My wife picked up a Gilt City deal for David Burke’s joint at Bloomingdale’s. I noticed some nice looking sandwiches, a decent looking burger, and a hanger steak on the menu, so I was psyched to try it out.
Unfortunately, the special menu for the flash deal eliminated all of the things I was interested in trying: pastrami sandwich, French dip, burger, and hanger steak frites. But not to worry! This deal actually supplied us with a LOT of food, and, contrary to out last experience with a Burke joint (Fabrick), the food here was really good.
They start you with warm cheddar popovers. I can eat a basket full of them. Very tasty.
I ordered the grilled tofu Thai peanut salad to start (please don’t kill me). It was actually really good! It had an acidic pop to it from the various citrus and fish sauce additives, and good texture from the jicama and cabbage slaw.
My wife had the tomato soup, which was velvety smooth, topped with a Peter North -like splash of basil oil, and accompanied by a miniature grilled cheese sandwich.
For my entree, I had the grilled salmon.
It was cooked to a nice medium temperature, and it sat on a bed of slaw that was similar to my starter salad, only heavier on the slaw component as opposed to the lettuce. It also had a pop of cumin in it that altered the flavor profile a bit. The salmon skin had a great crisp to it as well.
My wife had chicken Milanese; breaded and fried tender chicken cutlet, topped with arugula and shaved Parmesan cheese, and garnished with grape tomatoes and lemon wedges.
There was a nice tomato-based sauce underneath too, but just the right amount so that nothing got soggy or smothered.
For dessert, I had this chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. I usually don’t go for chocolate cakes, but this was delicious.
My wife had the sorbet with fresh fruit. Really nice, actually, when you mixed both desserts together for a bite.
If you can still find this deal online, I recommend it. While they severely limit the menu on you, what you do get is good quality and a lot of it. You’l leave full, and with a feeling that you got a good deal.
DAVID BURKE AT BLOOMINGDALES
1000 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10022
This joint is known for its incredible panini sandwiches and fresh Italian menu selections. I’m gonna get right down to business here, because me and a group of Instagram influencers tried a ton of items.
My favorite sandwich: La Madunina. This has prosciutto, fresh mozz, olive tapenade and tomato. Very simple but incredibly delicious.
Tentazione: prosciutto, smoked mozz, arugula, shrimp and sauce.
Americano: brie, fresh mozz, corn, arugula and tomatoes.
Bip-Bip: bresaola, goat cheese, shrimp, arugula and sauce.
Il Toast: boiled ham and melted fontina cheese.
Lo Spazzino: roast pork, arugula, provolone, red onion and capers.
They also do some open faced toast style brunch sandwiches as well. We tried the smoked salmon and crab meat, fresh mozz and tomato, and asparagus with cheese.
Speaking of asparagus, they also offer it in a salad form with lots of crab meat on top. Wow! That’s a serious portion.
And this veggie salad with tuna was so fresh and tasty.
The mussels were really nice too, served in a light but spicy tomato broth. Nicely executed.
The pesto pasta had a great flavor and was perfectly cooked.
As did the lasagna. I’m usually very hard on lasagne, because my mom made a killer lasagna. This was fantastic. The photo doesn’t do it justice. You need to see the layering.
I also had a steak. Surprise! The meat quality was indeed good (DeBragga), and the peppercorn sauce for the top was delicious. It’s also served on a bed of broccoli rabe, and with a side of roasted fingerling potatoes.
Enough photos of that? I think so. We also had dessert. Several tart pies, a wonderful tiramisu, some gelato and sorbets, and an assortment of Italian cookies.
And we tasted several coffee and hot chocolate selections that had awesome designs in the foam.
And a drink made with Prosecco, raspberry jam and St. Germain.
Definitely give this place a try. There’s also another location about 10 streets down from this one.
Okay so I am playing fast and loose here with the term “salad,” I realize that. If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you know I have some very serious opinions about what constitutes a salad.
According to my definition, this is not a salad. This is some other kind of appetizer. But if you’re like me, you have an aversion to reheating leftover steak from the steakhouse. Other than tossing the leftovers into a pot to make a stock or a broth what can do with the meat, especially if you ate like a pussy and there’s a lot of nice slices left?
Once in a while my wife and I will cut it up small and toss it in with some fried rice or something, but this steak “salad” is a really fun and quick way to make a pre-dinner, cold food item.
This recipe is a little something I picked up from my dad, who used to make this with leftover steaks as well. We called it “meat salad” around the house.
The first thing you do is cut up the steak remnants into small, thin pieces. Try to cut against the bias so that you simultaneously tenderize the meat. While cutting, you can remove some of the excess fat or gristle. Keep that in the freezer for the next time you make beef stock or broth.
You’re almost done already. Place the meat into a bowl and drizzle on some olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Then toss with some salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes and crushed red pepper. If you have any cheeses in the fridge, this dish goes really nice with some shaved pecorino or parmesan, or crumbled blue cheese, on top.
That does it. Really simple item to make with leftover steak.
Problems, plural, I should say… And I know you’re probably thinking the obvious: “He’s going to say ‘The problem with salads is that they aren’t steaks,’ or something.” And, yeah, sure… that’s ONE problem with salads. But coming from a steak blog, that shit would be way too predictable. Look: I do like a good salad from time to time. I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s not all meat, all the time for me, otherwise I’d be battling THE GOUT. So my analysis here… what I’m about to get at with this post… is something deeper.
Let’s get this salad tossed, shall we?
Wikipedia defines a salad as “a dish consisting of small pieces of food, which may be mixed with a sauce or salad dressing.” We can’t stop there, however, because that’s way too fucking open-ended. According to that definition, if we cut up a rib eye and put it on a plate, then it suddenly becomes a salad. Boil pasta, strain and put in a bowl… Presto: salad! FUUUUCK that, right? So let’s unpack this salad bullshit a little further…
Wikipedia goes on to arbitrarily break salads down into seven types:
(1) Green or Garden Salads: leafy greens. Example: Caesar salad.
(3) Bound Salads: held together with the use of a thick sauce. Examples: tuna salad, potato salad, chicken salad, macaroni salad.
(4) Main Course Salads: typically a green or garden salad with higher protein content, like grilled chicken or sirloin. Other than that and the portion size, I guess there is no real difference between this and a Green/Garden Salad.
(5) Fruit Salads: pretty self explanatory.
(6) Dessert Salads: usually sweet. Example: ambrosia. I suppose a fruit salad can also be a dessert salad if served at the end of a meal. I’m sensing some serious weakness in these salad categories.
(7) Composed Salads: Wikipedia says that the difference here is that these are served on a plate rather than in a bowl. Fucking stupid distinction, if you ask me. I wonder if a deconstructed or artistically plated salad would fall into this category. Those weren’t even discussed.
A decent attempt, I will grant that – and some of the types of salads seem to hold true. But as you can tell, this rudimentary classification system, while seeming to start out pretty solid, begins to fall apart and lose all sense of logic toward the end – especially when you apply the wide-open Wikipedia definition of a salad to food items, and then try to determine which type of salad it is.
For example: What about my cut up rib eye example? Technically it fits Wikipedia’s shitty definition of a salad, but it doesn’t fall into any of the seven categories. So, okay… what… we have vegetable and fruit salads, but no fucking MEAT salads? What the fuck, bro? “But what about chicken salad? That’s a meat salad.” NOPE, ASSHOLE! If you read carefully, you would’ve seen that chicken salad is a category (3) BOUND salad, since it is held together by a thick sauce (mayo). If I was forced to write that shitty Wiki page, I would have at least added: (8) Meat Salads.
So, long story short, we’ve thoroughly established that Wikipedia sucks. As such, I’m going to completely scrap that bullshit and hit you with my own, genius take on this whole salad thing.
Let’s start from the beginning… which I am summarizing from Wikipedia… (that’s hypocrisy, but it’s fucking hilarious).
The word salad actually derives from the French and Latin words for “salt” or “salty.” It’s English-language use – “sallet” – as a name for a food item other than simple salt as a seasoning, dates back to the 1300’s. Salty brine water or salt-seasoned oil and vinegar dressing combinations were typically used to flavor vegetables in those days. By the late 1600’s/early 1700’s, we know that salads were mainly comprised of mixed greens with dressing. Okay cool. I like that. Seems logical and makes sense to me, given what I instantly think of when I hear the word “salad.”
But after that, we started fucking things up and making shit really confusing by calling almost anything a salad, just because we fucking felt like it. Leave it to the Americans to fuck things up, right? Wrong. We fucked up this one salad thing, and maybe a few other things here and there, but on the whole we pretty much fucking RULE as a society, providing people all over the world with awesome shit like freedom, hot dogs and porn.
And DON’T FUCKING ARGUE WITH ME on that. You’ll lose. I win at shit; that’s what I do. This entire salad post stems from an argument that my family has had over and over, at almost every fucking holiday meal. I win the salad argument every time. So either get on board or get run over.
I take this shit seriously, because I firmly believe that words have meaning, and meanings should be easily apprehended. When we start fucking around with the meanings of words, suddenly shit gets turned upside down. I’ve even guest-hosted my friends’ Hungry Dads podcast on the topic of salads. You can listen here if you want:
I’ve sort of evolved my point of view since then. I used to be a fan of “any mixture of ingredients bound by or garnished with a dressing,” whereby a dressing could be something as simple as salt, sugar, or oil, as per the etymology and history of salads. But then there’s the fruit salad… usually just pieces of fruit with no dressing at all. The bottom line is that a salad can be, literally, just about anything unless you start acting like a fucking man and drawing some meaningful lines in the sand. Otherwise if you drop a taco into a bowl so that the shell breaks up into pieces, the result is a taco salad.
My cousin has tried to go with “solid and unorganized” as an all-encompassing definition that might include all of the weird, non-leafy green salads that are out there. But I take issue with that, because sometimes the plating of a salad can be artistic and highly organized. Any type of Japanese plating, for example, or a Caprese salad, which is often neatly layered, would stand as exceptions.
Side bar here on the Caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella, with some basil and olive oil): Where does it fit into Wikipedia’s shitty categories? Vegetable salad? But it is equally CHEESE. Yet there’s no CHEESE SALAD category… Another Wikifail.
Want some more humdingers for the Wiki definition? What about chili? Shit what about SOUP? I’ve had thick and chunky versions of soups and chili that were more like “pieces of food with sauce” that could have been eaten with a fork. Also what about pasta, which I briefly mentioned above? That shit is certainly within a definition as “pieces of food with sauce.” Ridiculous.
So What The Fuck Actually IS A Salad?!??
I have several proposals, or rules and observations, if you will:
1. Majority Raw Leafy Greens
My first proposal falls in line with the common usage and traditional historical understanding of salads, and I think should set the backbone of the definition. Let’s be realistic here. As modern Americans, when we hear the word “salad,” most of us immediately think of raw leafy greens as a majority component of the dish, right? The other supposed “Bound Salads” or “Vegetable Salads” are an afterthought, or exceptions to our normal way of thinking about the salad. Let’s analyze taco salad as an example. The majority of the stuff is meat and cheese and shell. The lettuce is a lesser component, often times. That’s why I joked earlier about dropping a taco and having it suddenly become a salad. But the skewed proportions of the various components would remove it from this first proposal. I DO, however, grant that a taco salad COULD indeed be a salad if most of the shit you’re eating is raw leafy greens, with less cheese, meat and taco shell as toppings. We have to be reasonable when examining the proportions. We must realize that a salad is typically consumed before a main course. But in the event that there is an entree-sized salad, serving as a main course with more protein added (like a grilled chicken Caesar salad), then we must use reasonableness and objectivity to decide whether the addition of such protein removes the dish from the realm of salad. It likely depends on how much is added.
2. Non-Leafy Green “Salads” Are Not Salads
My second proposal is somewhat of an offshoot of the first proposal. It posits that all non-leafy green salads are NOT salads. They are simply other appetizers, sides or desserts. For this proposal, simply ask yourself: Is the item something that is more likely to be sandwiched between two pieces of bread for lunch (chicken salad, tuna salad), or served in a bowl as a side to your meal (potato salad, pasta salad)? Perhaps you ordered it for dessert, like fruit salad? If so, then I’m sorry, ace, but what you’re eating isn’t a fucking salad. Example: a Caprese salad is simply another kind of appetizer. Tougher example: coleslaw is a side – despite being made of raw leafy greens (cabbage) – because it usually comes with or on the SIDE… in a little bowl next to a pickle… on the SIDE of… your chicken “salad” sandwich platter, or burger deluxe platter, or what have you. Slaw is also often a sandwich topper, to add a crunch element in the same way that a few leaves of lettuce would be added to a burger. Use your common sense, people! Gut instinct! If that’s not good enough, cabbage isn’t listed HERE as a salad green (although, to be fair, neither is crisp head, aka iceberg lettuce). Cabbage is from a different family of plants than lettuce, however (Asteraceae). As such I think the distinction holds despite the website not listing iceberg lettuce.
3. Never Warm
My third proposal is that a salad can never be warm. That is one of the ultimate unifying factors across nearly all salads, even the weird ones, with the exception of warm German potato salad. I say that bullshit is a side item, not a salad (see second proposal). My cousin posed an interesting question to this “warmth” issue: “What if we put a hot, cooked protein on top of the salad?” My response was that we should never do that, because we will wilt the greens and ruin the salad. See what I did there? I attacked the premise of his question. But to address his concern, I say we should let the protein cool off, but as long as most of the salad is still cold and not completely wilted, I suppose it is still a salad, all things considered.
4. Use Of A Fork
My fourth proposal, which is more of an observation really, is that a salad is pretty much always consumed with a fork (or sometimes chopsticks). I suppose they could be devoured by hand, but we are civilized. A knife is permissible if you want to cut smaller pieces of leafy greens per bite, but if you’re using a spoon to eat it for some reason, then it likely isn’t a salad. Sorry, pal. “What about a lettuce cup eaten with your hands?” Sorry again, dude. That’s some other kind of appetizer, not a salad. Get with the program!
5. Generally Healthy
My fifth proposal should be taken with a grain of “sallet:” A salad should… SHOULD… generally be somewhat healthy. The reasonable expectation that comes off of my first proposal is that the dish is healthy. However I realize that when you add eggs, meats and cheeses as toppings, or dump a boatload of cream-based dressing on top, you’re leaving the realm of healthy eating despite the majority component of your food being leafy greens. This is why I say “should” rather than the “must” or “never” language I used earlier in other proposals. It’s still a salad, but don’t think you’re fooling anyone if you say you’re eating healthy because you had a “salad.” With this in mind, I urge people to ask “what kind of salad” to those who casually say they had a salad for lunch in conversation. Telling someone “I had a salad” is utterly useless. Think about it: would something like “I had a sandwich” ever fly? Of course not. You say “I had pastrami on rye.” People like to know what was in that sandwich. Similarly, what was in the salad? People need to be specific. “I had an arugula salad with blue cheese, chic peas and onions.” Boom.
One final note here: I think a lot, if not all, of peoples’ concerns and “what abouts” can be easily plugged into my five proposals above and figured out. Simply apply the rules. A wedge salad, for example: Often just a hunk of iceberg lettuce, some olives and a dollop of blue cheese, plated completely deconstructed and separate, not mixed up, and sometimes very neatly or artistically. It’s still a salad because it satisfies every proposal, and the eater usually ends up combining it all anyway. Want another? Cooked spinach or broccoli that’s served cold with a lemon dressing. NOT a salad. Raw is a key component of proposal number one, above. Got it?
So that about does it. To recap, we basically have two MUST rules: (1) raw leafy greens are the majority component, and (2) it must be cold. The rest are suggestions, observations and/or SHOULD rules. Now get the fuck out of my face with this bitch shit. Go eat your girly salad, you fucking pussy.
I’ve always said that Indian food is probably the least photogenic food out there. It’s probably the most flavorful cuisine, in terms of raw power, so it’s kind of a weird dynamic. Anyway, this joint is sort of like Indian food meets American grab-and-go lunch.
For example, take a look at this “Board Meeting” wrap, which has roti, chicken, rice, tikka, cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, kale and a cilantro chutney. I was hoping for a bold-flavored sandwich. Unfortunately it was a bit on the bland side. Perhaps it relied too heavily on the rice and not on the chicken and tikka.
My wife got the “All Sunshine” salad, which was the better of the two items. It had rice, lentils, cucumber, tomatoes and date chutney with cilantro. It may look like shit, but it tasted pretty nice for a salad.
The real star of the meal, however, was the order of fries. They were spiced with a little bit of curry powder that made them pop. They were crispy outside and soft inside. Delicious.
I recently became aware of Capizzi when I was invited for a couple of press dinners. It is situated right between my wife and my work places, so it was an easy spot to try out on a whim.
This cozy little joint is tucked away under the bridge on 9th Avenue at Port Authority.
When you walk in, you feel like you’re at someone’s house that has been temporarily transformed into a dining room. The old tube TV and the floor-standing, old timey radio have been moved aside to make room for guests. They even have and old school fridge and ice box along the cabinetry on one side of the room…
…and dried peppers hanging from the ceiling, just like at grandma’s house.
Which they crush into their own house crushed red pepper, served alongside dried oregano that is still on the stems. Just like home!
By 6pm on the Friday before Memorial Day, when people are itching to vacate the city, this place was already jumping WITH A LINE OUT THE DOOR AND DOWN THE STREET. Completely full. Wow!
The plates mirror this cozy home feeling, and it’s no wonder Capizzi was jammed up from such an early time… because everything was awesome. And it boasts an extensive Wine selection for all you wine drinking folks out there. In my two visits, I got to taste pretty much all their wines by the glass. The montepulciano, nero d’avola, lambrusco, chianti, and muscato were all great.
Our waiter Andre started us off with a couple of glasses of sangiovese on our first visit, which is one of my favorite varietals. The cool thing about the second visit was that he was there again, but this time just visiting on his off-day to say hello to friends, which I thought was pretty cool. He remembered us too! Great guy. On the second trip we had the pleasure of being served by Sami as our waitress, and Javier as bus boy. Service here is impeccable! Javier was fast, attentive, and very nice. Sami was a sweetheart, and made excellent suggestions for what to order. The people running Capizzi definitely know how to choose good quality staff.
We had a plate of soft, tasty burrata cheese that was garnished with basil, artichoke hearts, sliced grape tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and prosciutto – all lightly drizzled with olive oil. It was excellent. Simple and delicious.
Next came the antipasto misto: a plate of Italian meats, cheese, olives, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and eggplant. A nice way to double down on our starter plate. As you can see in the pic, Andre again served us from the main plate. Top notch service here!
The antipasto came with a basket of toasted, lightly cheesed flatbread. Naked pizza, if you will. Really airy and crispy. We took this home with us since we couldn’t finish it all, and wanted to save room for pizza.
On trip number two we tried two salads – HUGE portion sizes. Definitely can split these. These were both very simple dishes that showcased incredible, fresh ingredients. In the first case, cucumber, roasted red peppers, and really top quality olive oil.
The other salad was a simple, refreshing fennel and orange salad. Again massive portion size, and very tasty.
Then comes the pizza. We ordered a regular Margherita pie with some arugula and prosciutto on top. The pie was doughy yet crisped and lightly charred on the surfaces and crust. This kind of perfection can only be achieved with an authentic wood burning brick oven.
The sauce was deftly applied with just the right volume and ratio to the crust and cheese. It had a very slight sweetness to it, which was cut nicely by the peppery arugula and salty prosciutto. The cheese was fresh and melty, and on top there was some fresh grated parmesan cheese for that earthy kick. We devoured every bite of this masterpiece.
On a second visit we tried two pies. First the margherita pie – your basic cheese and sauce pizza. It was fucking PERFECT. Words escape me right now as I try to describe it. It was crisp, yet soft. It was savory, fresh, and juicy from point to crust. Honestly this is now my favorite pizza in New York, and I grew up a spoiled pizza brat.
The other pie we tried was on special for the night, and was topped with speck, prosciutto, arugula and mozzarella. This was really great. In fact, pretty much every pizza on the menu sounds enticing. My wife and I plan to move back into the city this summer, and this area is one of or top choices for location. Needless to say, Capizzi will be our go-to pizza joint, no question. Look at how amazing the pizza is…
We finished off the meal with my wife’s favorite classic dessert, tiramisu, on our first visit. It was good – nice and light, not too boozy; a great ending to a wonderful meal.
On the second visit, we took advice from our waitress Sami to try the Oreo truffle cannoli. She hit the nail on the head. It was just the right amount of sweet without being overpowering. It was flavorfully unique, but with enough tribute paid to the classic cannoli dessert not to offend any traditionalist sensibilities. And as always, the plating was beautiful to boot.
As a pizza aficionado, I definitely recommend this place to those looking for a great pie (no single slices here – for that you need to go to Saluggis). Do yourself a favor and go here ASAP. I think for sit-down, full-pie pizza, this is absolutely my new favorite place to go.
An interesting side note about this place:
“They got an old-fashion’ toilet… You know… The box, and, and, and, ah the chain-thing… We might be able to tape the gun behind it.”