I've wanted to try this place for a while now and what better time to do it than New York Restaurant Week. It's offered a few times a year and this summer it ran July 21-25 and July 28- August 1. It’s a prix-fixe 3 course meal, usually a choice of 2 appetizers, 2 entrees and 2 desserts at $24.07 (why the .07?) for lunch and $35 for dinner.
David Burke & Donatella is one of those much talked about restaurants with not 1 but 2 heavy weights in the culinary world stamped right there into the name of the restaurant. Of course I had high expectations. Now being a downtown girl these days, I much poo poo the uptown restaurants. The crowd’s not what I would like, the atmosphere is usually stuffy etc. But I’ll say it again, if the food’s good the food’s good. The food at David Burke and Donatella is not only good but I much enjoyed the atmosphere. I like the whimsy of the restaurant’s ostridge egg theme down to the signature dessert the Cheesecake Lollipop Tree. The attention to detail is reflected in even the presentation of the bread and butter.The décor and service was quite pleasing as well, classic but not stodgy. Here’s another thing that’s cool, they offer the $24.07 lunch menu year round on Monday through Fridays plus brunch on weekends! I love options so when they offered up a $24.07 menu and a $34 menu for lunch we had to try a little of both. One thing I found interesting about the menu, it’s heavily influence by curry. There’s a curried something in many of the dishes even in the dessert I ordered.
Lobster-Lemongrass Bisque with Thai Style Lobster Stick and Curried Apple Essence
Let me tell you about this lobster stick! I’m all about it. Give me more sticks if they’re all like this one. It’s lobster filling rolled in a spring roll wrap and fried to a crispy goodness. The presentation was great. The stick and garnish was in the bowl and the soup was poured tableside. I wasn’t too crazy about the curried apple essence but the stick made up for that and then some.
Pan Seared Wild Salmon with Horseradish Fingerlings and Watercress
The salmon was cooked just right with the skin crispy and the salmon still moist. The horseradish fingerlings were mashed and super good. The sauce that came with this dish was creamy punched with the right brightness of herbs. The portion was just the right fill for lunch.
Butterscotch Panna Cotta with Curried Cocoa Gelee
If you like butterscotch this is your dessert. The butterscotch flavor was very nice and the panna cotta was smooth with just the right texture not too gritty and not too jello-like. I didn’t taste the curry in the gelee but maybe my curry sensors were overtaken by the previous dishes I had.
Salt and Pepper Calamari
Someday I’m going to have to do a whole section just on calamari. It’s become the French fries of bar food almost. But this calamari here is no bar food. If I did a top ten all time list of calamari I’ve eaten, this calamari is on that list. If calamari is your thing, you must go to it, seek out this calamari on 61st Street between Lexington and Park Avenue.
Black Angus Burger
Good bun, good meat, good burger, good lobster mayonnaise but I did detect a strong hint of tumeric. I could be wrong but it did taste like curry to me. The “downtown” pickle was good too. And if you know me, you know I likes the “downtown” pickles.
Caramelized Apple Tart
Presentation was very nice and the tart was good. I felt it didn’t have enough ice cream to go with all that tart and caramel.
David Burke & Donatella
133 East 61st Street
(Park and Lexington Avenues)
New York, NY 10065