Posted by: Hungry Korean | September 10, 2010

Familiar faces, familiar places

Caught up with Cowboy and Chicken at an old standby, Pastis. We used to come here alot back in the day. Especially me and Cowboy – we were obsessed with their croque monseiurs and Cowboy really likes the McNally french onion soup. So what better place to meet up with old friends than an old haunt?

Bustling as always we were immediately seated and greeted by our very pleasant waiter. After some thought, we decided to all share the steak tartare.

If you’ve never had steak tartare and looking to try it for the first time, try it here. (or Balthazar, McNally’s other place) You will love it. I am not quite sure what they put in it but it’s probably the traditional mix of mustard, capers, maybe shallot (?), worchester sauce and a raw egg.  The meat is high quality (which is obviously important since you are eating it raw), incredibly tender and not chewy and very flavorful. Spread over the toasted bread and you are good to go. I’m serious it is so good.

For main, Cowboy had the chicken paillard – sorry, forgot to ask how he liked it – and Chicken and I opted for the skate au beurre noir (blackened butter) with capers. We’ve both had it before and it is divine. Skate generally has the texture of lobster and with that butter sauce poured over it, you might believe you were eating just that!

First bite was heaven but then I noticed a very strong ammonia aftertaste in subsequent bites. If you aren’t aware, the skate fish actually urinates through its skin so in preparing this fish for eating, there is a technique to removing that unwanted flavor. I believe my fish was not properly handled and sadly I had to return it to the kitchen and ordered the special of the day instead.  Please let me state that the skate everytime I’ve had it previously has been wonderful and delicious – Chicken loved hers and ate the whole thing with no problems.  The kitchen and the waiter handled it incredibly well and my arctic char special came right away. Thanks for the great service!

Arctic char was served with roasted fennel, spinach and carrots with an orange glaze. The skin had a wonderful crisp to it and the fish was cooked a perfect rare. It’s a simply prepared dish that brings out the great texture of the fish and the wonderful flavors of the vegetables.

After two bottles of rose, we were done (and a bit tipsy at that!).  Thanks again, Pastis, for a great meal and top notch service! Till next time….

Pastis, 9 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY

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