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Best Thing I Ate – North End Grill’s Bacon & Oysters

If you’re one of those people who “never eats above 14th Street” or “never travels below Canal Street,” you’re missing out on some seriously good eating these days.  One of the best new arrivals is North End Grill in Battery Park City.  There’s a lot to love about Danny Meyer’s newest venture, a modern American bar and grill.  For starters, there’s a killer scotch selection with flights and flasks, and a raw bar. The restaurant itself is handsomely outfitted in black and white trimmings with a marble-topped eating counter facing an open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the surrounding neighborhood.

The most compelling draw is what’s coming from the kitchen.  Floyd Cardoz, who helmed the kitchen at Tabla (and won Top Chef Masters Season 3), is back in action and better than ever.  In Floyd’s hands, the American grill takes on an exciting, new meaning. Have you ever seen a menu with an entire section devoted exclusively to egg dishes?  Me either, but North End Grill’s got a delicious lobster omelet, a coddled egg with peekytoe crab, bacon and grits, and scotch eggs.  I’d travel downtown for the clam pizza, or the halibut mingled with pine nuts and raisins, in an an addictive, chile-laced clam broth, for that matter.  (I love the pork chop with chorizo and beans, too)
But the dish I can’t stop thinking about is the grilled pork bacon and fried oysters.  Floyd’s twist on surf & turf results in thick,  mangalista bacon, confit in bacon fat, then grilled for a crusty char finish.  It sits on a sunchoke puree, smartly flavored with pickled onions cutting through some of the fat from the bacon.  Then there’s the fried oysters, served over a refreshingly crunchy, mustard-spiced apple celery slaw.  The ensemble of flavors and textures results in a dish that’s simultaneously decadent and vibrant. And definitely don’t miss dessert.  They’re all excellent thanks to pastry chef Alexandra Ray. Especially the lemon meringue pie, butterscotch pot de creme and sticky toffee pudding.
North End Grill
Address: 104 North End Avenue
Phone: (646)747-1600

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