. The fish was a wonderfully fresh filet and the other elements on the plate were nice flavor complements-- a flat shrimp dumpling and some bok choy-- but the broth the entree was sitting in was overly salty, jarring even, and the plating was such that it made it difficult to create bites with all of the elements. The protein in the twice cooked chicken was well prepared but again, the broth did this dish in. Then a first, I met a braised pork belly I regretted trying. It just wasn't a good flavor experience and the red lentil puree it was sitting on was, in my opinion, inedible. The entrees to me exposed a fundamental misapplication of eastern ingredients and confirmed the lack of command over this genre I suspected during the first course.

Luckily we ended on a sweet note. We shared a chocolate mousseline which was delectable. The dish had some complexity to it but the taste was straightforward and silky and somehow managed to be both airy and rich.

The dining room is beautiful yet comfortable. The cocktails are inventive without being silly. The service is attentive without being intrusive. And I like that the restaurant's menu is an homage to the flavor influences of a the British Empire, a neat historical reference that gives the restaurant's concept depth. But the food was a bit of a let down. I'll go back for drinks and try a few more of the starters in hopes that some will be of the same caliber as the crispy quail. I may also try Madam Geneva, the cocktail lounge adjacent to the restaurant given Farmerie's success with a similar idea in the Monday Room. I simply have too much faith in Farmerie to write this place off, just yet.

Double Crown
316 Bowery at Bleeker

1 comment:

  1. I have found that the quality of the food at DC has slipped over time. It was absolutely delicious the first few times we went (fall/winter 2008), but hasn't been fantastic since then. We hope things improve.