Did you ever eat ants-on-a-log when you were growing up? I can still remember assembling this childhood snack, made of celery stalks (the log) smeared with cream cheese and topped with raisins (ants) at summer camp and Girl Scout meetings. (Though I don’t remember liking it.) But the very grown up version served at David Burke Kitchen happens to be delicious.
David Burke is famous for his whimsical cooking style — a style I sometimes find precious or gimmicky and his new restaurant in the James Hotel follows suit. Instead of the classic, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds that you might find on any tapas menu, Burke’s menu features bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with, well, peanut butter strangely enough as well as lobster & crab dumplings curiously skewered on a lobster leg with the shell still intact.
But I have to admit: the ants-on-a-log at David Burke Kitchen is creative and, more importantly, pretty tasty. In lieu of celery, Burke splits open marrow bones (the log), then garnishes them with parsley (grass) and butter-poached snails (ants). The fragrance alone would lure anyone to the table and the garlicky escargot are more flavorful than most escargot you find around town. The parsley (grass?) adds just the right amount of vegetal kick to cut through the marrow’s fat. I wanted another order as soon as I ate the last bite. Not bad David Burke. Not bad at all.
RG Writer: Lauren Bloomberg
Photo Credit: Bill Milne