Fancy Sausage at DBGB Kitchen & Bar
Daniel Boulud is considered one of the best chefs in the world. His restaurant, Daniel, in NYC has a 3-star Michelin rating and is considered among the best in the world. He has 12 restaurants in the US, Canada, the UK, and China. I think what makes him even more respectable and revered is that he has a hot dog on one of his menus. When our friends Leslie and Takaya (who run a great graphic design firm with clients like chef Marcus Samuelsson) recently suggested going to dinner at DBGB Kitchen & Bar, I texted Ali right away. “OMG, this is Daniel Boulud’s sausage restaurant! It’ll be expensive but I think we should go!” There are many reasons why she is the perfect woman for me, but when she replied to everybody saying something along the lines of “Sausage! Hell yeah!,” a small tear of joy ran down my cheek.
I’m writing this post about 2 weeks after eating there so some details are a little hazy. What I can tell you is that I showed up in a sweaty mess thanks to this invigorating heat wave we have been experiencing for about 3 weeks now. Usually it’s not a big deal but when I walk into a restaurant like this I feel a little self-conscious about the sweat marks under my moobs. The restaurant’s website has a really good description of the interior design but it’s also worth mentioning here. The entire restaurant is a combination of industrial kitchen and contemporary design. The restaurant is about a block away from where CBGB’s used to be. The lower east side (and NYC in general) is exploding in a trend of square, glass buildings. The same is true here, especially in the first space which houses the bar. Floor to ceiling windows span the facade and the interior walls sport floor to ceiling mirrors detailed with sayings from chefs. It’s a very hip and trendy yet casual space with music like The Stooges and Spoon playing over the sound system.
The main dining room has dark wood, low lighting, shelves with kitchen gear and other sundries, and a large semi-open kithchen. I settled in to the dark brown leather booth and announced my intention to eat nothing but sausage. There is a lot to offer besides sausage, such as shellfish and other dishes from Lyon. I decided I would skip the DBGB Dog and go for a couple of sausages. I was quite lucky though as our friends decided to order the DBGB Dog and the Tunisienne. The dog is listed as being a homemade beef wiener with sauteed onions, mustard ketchup, and 299 relish (not exactly sure what that means). You can also check out Hawk Krall’s post in Serious Eats about the dog. I had a bite or two and it was a nice mild tasting dog. It was also topped with frisee and radish, not exactly two of my favorite vegetables/garnishes; again, very light and mildly flavored toppings but it did add some nice color. The bun seemed homemade as well, with a nice sheen of butter helping to make the exterior nice and crispy. At $9 it might be the most expensive hot dog I’ve eaten. As a whole sandwich it was pleasant and mild. Personally I like a little more sloppy to my dogs so perhaps this is the casual-fine dining version. The Tunisienne, on the other hand, was bold and exploding with flavor. This is a lamb & mint merguez sausage with harissa, spinach, and chickpeas. This was soft in texture with potent lamb and mint flavors. The harissa (a North African hot chilli sauce) provided tons of heat as evidenced by Ali waving her hand in front of her mouth saying “oh my god, that’s so hot.”
My main course was a choice of 2 sausages. Sausage #1 is the Toulouse which consists of pork, duck gizzard, and garlic on top of cassoulet beans. This was a thicker, sweet sausage, nicely seared, and with a very mild smokey flavor (despite the fact that it was not listed under the smokey sausage section of the menu). The small pieces of gizzard within the link also added a little more solid texture. Sausage #2 is the Thai, a pork, lemongrass and red curry link with green papaya, basil fried rice, chili sauce, and a quail egg. Another beautifully cooked sausage with a nice snap, but with a bolder and hotter flavor than the Toulouse (though probably not as much as the Tunisienne).
The desserts were especially amazing. We ordered (and I would highly recommend) the Souffle Chaud with grand marnier and creme anglaise; this was especially decadent. We also got the Tiramisu Ice Cream Sandwich made of coffee ice cream, mascarpone ice cream, espresso soaked ladyfingers, and almond shortbread. This was like a deconstructed ice cream sandwich with each ingredient more delicious than the next. Luckily, everyone else decided to have a conversation while dessert was served. I threw courtesy out the window and bogarted both dishes. I eventually got caught and had to let them have some too. At some point we realized it was midnight and we had been there for about 3 1/2 hours. This was the ideal dinner; great conversation, homemade sausages, and extravagant desserts!
DBGB Kitchen & Bar 299 Bowery, New York NY 10003