Chefs Club

I was bemoaning to some friends about how much simpler life seemed when we were in school. After 16+ years of being in school, I had figured out how the system works. First, there’s the studying, which if you’re at all diligent about, will lead to good grades. Then, you supplement that with a smattering of extracurricular activities, artistic endeavors, leadership opportunities, and you’ve got the formula of success down pact. My path forward was clear and straightforward. Now, post-college, not so much. What does career success look like? How is it measured? What should I be working towards? I have been pondering these questions a lot lately. Although, given the trajectory thus far, these life questions will probably only get more complex and unanswerable the further we get along. In 10 years, I expect that I will be looking back to my 20’s as an enviously uninhibited, carefree time. All this to say that while I miss school, I should also stop and smell the roses in my life right now, like this dinner at Chefs Club.

Chefs Club brings a rotating panel of up-and-coming chefs, who are selected by Dana Cowin of Food & Wine Magazine, from across the country to design the menu and share a taste of their signature dishes.

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The space is beautiful, dimly lit, and the kitchen is open, so sitting at the bar will give you a direct view of all the kitchen excitement.

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What also caught my eye was this giant, blush/peach colored mineral, hanging in a glass box. It looks awesome, but I was slightly concerned for the two people sitting at the bar right underneath this box. Seeing a 100-pound rock hanging above my head would make me just a tad nervous.

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The restaurant concept is an ode to great chefs, and this wall art is an extension of that. Plus while you’re waiting for your food, you can play the game “Name That Chef”. How many can you name?

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Bread to start.

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Chef Gabriel Rucker’s Sasso Chicken with brussels sprouts, Marcona almonds, black truffle, and cipollini onion. The chicken is cooked two ways – seared breast and then chicken thigh stuffed with giblets.

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“Le Pigeon,” also by Chef Rucker is squab, served with giblets, leeks, chestnut, and sage. The squab was quite gamey.

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Getting the potato puree (Chef Erik Anderson) was my best decision of the night. I was intrigued by the menu description which included crispy potato skin and raspberry powder. This puree was smooth and decadent, and the raspberry powder cut right through it with a jab of tartness that worked really well together. I would have never thought – mashed potatoes and raspberries?

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For dessert, an underwhelming profiteroles with chocolate sauce, gianduja mousse, and nuts. My neighborhood go-to, Le Parisien, is still way ahead of them in the profiteroles game. I would suggest skipping dessert and using more stomach space to clean out the silky potato puree.

Chef’s Club
275 Mulberry St (btw Houston and Jersey St) New York, NY 10012

Ceci-Cela

Buttery flaky croissants are my downfall. There have been so many times when I said that I’ll have a healthy breakfast before giving in to having a croissant instead.

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Ceci-Cela makes an excellent croissant. Layers and layers of buttery goodness with a flaky crust.

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It also doesn’t hurt that the back room of the bakery is so cozy and welcoming. It’s amazing that you can be on a crowded, noisy NYC street one minute and then sitting in this quiet corner the next. I love these magical New York transformations.

Ceci-Cela

55 Spring St (btw Mulberry & Lafayette) New York, NY 10012

Emporio

We were trying to go try Extra Place, but they were closed for renovations. Then the subway was not running in the direction we needed. Add on top of that this was back when the weather was still quite cold, so we were freezing. But we were intrepid brunchers, and nothing will stop us from getting our food. Finally, we made it to Emporio near famished.

This is a perfect place for brunch. The space is gorgeous and airy, with a glass roof over the section in the back. It’s especially nice on a weekend morning when the sunlight is streaming in.

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Complimentary bread basket and olive oil. I have a problem with nibbling on whatever food is in front of me, so I always end up getting full on the bread before my food even gets here. It’s not as if I really like the bread, but if it’s there, I can’t help myself from just munching on it. Must stop. So bad for me.

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I ordered the Garganelli ragu, which was so good. The pasta was excellent, and the ragu sauce was flavorful with the right amount of meatiness. Emporio is known for their pizza, but I’d also come back for the pasta.

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My fellow bruncher got the Baked Eggs in a Skillet. Unfortunately, the eggs were a bit too runny for her taste, so she had to ask them to cook it a bit more. But they were very accommodating, so my friend still enjoyed her meal.

Happy weekend everyone!

Emporio
231 Mott St (btw Spring St & Prince St) New York, NY