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DBGB Kitchen & Bar

DBGB Kitchen & Bar.jpg

  • Cuisine: Global
  • Vibe: Tavern chic
  • Occasion: Group dinner; casual date; night out
  • Don’t Miss: DBGB dog, tuna crudo, lamb Tunisienne sausage, raspberry pistachio cake
  • Price: Appetizers $11, entrees $18, dessert $9
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Phone: (212) 933-5300
  • Location: 299 Bowery., between Houston & First Sts.

If Daniel Boulud ran a hot dog stand, how would it look? Now we know. DBGB Kitchen & Bar looks like a gourmet mess hall.

The
bar is loud and crowded – so crowded that on most nights, bar traffic
spills out between the tables in the upfront dining area. The floors
are cement, and the mirrored walls are covered in a collage of quotes.

Boulud’s
always been an uptown guy. He’s got an uptown empire of French
restaurants: Daniel, Café Boulud, DB Bistro Moderne and Bar Boulud. His
newest one is way downtown on the Bowery, just above Houston St.

The
main dining room is furnished with long columns of booths and a
partially open kitchen, a lobster tank and wood shelves lined with
kitchen supplies à la the Bowery. The fanciest adornment is a
collection of copper pots given to
Boulud by famous chefs, including Ferran Abria and Mario Batali.

This
is a very dressed-down Boulud. There are 24 beers on tap and 38 beers
by the bottle. The only thing missing is a beer sommelier to guide you
through the extensive selection. It’s rare to find an Allagash on tap,
but they’ve got one at DBGB. If you’re not a beer drinker, it’s the
perfect starter beer. The Allagash Witbier, the white wine of beer, is
a white wheat ale with hints of orange and spice.

DBGB has 13
kinds of sausages, three sundaes and three burgers on the menu, named
the Piggie, the Frenchie and the Yankee. Boulud and his executive chef,
Jim Leiken, have imagined a globally inspired selection of sausages, categorized by smoky, sweet, spicy and cheesy.

Order
the Viennoise, and out comes a plump, pork sausage stuffed with
Emmenthaler cheese and topped with a terrific, white wine-flavored
sauerkraut on a bun.

Or the Espagnole, a meaty chorizo with piperade sauce and basil oil.
I liked the Tunisienne, an aggressively spicy lamb merguez seasoned
with harissa and mint and served over braised spinach and  chickpeas.

My
favorite is the DBGB dog, a beef wiener with squiggles of mustard and
ketchup, sautéed onions and homemade relish, served in a homemade bun.

Forget
the burgers, they’re all overworked, especially the Piggie, clobbered
by barbecue pulled pork, a mustard-vinegar slaw, and jalapeño
mayonnaise toppings.

I didn’t care for the country paté at Bar Boulud uptown and I don’t care for the dry, chalky downtown version, either.
If
you’ve never eaten head cheese, this is the place to try it. I had a
wonderfully tender, pig’s head terrine called the fromage de tête.

DBGB
doesn’t just serve hot dogs and burgers. There’s also a bit of uptown
Boulud on the menu, a little bistro, a little brasserie, with downtown
prices. One of the best dishes on the menu is a $12 tuna crudo with
radish, cucumber, harissa-sesame sauce, and tuna so fresh you can’t
distinguish between the bits of tuna and watermelon until they cross
your tongue.

The skate au pistou – prepared with tarbais beans, niçoise olives, baby artichokes, yellow beans and pesto – is nearly as good.

For
dessert, I loved the gâteau russe au framboise, French for cake layered
with savory pistachio mousse and raspberry filling. You can also pig
out on the coffee-caramel sundae sprinkled with brownie, chocolate
cookie and candied pecans. Anyone hungry for a taste of Boulud should
head to his kitchen on the Bowery.

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