Friday, March 07, 2008

The Monday Room

March 7

Last night I had dinner with Olga Katsnelson and Kate Goldstein-Breyer. I’d never met Kate before, but I’ve known Olga for years and years, from back when she worked in New York for KB Network News, and later for Bullfrog & Baum.
Now she and Kate have their own PR business based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but nonetheless they work with AvroKO, the design company that owns Public restaurant here in New York and its little sister chamber The Monday Room, where we had dinner.
The Monday Room is based on the notion that the first day of the work week is not generally an enjoyable one. In the hopes of making it, or any day, better, this little lounge is a hideaway where the weary can retreat and enjoy food and drink — food prepared by chef Brad Farmerie (favorite color: “If I had to say, I’d say green”) and paired with drinks picked by sommelier Ruben Sanz Ramiro.
Or you can do it the other way around — pick the wines you want to drink and have Brad make food to go with it. Either way.
But before I digress further, I have news. The AvroKO gang is taking over the space on Bleecker and Bowery that is currently Mannahatta and plan to turn it into, well, they’re not sure what yet. Certainly it will be a restaurant, but the democratic folk at Avro Ko are still hashing out most of the details. Brad knows that he wants to have house-churned butter there, and that the chef de cuisine will be Chris Rendell, whom he knows from the time he spent in London.
“He’s just a rock star,” Brad said.
Other than that, well, we’ll see. The wheels of democracy turn slowly, but they still hope to open the place sometime this spring. Avro Ko designs lots of places. But this will be the first expansion of the company’s own restaurant empire since The Monday Room opened.
Brad and I last saw each other in the Blenheim airport in the New Zealand region of Malrborough. So I showed off my new New Zealand cufflinks (North island on the left cuff, South Island on the right). We spoke of Lauraine Jacobs, the food editor of Cuisine magazine in New Zealand, for whom Brad had cooked dinner and with whom I dined. I mentioned that she said he made the best blood pudding she’d ever had. I asked if he was putting it on his brunch menu, and in fact he is, as part of a traditional Irish breakfast with an egg, maple-roasted apple and slow-roasted tomatoes.
The sausage itself is actually a venison sausage (although the blood is from pigs), flavored with cumin, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon.
Here’s a picture of Brad. I left the dinner menu up to him, asking him to send out whatever he thought was interesting these days.
And this is what he thought (and what Ruben thought we should drink):
Manzanilla Pasada, Pastrana Vinícola Hidalgo, Sherry

Glazed eel with pickled bean sprouts and soft boiled quail egg
Tokaji Furmint, Mandolás, Oremus, 2004

Miso baked bone marrow with blood orange-olive marmalade and five-spice brioche
Amontillado, Contrabandista, Bodegas Valdespino

Old school pig’s head terrine, guindilla gribiche and radish salad
Vouvray, Demi Sec, Vignobles Brisebarre, 1985

Raw Tasmanian sea trout with piccalilli, shichimi and three slice pile up
Arbois Pupillin, Emmanuel Houillon —M. Pierre Overnoy, 2006

All day breakfast (the blood pudding, roasted apple, eggs etc.)
Pinot Noir, Martinborough Vineyards, 2004

Wattleseed braised short rib with vanilla celeriac purée and spiced broccoli raab
Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Moss Wood, 2004

Saxelby's selection of six American farmstead cheeses
Cour-Cheverny, Cuvée Renaissance, François Cazin, 2002

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