Saturday, April 28

Slashing through my List

although my stomach and waist line might not be so happy about it, i have been slashing through my list of places to eat with a furor since i moved into the city. with just enough friends and some culinary adventurers, i've made more progress in the last 3 months than i did in the last 3 years. 

with Kiddo, i've been able to cross of some of the local Brooklyn Heights restaurants, since i'll stop in for a drink at the Brazen Head (where he bartends) after work, and then, when he gets off, we'll head out to dinner together. Kiddo is my perfect eating partner, in that he is very flexible when it comes to ordering. so whenever i'm waffling between a couple of choices (which is always), Kiddo lets me order both options and we just split them. to date, he's never said "no" to any of my suggestions. it's pretty awesome.

so with Kiddo's assistance i've finally eaten at Van Horn Sandwich Shop and Buttermilk Channel.

1.Van Horn's Sandwich Shop

it was pretty late on a weekday night by the time we got to Van Horn's, but since Kiddo and i were looking for a simple dinner, it seemed like a good choice.  we were the only people sitting at a table, although there might have been 1 person sitting at the bar. 

i opted for the Fish ($11) [lightly battered domestic catfish, coleslaw, homemade tartar, pickle] in an attempt to trick myself into thinking that i'm eating healthy and light. plus, fish is one of those food items i cook very infrequently since i find it so hard to do it well e.g. eliminate the fishy taste/smell.  Van Horn wasn't lying when they said the fish was "lightly battered," as it didn't have a greasy feel to it, and the catfish filet was surprisingly moist and tender, if a little bland. but a generous slathering of the homemade tartar will remedy that.

Kiddo, as expected, ordered the Chicken ($12) [fried chicken breast, zesty coleslaw, pickle]. what they don't mention on the menu is the side of searing tongue-numbing hot sauce they serve with the sandwich. that sauce is epic and delicious. unfortunately, it's there because without it, the sandwich can be a little dry, which i guess isn't surprising since it's chicken breast vs. a darker, juicier, (and unhealthier) chicken piece.

however, what was completely unforgivable was the side order of brussel sprouts ($5) we got. in our attempt to eat healthy and light, we got a veggie side from their "specials" menu. while we waited for our orders to arrive, Kiddo and i discussed our love of brussel sprouts. i think i pretty much changed his life when i told him that it was brussel sprouts season and you could buy them by the pound super cheap and easily make them at home with a simple oven roasting or saute. 

and then our side order came out: unseasoned, over boiled brussel sprouts. blech. i often read reviews where people say something was "inedible" and i usually roll my eyes a little, because i've been served some food where it's been a little salty, or a little underseasoned, but nothing's ever been "inedible." and while this side order wasn't exactly "inedible," it wasn't really "edible" either. Kiddo and i each took a bite and then left the remainder on the table.

while the prices weren't outrageous, i don't think i'd make a special trip back to Van Horn, even if it's close to my apartment. Popeye's is even closer to my apartment and is significantly cheaper and pretty damn delicious.

2. Buttermilk Channel

approximately 1 week (or was it a few days?) after my Van Horn experience, Kiddo convinced me that Buttermilk Channel wasn't too far away to go for a bite on a weekday 9 pm dinner.  so off we went. it was farther than Kiddo had thought, and by the time we got there, i wondered, even if the food is epic, if i would bother to make the trek again. 

maybe, if the weather is really nice, and probably only for brunch. daytime/afternoon walking always feels less like a journey than nighttime walking.

perhaps the stars were aligned, but we got there at time when there was no wait. we opted to sit outside since the weather was still pretty warm, which might have helped in the "no-waiting" circumstances. Kiddo (no surprise here) ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($20) [cheddar waffles & savoy cabbage slaw] while i opted for the Duck Meatloaf ($24)  [parsnip-ginger puree, onion ring & star anise-duck jus]. there had been a Kale Salad on the menu that i tried to coax Kiddo into ordering, but he didn't seem to be in a kale mood, so instead we got an order of French Fries ($6) instead.

overall, the meal was good. the Duck Meatloaf was well cooked, if a little small in portion size. and when i say small, i mean that-looks-small-because-i'm-used-to-Big-Mac-Cheesecake-Factory-portions-but actually i-was-satisfactorily-full-when-i-finished-this-meal. a review i'd previously read on the dish had mentioned that the duck jus seemed a little out of place in the dish, and i have to agree. while it kept everything moist, i'm not sure that's what i want floating underneath my parsnip-ginger puree (which had the texture of mashed potatoes, and is what i would've taken them for if the menu hadn't advised me otherwise).

i'm glad i finally got to check this restaurant out, but probably won't be back for dinner, although everything was good. what i really want to do now is go here for brunch. hello?! 4 types of bloodies? pecan pie french toast? short rib hash? fried pork chop & cheddar waffles? ok, this last one seems a little too heavy for brunch, even to me.

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