The Beauty of Beatrice
August 17, 2018
I remember these restaurants from my childhood, these cozy Village warrens that wind back and back, filled with people who all seem so much hipper than you are, so much more knowing. It’s so familiar that I am instantly happy to be at The Beatrice Inn.
Then the chef, Angie Mar, comes out and asks if we’d like her to make a meal for us. I’m a little apprehensive – I’ve heard the place is killingly expensive – but what the hell? – my book is done and it’s time to celebrate.
We start with oysters; the Shigokus from Oregon, all firm sweet plumpness, blow the drab east coast Blue Points out of the water. They’re almost chewy, with a haunting delicacy.
Then there’s caviar, with butter-soaked brioche. Who could possibly complain?
And this savory plum tart is an almost guilty pleasure. Despite that frill of peppery arugula with its rumors of Parmesan, it feels a lot like starting with dessert.
Then there’s that duck – at $100 the menu’s best bargain (it easily feeds 4) – with its coat of flaming cherries. The duck is aged, much massaged, roasted – and completely satisfying. We even get to take the carcass home, so there will be duck soup tomorrow.
The room is dark – great for romance, hard for photography – and I missed most of the subsequent dishes. But take my word that the milk braised pork shoulder is the other don’t-miss-dish. The pork, braised until it is more like pudding than meat, is so seductive you just want to put down your fork and purr. And the rice soubise – a perfect little puddle of deliciousness – is incredibly hard to stop eating.
Then we had beef, but by then my eyes were glazed, and this wonderful little tartiflette: it is a tiny island of richness, all potatoes and cheese, and a strangely wonderful thing to be eating on a hot summer day.
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