Last week, Fe visited me here in Boston and after a couple of days of eating, sight-seeing (I love those duck tours) and girl bonding, we headed to New York for a fab weekend of shopping, drinking, Broadway musicals and more eating. We ate in 6 restaurants in 3 days, all of them great, but my favorite was a Belgian Restaurant in Murray Hill called Resto (yes, a restaurant named Resto). I don’t know much about Belgian food except Belgian waffles, mussels and fries, Belgian beer and Belgian chocolates (of course) – all of which I like, so I thought, “if Resto offers any of those in the menu, then I’ll be happy.” Plus, Frank Bruni rated it as very good and named Resto as one of his casual favorites so I knew we were in for a great time. It turned out that Belgian waffles was not on the menu, and we ended up not getting the moules frites, but I was indeed very, very happy. In fact, our dinner at Resto turned out to be one of my best meals of all time.
We were celebrating Fe’s birthday and GP’s new job so we went all out. For appetizers, we had: deviled eggs on pork toast (you read that right: pork toast = fried breaded pork jowls); boudin noir tart with cheddar crumbles and fig chutney (boudin noir is blood sausage, for those of you like me who eats something first without knowing what it is, and then asking questions later); and tete de cochon on charred bread (which was like a spicy asian pulled pork sandwich). For entrees, we had: roasted halibut with hazelnut spaetzl, pancetta and spinach; lamb belly confit with lebne, snap peas and pea tendrils; braised beef ribs; fries with mayo and onion; and a side of cauliflower gratin. And for dessert, three different kinds of Belgian chocolate: milk chocolate with almonds, dark chocolate with sea salt and dark chocolate with white pepper. The whole meal was washed down with bottles of Belgian beer. Some pics below:
me and birthday girl with our appetizers
me and Teacher GP – after this point, we became so enamored with the food that we forgot to take more pictures hehe
deviled eggs photo from Mona’s Apple
boudin noir tart photo from gothamist
tete de cochon photo from Resto website
mmm-mmm: fries and beer
I say it is one of the best meals of all time because I remember every single thing I tasted and everything just tasted SO GOOD. The flavors were rich and subtle at the same time, and even though we ordered a lot of seemingly heavy and luxurious items (my friends are fellow pork-lovers), nothing actually tasted heavy nor extremely fatty. Everything was well-balanced by contrasting or complimentary flavors and textures: for instance, the slight hummus taste in the deviled eggs offset the richness of the pork toast; the sharpness of the lebne (it tasted something like a greek yogurt sauce) and the crunch of the snow peas tempered down the calorific lamb belly; and the hazelnut spaetzl, pancetta and spinach provided the just the right crunchy-chewy-leafy background to the soft, aromatic halibut.
The food portions were just enough to taste and satisfy – not to gorge on and then regret afterwards when you feel your stomach starting to ache (or expand) – the service was excellent, the prices were reasonable (our total bill was about $340, including drinks) and the vibe was rustic-chic which I very much liked. And to end a meal with Belgian chocolates? For me, it was perfect.
PS – On another non-food related note, if you guys like 50s and 60s music, I highly recommend The Marvelous Wonderettes, a musical off-Broadway – very charming and fun!