Daniel Boulud seems to be competing with Danny Meyer for largest ever-expanding empire in New York. His latest, DBGB, is his entry into the casual restaurant category with that popular bar-dining room split. My friend scored us a reservation for the dining room, which has gotten enough buzz to require some advance planning.
The dining room is dark, but unique with a wraparound open kitchen and a mix of booths, banquettes and tables. The service was efficient and friendly, though they managed to hit upon one of my pet peeves - clearing plates without asking if we were done. The menu has a strong focus on meats - an interesting variety of sausage mixes and fancy burgers. There is also an extensive beer menu to go with them.
While we sampled a few different dishes that were good, I would say everything was mostly forgettable except for the sausages. I would return for those because I can't think of another restaurant I have been to in the city where there is such a focus on presenting different flavors of links. We didn't order any burgers, but by the number of them we saw go out, it seemed like they were the most popular item on the menu.
Asparagus and Fried Egg with duck prosciutto & cracklins, mustard-egg dressing
The presentation of this dish was beautiful but the flavors were meek and didn't stand out. The asparagus had been pared and softened and the egg encased in a fairly light tempura coating.
Chip Chop Salad with romaine, avocado, red pepper, carrot, watermelon and ginger-sesame dressing and lobster
This was reminiscent of a Chinese chicken salad. Nothing special.
Spicy Crab Cake with pickled radish, avocado, vadovan curry sauce
The crab cake was good, but not at all spicy. The curry sauce was excellent though.
Beaujolaise - pork, mushrooms, onion, bacon & red wine link with lentils du puy
Viennoise - pork and emmenthaler cheese kaiserkrainer with housemade sauerkraut
Both of these were terrific. The Beaujolaise was a more crumbly sausage, likely because of all the components melded together, but I liked the complexity of it. The Viennoise was structured more like a regular sausage, but pocked with cheese. In both cases, the accompaniments were perfectly suited to the flavors.
Strawberry Tart with strawberry and mascarpone and berry-ginger ice cream
This was similar to a cheesecake with creamy mascarpone cheese, a sugary crust and sweet strawberries. The ice cream tasted strongly of the ginger.
Two scoops of ice cream: Golden plum-pistachio & coffee caramel
Though I requested no whipped cream, I still got it. The coffee caramel was a deep, strong flavored ice cream that drew me in with every bite. I liked the originality of the golden-plum pistachio, but the flavors weren't mixed into one. Instead, the golden plum was marbled into the pistachio and it had a noticeably icier composition than the smoother pistachio part, which had a liqueur-like edge to it. But both were a lovely close to the meal.