Monday, January 30, 2012

Recipe: Restaurant Kale Part 2 - Deconstructed Kale


Kale, De-constructed

I love restaurant week in New York because the portions are so small. You go, the place is great, the food famous, the reservation, hard to get. Then you eat and the food is so scant, in such small amounts, that you have to focus on every bite.

That was my experience a couple of weeks ago in at Promenade des Angeleis, on 23rd and 10th. We got there, had to take a cab, rain, and so on. Inside it is early still, only 7:30 and the place is dead. Then our friends show up and speculations are made, newspaper articles referred to and so eventually the food comes, we get soup and a terrine and a fish dish with tiny anchovies and from the regular menu, brandade on crostini...the rest I don't remember but I do remember the kale and during restaurant week, kale is the one dish you get a decent portion of.

Before deconstructing the kale salad, I become painfully aware of the waitstaff. When we are served our first course and then our main course, all of these waiters converge on us at once. It must have something to do with the way they run the place. It seems as if the entire staff has staged an intervention of food and each us is served, by a separate person, simultaneously. It is like we are a car and they are the pit crew. Or we are a foodie mosh pit.

This particular kale dish was ripped leaves, massaged in oil with strips of good prosciutto, the thinnest slice of button mushroom, really not even worth mentioning or even including in the dish but then shaving of parmesean, quite an outstanding delicious bit of parm, and all in a vinaigrette along with unnecessary pomegranate seeds. It was the best kale salad I have ever had and I must say it is because of the quality of the prosciutto, olive oil and cheese -- mushroom, pomegranate seeds notwithstanding. 

Such is restaurant week. Regular people go to expensive restaurants where they get a little window of luxury. Kale really shines in this context where trend and abundance meet in a perfect storm. Kale is cheap. It grows in snow. No one yet has the nerve or has figured out how to make kale expensive so it is one dish at restaurant week that you get a lot of.