July 11, 2009

DBGB - Not sure if it lives up to the hype

Last night I went down to DBGB for dinner.

After hearing the over extensive coverage on Eater and Grub Street, I figured DBGB was one of the new spots I had to try.

I went to DBGB harboring a pretty neutral opinion of Daniel Boulud.

Now I have never gone to Daniel or Cafe Boulud - but then again I've never really had the itching desire to.

I have however been to Bar Boulud on the upper west side and didn't care for it that much.  Too expensive for what you get - and a bit too pretentious...I don't really get it. 

Anyhow - seeing as DBGB is Boulud's try at downtown low-key bar fare, I thought I would give it a try.  The decor is very "downtown" - I want to say it's a rich man's The Smith.  With a downtown vibe, I'm not quite sure why they insist on having a very uptown host - seemingly quite pretentious.  First turnoff of the night.

Chop chop salad at DBGB
We started off with the chop chop salad.  I loved this salad.  It was delightfully light - a perfect summer salad of romaine, cucumbers shaved carrots, avocado, and watermelon.

I saw the watermelon as a replacement for tomatoes - and it's this genius that makes this a DBGB salad and not an ordinary chop salad.

Slightly Asian inspired with a crisp sesame and ginger dressing - this salad is just about perfect.  If I go again - I'm just ordering that salad + the lobster.

Next I tried the DBGB dog - your pretty basic beef weiner dog with the added bonus of sautéed onion, mustard and relish.  I would say the caramelized onions were the best part of this very ordinary hot dog.

At $7 bucks, it's not super expensive, but frankly I didn't taste any difference from your Costco variety.  The extra $6 bucks is for the mustard, onions and relish.  First disappointment of the night.

The Frenchie Burger at DBGB
Second, I tried The Frenchie -  a burger topped with grilled pork belly, arugula, tomato-onion compote & morbier cheese on a peppered brioche bun with cornichon, mustard & fries.

$17 bucks for a burger of this size is pretty steep - but I was really hoping for some magic with that grilled pork belly.

After this try I am yet again convinced that the best rendition of pork belly in the city belongs to Momofuku's pork buns.  Pork belly should melt in your mouth.  DBGB's didn't.

More like thick bacon, topped on the burger - the whole combination was surprisingly dry.  When compared to the likes of Shake Shack, Corner Bistro and even The Smith...this burger came up pretty short as I resorted to the ultimate sin of dipping it into ketchup!  One should never have to dip a burger in ketchup.

As for the fries- they were pretty good, but a bit salty.  And nothing ever can beat the fries at Balthazar.

Sundae at DBGB
Finally for dessert I had to try one of the sundaes.  I went with the coffee caramel sundae which was fabulous!

While I was disappointed with the DBGB Dog and The Frenchie, I would definitely come back for dessert.

The sundae was huge - definitely enough for two people to share.  My favorite part was all the toppings - candied pecans, brownie bits and chocolate cookies.

Topped with a heavy dose of whipped cream and hot fudge - this sundae was to die for.

All in all - I'm glad I tried DBGB, but the highlights for me were really the beginning and the end with a very forgettable middle.  The chop chop salad and the sundae were worthy of a second trip.

That being said, I would probably wait till the hype dies down and waits go under 2 hrs.  If you go on the early side - grab a seat at the bar for their bar bites menu - good enough for now.  Plus DBGB has an extensive selection of draft beers to try.

DBGB Kitchen & Bar
299 Bowery between Houston and 1st Ave.

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