04 August 2010
a dinner at Nelson Blue
While I've stumbled into Nelson Blue several times for cocktails, I haven't had a decent go at the dinner menu. The curved wood ceilings with hanging Maori war canoes scoop into the bar creating a cozy spot for the after-work crew seeking refuge from the Stone Street beehive. I sipped on the "cat piss" sauvignon blanc from the Kiwi-focused wine list and began devising a plan for the menu. The New Zealand born owner, Paul Morgan, focuses on cuisine from Down Under with a plethora of lamb dishes and seafood.
An upbeat server brought us four dishes (in one drop, which given the size of the table, was a bit of mistake). We sampled the grilled squid with hot pepper, friend noodles, crispy vegetables and sesame. Served with a sweet sauce, the squid is sliced thin and served firm. The green beans seemed to dominate the flavor, rather than the hot pepper. We transitioned to the mac & cheese, which could be ordered as an entree, although it's classified as a side. The dish would be enhanced with something as simple as salt or pepper as it's quite bland.
Segue to the braised beef sliders and cockee's tucker. The sliders are offered individually, or in sets of three. We requested the triplets served with fontina cheese, caramelized onion and fruity BBQ sauce. The brisket is unmemorable, but certainly enhanced by the onions and sauce. The cockee's tucker- well, this is some mess. We had initially asked the waitress to explain the elements and how one is to enjoy them, "well you kind of take parts and eat it together." Fair enough. Thickly sliced dry sausage, massive slabs of blue Stilton, pickles, beets, granny smith apple and smokey chutneys are arranged around a mountain of undressed mescalin- a dish which two people could share and be full. Given the intensity of the flavors, you must to a bit of surgery to properly enjoy the ingredients.
There are certainly better places to dine in the Financial District, but it's worth a go if you're more interested in sipping Marlborough and Otago region wines and Six Points IPA.
Images: NY Mag