Gone gone gone

Today I leave for 6 weeks in Germany. I started my trip with 3 nights, 2 days in New York. I really decided to do this because, as I was thinking about making the trip which involves once stop somewhere—you cannot get from Chicago to Berlin on one flight—there’s gotta be a stop . . . . Copenhagen, Dubai, Newark, Paris, somewhere. My friend, Mary in Milwaukee, sent me a video podcast of an interview with a New York chef/restaurant owner suggesting I’d like the way she, the chef, thinks. Coincidentally, on that same day, my friend Gail, who lives in New York and knew I might be planning to stop there (in Newark where the flight to Berlin actually flies from) sent me a link to the website of this chef’s restaurant thinking I’d be interested in it.

I was. Shukette which mean little market or something like that and was middle eastern, was hard to get in to being a hot NYC restaurant. But I dogged the internet attempting to get a reservation for more than a week. Eventually I did. And we went.

This fabulous soft, puffy, fragrant bread (Frena) with pistachios and garlic confit. So lovely.

Then came these two dips, (spreads?) the first one looked like hand lotion but was whipped garlic. This is not one of my favorite things, raw garlic. OMG it was exquisite. I didn’t even realize it was garlic. I could have just eaten just that and the bread. The other stuff was red pepper and stuff. Not sure but delicious. Not hot either.

Oooh mama, these fries, shwarma spiced. Could have made these and the garlic stuff dinner.

Middle eastern pickles . . . you gotta know I’m gonna be all over that shit. They lulled me into a false sense of security. The vegetables were not spicy hot, until I got to an actual pepper. And then the people at the next booth asked me to stop sobbing even though my face was buried in my napkin, shirt, a mask and the back of the booth. (just kidding, I weathered it like the man I am but the top of my head was sweating). And grilled corn that was so good, so different and luscious.

Gail ordered the steak skewer but then was not so thrilled with it. She was just eating the steak though, I wrapped each piece in the bread it came on with the fruit/cucumber salad and it was amazing.

The place though, was unremarkable, so, OK, fine I don’t need that exactly. But it would have been cooler if it looked more like an Arab market and less like Wendy’s. Plus it was freezing cold and so loud we had to shout. I came to find that this is a trend in NYC restaurants, cold and loud. The service was great though. Loved our funny and attentive (but not too attentive) waiter. I’d totally go there again and bring a parka.

You can read more about the restaurant here (https://www.shukettenyc.com/about-us) or you can listen to her podcast here (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ft-weekend/id1179847741?i=1000574908554).

The Grand Tour, NYC, Bagatelle

Coming off the heels of the sublime meal at Three Letters, our meal at Bagatelle was almost laughable. In fact it would have been it it hadn’t been so expensive. Bagatelle is a very fancy restaurant that has sister restaurants in St Tropez, St Barth and several other snooty places I don’t recall. The restaurant is so snooty that the waiter didn’t even wait, well, that’s not true, he did wait while the busboy, if that’s what he was, did all the work. Seriously. A young, tattooed, overweight, not very kempt white guy watched, like standing-right-there watching, while the older, well groomed, hispanic guy in the blue service outfit did everything.

The wine was nice. The “zucchini cigars,” the very precious name for zucchini strips with ricotta cheese inside, was nice too. But the steak and fries. Just ordinary. Ashish’s duck was too salty to eat.

He didn’t tell me this until he’d eaten most of it and by then it’s too late to complain. I tried it. I like salt. It was way too salty. I didn’t complain but I did write DUCK TOO SALTY on the check.

I guess I told them!

Too bad Three Letters was closed that day. I’d happily have returned.