Db Bistro Moderne

I find that in NYC, it’s so easy to get stuck always wanting to try the trendiest, newest Eater-schilled restaurant. So, I wanted to post about a wonderful experience at an older, established place that doesn’t get a lot of buzz.

Last night, we needed a pre-theater meal. We were going to go to Ma Peche, which is our Midtown standby since it’s very near to my office, but they were closed for a private event. Second option was Benoit, but we ended up skipping pre-theater entirely as we were running late.

We ultimately ducked out of our show at the intermission and went to db Bistro Moderne (food is obviously a priority in our household). I’ve eaten at Bar Boulud, Daniel (PR lunch, so doesn’t totally count), and we eat at DBGB pretty regularly (the Piggy has been my SO’s fav burger for as long as I’ve known him), but I had never been to Bistro Moderne.

We each started with a cocktail—a Singapore Sling for R and a Jack Rose for me. Both excellent classics, obviously made with care. Later, R enjoyed having a glass of Lynch-Bages’ second wine poured via Coravin. I had a California Bordeaux-style blend, which was excellent, and the “5 oz.” pour was truly a glass and a half… They even brought over a little carafe for the remainder.

Since R knew he was ordering the burger, we kept it light on the starters: Shishito peppers with a delicious soy-based dipping sauce, and a big marrow bone with toasts. The complimentary bread and butter was quite good as well.

R was pleasantly surprised at the burger. He loves foie gras, but was worried about how it would work in a burger—would it overpower the meat, or vice versa? I actually didn’t even get to try it, but he said it worked surprisingly well and complemented the meat and the short rib. His verdict is that the Piggy at DBGB is still his favorite (and a better value, at just $20 vs. the db burger’s $36), but that it still an excellent burger and worth having if you’re there.

I had a hanger steak with pommes puree, caramelized onions, and mushrooms (and a side of fries, because fries are my weakness). It was one of the best steaks I’ve had anywhere in the City—no fooling. Great sear on the outside, perfect medium-rare trending toward rare, on the interior, and so tender that you could’ve cut it with a butter knife. That’s no small feat for a hanger steak.

While not a “cheap” restaurant by any means, it’s also not as much of a wallet-buster as a lot of other Theater District restaurants, but still has some nice touches—an amuse bouche and a little tray of mignardises at the end make it feel like an elevated meal. Service was wonderful, from hosts, to server, to backwaiter, to somm.

For some reason, the db burger never appealed to me. Tried it once, and it just seemed quite over-the-top. Glad R enjoyed it.

For what it’s worth, db bistro is one my go-to spots in the city for breakfast. Great omelet.

Its been so long that at this point I don’t even remember that it ever happened. Glad to see you enjoyed it.

We’ve been going to dbBistro a couple of times a year since it opened. We’re Roundabout subscribers, and db is very conveniently located one block from the Laura Pels.

@loratliff, You’re so right when you say db is the antithesis of trendy. But that, for us, is its charm. Delicious food, an excellent wine list (as mentioned, they have the Coravin), professional service, comfortable seating, and high on my list of priorities, not being assaulted by a deafening noise level.

As for the burger, we didn’t get around to trying it until two years ago. I thought it was fine, but I’ve had other burgers that I’ve liked more.

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Ah, seeing you here just made my morning! I’ve missed your posts and insight over on CH.

dB is now also tops on our list for places to take one of our beloved, but hard of hearing (and sometimes ornery), relative. Ma Peche is our usual go-to, as the noise is bearable and the servers take to her with a smile and wit, but I have no doubt they would be just as accommodating at dB.

Also, I found the bar area to be quite beautiful and charming too, even for just a quick drink. I regret bypassing it for so long!

What a lovely thing to say, loratliff! I’ve missed you too and am so glad we can now reconnect. I left CH when I finally got totally fed up with unfair moderation that included a temporary suspension. They insisted on banning me from posting about certain restaurants where we’re friends of the house (I’m guessing you know which ones) while permitting others who are the same to continue doing so. I still lurk, and the Manhattan board is a shadow of what it used to be (NJ even worse).

Are you and your S.O. still blogging?

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