Before Wright left for Washington, he was kind enough to take me on a date to restaurant we'd been dying to go to since it opened a few months ago - Daniel Boulud's DBGB. The restaurant is the first downtown venture of the famed chef - both in location (Houston and Bowery) and in the sense of the word. With a focus on sausage and beer, there has been a lot of talk about the high-quality food done in a low-brow kind of way (for example, there is a cheeseburger with pulled pork on the menu...probably the best cheeseburger with pulled pork on it you'll ever have, but still, a cheeseburger with pulled pork).
Our table was right by the kitchen, and for once, this was a good thing! The kitchen is open on two sides of the dining room, and it is so much more than just an open kitchen. The array of ingredients and utensils and everything you can imagine that lines the place is overwhelming and stunning. Everyone in the kitchen - and there are a lot of people in the kitchen - is working diligently and carefully, and watching them prep everything with such detail and elegance was fascinating. We were by the dessert station, so it was especially fun to watch them make the ice cream sundaes. (There are three on the menu; we had one with pistachio and golden plum ice cream, marshmallows, and cookies. It was kitschy and divine!)
For an appetizer, Wright had the escargot, which he'd read about in the Times and, well, if you watched the recent Top Chef episode with Boulud on it, you know why. Now, I have never eaten snails before. Are you surprised? Didn't think so. Anyway, they were heavenly - so buttery and flavorful and mmm just scrumptious! Very rich, but oh so delicious. I had the simple butter lettuce and chive salad, which was perfect. Yes, just perfect.
For the main course, Wright had the steak frites, which he quickly proclaimed one of the best he'd had (and he's had many, so this is a big statement). I went for the sausage - we were at DBGB, after all! I chose two types of sausage, one sweet and the other smoky. The smoky sausage ("Beaujolaise") was really flavorful and wonderful - so complex and delicious. The other wasn't as good, but it was still pretty darn wonderful. The sausages are made in house and there are probably about 20 to choose from - each very unique and appealing. I won't lie, it took me a really long time to decide which ones to get, and I will definitely be taste testing more the next time I return!
Yes, we're going back, that would be a definite. It wasn't exactly a cheap meal, but it was "a steal" for the quality, as Wright said. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and can't wait to go back and keep trying more dishes!