Monday, September 20, 2010

Hot Plates @The Bell House

I headed into the wilds of Gowanus last Monday for MetroMix's Hot Plates at The Bell House bar/event space, a night where for 15 bucks, one gets to sample a diverse selection of Brooklyn's new restaurant offerings. Now usually, this post would be accompanied by my award winning photography. But since my phone's memory card has corrupted itself once again, and all of the photos (save for one) are lost to the ages, I'll just describe everything, and "borrow" pictures if needed.

Fornino Park Slope’s Chef’s Antipasti

What it Was: Cannellini beans marinated in paprika olive oil, topped with shrimp and cilantro (served room temp)
How it Tasted: The beans were very creamy, and the olive oil was nice and fruity with a little paprika kick. The shrimp was seasoned with a delicate touch, but I think the best part of the dish was the adorable presentation. Overall, not a stunner, but very good.

Mile End’s Cured and Smoked Beef Brisket

Was: Cured/smoked for 11 hours in a house spice blend. Served with homemade wholegrain brown mustard and homemade rye bread.

Tasted: This place definitely earned extra points for everything being made on the premises. The brisket was coal black on the outside and an alarming shade of pink of the inside. Since I abhor mustard, I asked if I could have mine without. They kindly obliged; I still felt like a punk though. First bite: SMOKY!! MELTY FAT!!! The meat was super tender and juicy, but it could have been spicier. I fell in love with the bread. It was bursting with rye seeds and had a tangy, soft crumb.

Osteria il Paiolo’s Gnocchi alla Bolognese and Vittello Donello

Was #1: House made gnocchi in meat sauce

Tasted #1: Now, I am VERY particular about my gnocchi (best in NYC - Supper, in the LES in tomato sauce adorned with garlic cream), so I was really eager to try theirs. The gnocchi itself was pillowy and melted in the mouth. The sauce was good, but a little too salty, and surprisingly thin. Isn't bolognese supposed to be super hearty?

Was #2: Thinly sliced veal with lemon in tuna sauce

Tasted #2: The veal was dry, the sauce tasted fishy and chalky. Ugh. I’m not a tuna fan, but I decided to be adventurous and give this a try. This just didn’t sit well with me.

Carino’s Tamales and Chorizo Taquitos

Was #1: Tamales with pork and sour cream

Tasted #1: I’ve never had tamales before, and I figured this was a good time to try. The mass was nice and creamy, and I loved how flavorful and moist the pork was. But I think would have enjoyed this more if it was actually hot. I figure this was b/c I was really early and the food hadn’t been given enough time to warm up. Other than that, I really liked them.

Was #2: Rolled up, fried tortillas stuffed with chorizo sausage. Sprinkled with queso fresco cheese.

Tasted #2: WHERE WAS THE CHORIZO FLAVOR? I love this particular sausage, and it’s usually spicy and delish. But, I couldn’t really taste anything other than…meat. Okay tasting meat, but just meat.

Branded Saloon’s (MY FAVORITE TABLE) Pork Butt Stew Topped w/Uncle Ricky’s Fried Corn and Cilantro Cream

Was: It was exactly that!

Tasted: Oh Lord, I could have eaten the whole pot. Perfectly seasoned, tender pork butt, tangy cilantro cream, fried corn kernels with BACON; this thing created a flavor parade in my mouth. It was served atop tortilla chips, and that added another texture dimension to the entire thing. I could have eaten this for days. DAYS.

Radish's Long Island Pulled Duck with Kimchi

Was: It was exactly that!

Tasted: I can say without a doubt, that this dish made me love duck.

Twinkling little pools of duck fat glistened on the surface of the gravy. The meat was juicy, smoky, rich, and not gamey in the least. The tangy kimchi brought a crunchy, bright flavor to the party that I adored. Absolutely delicious. Again, this place gets points for using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.

There were one or two that I missed, but 1. I already had one misadventure with tuna, and 2. I was not trying to eat Humble Pie. My tummy isn't ready for offal quite yet.

Many thanks again to The Bell House and MetroMix for such a fun event!


  1. Mile End’s Cured and Smoked Beef Brisket sounds like Heaven!