On Tuesday night, as I was finishing up work to go to the carnivorefest that is Josh Ozersky’s annual birthday party, I got a call from a friend who was standing at the host’s station of Thor, where they were under the impression that we were to be dining on Wednesday. I checked my calendar, and they were right and my friend was wrong, so I imagine he wandered off to Katz's or someplace for a quick bite before heading to his neighborhood bar on the Upper East Side.
I went to Josh’s party. I think tomorrow is his last day at Grub Street. He’s going to work for Citysearch, which very reliable sources tell me “made [him] an offer [he] couldn't refuse.” I hope it wasn’t a horse’s head in his bed.
At any rate, Josh used the full force of his influence to get cool chefs to cook delicious meat, and convinced all of the usual suspects to show up (except for Eater’s Ben Leventhal, who was on vacation).
So that was fine, and I certainly wish Josh many happy returns of the day, but, I mean, I see all those people all the time, at all the parties, and I don’t have to get sand in my shoes at Water Taxi Beach, where Josh holds his shindig, to do it. Seamus Mullen’s terrific lamb burgers notwithstanding, I just wasn’t in the mood.
So I didn’t bother to find a replacement date for dinner at Thor and instead went solo, allowing me to be somewhat antisocial and focus on the food of the restaurant’s new chef, Jesi Solomon, whose food you might have eaten at The Stanton Social, not far from Thor, where he was a sous chef.
Jesi’s half Turkish and is originally from Tucson, which he told me when explaining the main dish I ordered, which was spiced rack of lamb on avocado purée with a feta chile relleno, garnished with fresh cilantro.
I also had white bean purée with olive oil and Parmesan, which came out with the bread, and a salad of fried artichoke with Parmesan and toasted coriander vinaigrette.
Coriander, the seed, not the leaf which we Americans usually call cilantro, is enjoying quite the little wave of popularity here in Gotham. Cilantro is, too, but that’s nothing new.
While I was eating my salad, publicist Chris Langley, looking trim and well-tanned from time in Nantucket and Cape Cod — sauntered over to hang out. Jesi sent out a couple of types of flatbread — one with smoked tomato and whipped feta and another with pulled pork — and Chris and I spoke of New England and other things. A friendly-sounding commotion at the bar motivated him to move up front and the server brought out some smoked cheese with figs and balsamic vinegar.
Then I had the lamb and was told by Jesi to have the peanut butter sundae with salted chocolate and caramelized banana.
I ended up having that at the table of Food & Beverage Magazine editor Francine Cohen and her husband Jake, who had asked me to join them. We discussed the state of modern Judaism and other things.
So the attempts at being antisocial didn’t work, but I enjoyed myself anyway.