During NYC Winter Restaurant Week, I visited Butter in Midtown West for dinner. Ling suggested this spot as she’s a fan of Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. I’m always happy to check out new places, and John decided to tag along too.
As you descend the stairs, there’s a sense of anticipation and what awaits you below is quite stunning. Butter feels more like a nightclub than a restaurant, but thankfully, the volume of the music is fairly reasonable. We were seated in a comfy booth, which was far too big for the three for us. Nice to have extra room to stretch out though — a rarity at many NYC restaurants.
Between the three of us, we got two of the $38 RW dinner menu, plus an extra side. I was worried they might have qualms that we didn’t each get the RW menu, but that wasn’t an issue at all. Our meal started with some tasty, warm bread. The accompanying butter was decent, but a bit disappointing considering the restaurant name.
When the servers came to our table with the appetizers, they seemed to have no idea what they serving. I suspect these dishes might have been created specifically for RW. They had their tasty moments, but as a whole, I’m not sure if they’re strong enough to encourage me to return.
The sour david apple and roasted brussels sprouts crostini with breakfast radish and sherry was very tiny, but a fun bite to start the meal. Trying to pick up the crostini without losing the topping puts your balancing skills to the test.
The root vegetable terrine with toasted garlic brioche and smoked sea salt was my favorite of the two appetizers. I would happily eat that garlic brioche alone, but when combined with the terrine, it’s lovely. The terrine is amazingly rich despite being made of veggies.
Ling got the fish of the day, and I wasn’t paying attention when she ordered so I can’t tell you anything about it other than the fact that it photographed well. It’s practically glistening.
I got the meatless RW entree, which was fresh lumache pasta in a butternut squash sauce with black pepper and aged pecorino. A little bit al dente for my taste, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker. The sauce was a vibrant yellow and fairly tasty. Overall, a decent pasta dish, but not one I would be raving about for days to come.
Our side dish ($10) was some kind of gratin. Tasty, but I can’t remember what was in it though… not potatoes, something else, maybe parsnips, turnips, rutabaga?
I was looking forward to the dark chocolate layer cake with szechuan pepper meringue, but didn’t quite fall in love with it. It was fine, but I was expecting something spicier, especially as dark chocolate should hold up to spice nicely. The yellow sauce on the side, whatever it was, was very tasty.
The butterscotch custard with kumquat marmalade and truffle cookies was extremely sweet. The first couple of bites are pretty great, and then you have to stop before you pass out from a sugar coma. A marmalade that’s more tangy, less sweet would have provided a break from the indulgent flavors and creamy textures. Also a smaller serving would have sufficed considering how rich this dessert was.