This is definitely an old standby for me. It’s been around forever (it was there when I first got to NYC and trust me I’ve been here a long time). And if the fact that it’s still perpetually busy even after all these years isn’t enough to tell you how good the food is, particularly in a finicky foodie city like NYC, then I don’t know what to tell you. Saturday night I nabbed 930 pm reservations to have dinner with Cookie Monster and Heathbar.
To start, Heathbar had the burata and proscuitto appetizer (not pictured here) and Cookie Monster got the cheddar grits with shrimp, andouille and a soft egg:
It was ok. I had a small bite and the shrimp didn’t have much flavor to it but the grits were nice and creamy. Cookie Monster said he didn’t love this appetizer. (but he still ate it all lol)
I got the deep fried sweet and sour chicken livers with watercress and red rice salad:
I was hesitant ordering this because although I love me some chicken liver mousse or pate, I have never had the actual livers whole. I find liver straight up (except for foie gras) pretty intense in the liver-y taste department so I need it mellowed out with other flavors. But the server assured me this was great so I thought, why not try it? Unfortunately my gut was right and the liver was quite strong with certain bites and some were even gritty/grainy which I hate. The sauce was nice (sweet and sour) and gave the red rice a slight sweetness but I really just couldn’t eat more than several bites of the chicken liver.
For main course, Heathbar got the pan roasted cod with saffron mussels, sweet sausage, pearl couscous and cubes of garlic bread – and he loved it:
and a side of the famous quick saute of zucchini with pecorino and toasted almonds:
I love this appetizer/side. The zucchini is really tender and then you get crunch from the toasted almonds. The large slice of pecorino adds a nutty salty bite to round out everything. It’s very tasty and comforting but light at the same time.
Cookie Monster got the two special menu additions. The black sea bass with mashed potatoes:
and the butternut squash side:
The bass was flaky and mild. The butternut squash tasted like dessert – it was slightly sweet and cooked till tender. I think there may have been hints of nutmeg and maybe cinnamon?
I got my favorite – and one of the more popular dishes at Red Cat – the sauteed skate with caramalized cauliflower, capers and a red pepper agrodulce:
This dish is the bomb. The skate has a nice crispy exterior but the inside is meaty and soft like lobster. It’s perfectly seasoned and paired well with cauliflower as the vegetable does not compete with the meat of the fish. The fish is slightly sweet and I just adore the texture of it. Skate is often called the “poor man’s lobster.” I can see why. This is a must have if you ever dine at Red Cat for the first time.
For dessert, Cookie Monster got the warm caramel banana bread pudding:
It was good. The bread pudding was moist and I loved the caramelized crunchy sweet bananas eaten with it.
And because the server felt bad that I did not love my fried chicken livers, he served us complimentary, a semifredo with a brownie bottom topped with the hot fudge poured table side:
THIS was swoonworthy. The fudge was dark and thick and it’s warmth was awesome against the cool semifredo that melted in your mouth. YUM.
Another wonderful meal at Red Cat. I never worry about the food here – it’s consistent with a grown up crowd. Dare I say it’s now a “New York establishment”? Well it’s still a darling of the gallery hopping NYC crowd and if you are in the area perusing the galleries located very close by, this is a great spot to stop in to grab a bite.
Red Cat, 227 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY