Friday, February 16, 2007


I must have been the last person I know who hadn’t been to Prune, the chic little restaurant on the lower east side of Manhattan. Having been told it was small, crowded, and hard to get a table, I stayed away even though the food has always received great reviews. When I go out to eat I want to be comfortable. Well, all I have to say is I’ve been missing out all these years. My friends Ted and Mats, who are regulars at Prune, invited me the other night for a 6:30 dinner. We like to eat early, and I’m not afraid to admit it. As it happened, we set off during the long awaited first snowfall of the season. What could be more romantic?

Prune is awesome. Yes, the room is small, but it is also comfortable and so charming. The staff knows just how to operate a restaurant smoothly in a small space. We shared appetizers which were all fantastic: roasted marrow bones, wonderful parsley salad and sea salt, tasty and succulent fried sweetbreads with bacon and capers (a real tribute from me because I never eat organ meats), and the pasta kerchief with a poached egg, French ham, and brown butter which was delicious even though it arrived cold which was a drag. Ted had beef ribs with a lovely Asian rub. Mats had the rib-eye steak, and I had the braised lamb shank. We also had sides of cauliflower with bread crumbs which was genius, and bitter greens with virgin oil and lemon juice which was great given all the rich food we ordered.

The wine list was well put together with nothing over $85.00. I ordered the 2000’ Mas d”en gil “Como Vella” from Priorat, Spain. Jay and I visited the winery last spring and this is one of the best values coming from that region in my opinion.

For dessert we ordered cheeses. Our waitress asked if we would mind having our dessert at the bar because she had eight people to seat in our section. We didn’t mind, and they offered us an after dinner drink. A friend of mine has introduced me to the bad habit of having a sip or two of scotch as a digestive after dinner. I spoke to the bartender about which scotch she liked and she turned me onto Highland Park, which was smooth and tasty. All in all, it was a wonderful evening and that last sip of scotch provided the perfect ending.

54 East 1st Street
New York City, NY 10003

Monday, February 12, 2007

A friend of mine has been telling me about Mozzarella Mondays at the restaurant Jar, in Los. Every Monday they serve a tapas style menu at the bar only. I finally made it there last week, but since we were four we were seated in the dining room. I finally got the nerve to ask our waiter if it would be possible to order a few of the dishes from the bar menu and he was cool with it. So in addition to our dinner, we had some of their mozzarella selections.

The first dish was buratta, (which is a very creamy cheese simila to mozzerella), roasted asparagus, guanciale, and hazelnuts. It was incredible; the asparagus was paper thin, the buratta which is a melted in my mouth, and the texture of the hazelnuts was a perfect complement to the whole dish. We also ordered the spicy fried egg with melted mozzarella and harissa. It all went perfectly together.

But the dinner menu was fantastic too. One of my friends ordered the iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing and it literally was a huge wedge of iceberg lettuce covered with the dressing in a way that made it look as if an iceburg had just struck our table. I had the simple butter lettuce salad with breakfast radishes, parmesan, and a lemon garlic vinaigrette that was perfectly made. As an entrée I ordered the Char Sui Pork Chop which was cured in a light brine and grilled. Delicious. I was tempted by the signature pot roast served with carrots and caramelized onions but thought it might be to heavy. Next time for sure.

The wine list was really good as well with some finds: a mersault from Caillon, a great Rioja from Baramundi, and one of my favorite California Pinot Noirs, Brewer-Clifton’s Ashley’s vineyard pinot noir.

I think that if I lived in LA, Mozzarella Mondays at Jar would become a regular thing. I love nothing more than eating little tastes of things along with some great wine in a bar setting.

8225 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90048