It’s almost 2 p.m. and K-Dubs and I have just finished lunch at davidburke and donetella. We were stuffed but we had a 5: 15 p.m. reservation at Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne.
I made the call.
“Allo DB Bistro Moderne,” a male voice with a French accent answered.
“Hi, I have reservations for 5:15, but I think I’ll have to change that to a later time. Is that possible,” I replied, conscious now of my American accent.
“Zusht ah minuit. Euuh what time aRe you coming in?”
“Uh… I don’t know exactly… I’ll be watching a show… Monty Python’s Spamalot. And I don’t know what time it ends.”
“Spam-a-lot? Euh, let meh check… No I hav no, euh, Spam-a-lot. Iss itt even ah Broadway play?”
“Yeah I guess so, it’s like right down the block from you guys.”
There was a pause for a while; the man on the phone seemed perplexed. I could picture him thinking:
Qu’est que ce spam-a-lot? Ne pas arriver trop tard ou je vais couper le fromage dans votre direction générale!
The man told me when the kitchen was going to close but reassured me that if it was on Broadway that I would have enough time to get to the restaurant after the show was over.
So after a brilliant show, (I’m usually not interested in musicals or plays, but Spamalot is different) we coconut-cantered to the restaurant.
We made it in time and were seated by an impeccably dressed Frenchman. (The same one on the phone? Luckily he didn’t “coupe le fromage” in our general direction.)
Our waiter, another Frenchman took our order.
I had the foie gras torchon to start. It was good, but foie gras usually is. My main, a duck dish, came with a breast that was expertly roasted and a braised leg.
K-Dubs had the famous $32 DB burger. The patty was huge, I don’t think I’ve seen bigger and it consisted of a core of foie gras and black truffle, surrounded by braised short ribs, which was then encapsulated with ground sirloin. They sandwich that bad boy between a Parmesan bun. It truly was decadence in a burger. K-Dubs liked the individual elements within the burger, but taken as a whole, it was a bit overwhelming and unfortunately slightly dry.
Their desserts were smart, succinct and satisfying. I had a good meal and liked Chef Boulud’s concept of a classy French-American bistro. We wanted Daniel, but without the fuss, time and price tag (although it was still slightly pricey,) and Chef Olivier Muller does a good job on delivering.
Halfway through dessert, we decided to end the eventful day with a glass of Sauternes. It was almost eleven as we picked through the mignardises that the kitchen had sent out and indulged in the sweet, luscious wine. At that moment, between fatigue and contentment, I wanted so much just to stay in New York. I remember the first time visiting, my freshmen year in college, and was so taken with the city and its buzz: its pulse of life, its vibrancy. And today after an excellent lunch, walking around the city and soaking in its vibe, a great show on Broadway and a good dinner, it reminded me of all the reasons why I love this city.
DB Bistro Moderne
55 West 44th Street (Between 6th and 5th Avenues)
New York, NY 10036
Breakfast is served Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., and from Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Lunch is served Monday to Friday from noon to 2:30 p.m. Dinner is served seven days a week. Sunday and Monday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Tuesday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Appetizers from $14 to $25. Mains from $29 to $45. Sides are $9. Desserts are $12.
Don’t let the word bistro fool you. Everyone is dressed up here.