Before I left for New York I sent an e-mail to Molly Wizenberg asking if she could recommend a few places to eat there. Knowing that Molly is crazy-busy working alongside her husband Brandon at Delancey, I told her I wouldn't be offended if she didn't have time to reply but that I would really appreciate a name or two if she had a spare moment.
She gave me eight names.
I've been working my way down the list, and have covered two of her recommendations in the past 24 hours. Last night I went to Pearl Oyster Bar and had the Lobster Roll. I also saw John Slattery, who was sitting at the bar about six seats down from me.
This afternoon I went to John's of Bleecker St. and saw no one famous, but all the non-famous people in there were very nice.
I'll talk about the Lobster and the Pizza later.
The first place I went on Molly's List was a sandwich place in Brooklyn called Saltie. Small and unassuming, you could easily walk past it without noticing. But that would be a shame, because then you would miss the Longshoreman's Daughter. There are only six or seven sandwiches on the menu, but the theme of Saltie is definitely 'quality, not quantity.'
Piled on top of house-made focaccia, the Longshoreman's Daughter is a tower of mild and brine doing an amazing balancing act. I gave up any hope of staying clean during this experience, which was good because I sort of wallowed in the thing. From the bottom up, there was mayonnaise, tomato, hard-boiled egg, feta cheese, roasted peppers, and a salad of fresh kraut, parsley, capers and olives. I bit into it which immediately released a torrent of juices on the plate while the focaccia did an admirable job of absorbing a lot of the liquid. The flavor combination was unlike anything I've ever had before, acid from the kraut mellowed by the creaminess of the mayonnaise, the smoothness of the hard-boiled egg spiked perfectly with the brine from the capers, the tomatoes melting and mingling with the mayonnaise and all the while the bright tang of feta, and just when you think it needs a little something extra the sweet and smoke of the roasted peppers swoops in and woos you all over again..it was heavenly. My one and only criticism is that the olives were really very, very salty to the point of being bitter and I actually pulled them out. Any bite that had olive in it tasted of nothing else; it actually left a soap-like aftertaste in my mouth, but this was quickly remedied by taking another bite of sandwich. About halfway through I started to get the feeling that maybe there was a little too much bread involved so I started pulling pieces off and setting them aside on my plate. By the time I'd finished the sandwich proper, a lot of egg and kraut and other goodness had fallen out on the plate as well, casualties of my reveling. I used the extra bread, extra no longer but in fact now very necessary, to sop everything up and left my plate super clean. I licked my fingers. When I'd finished, I told the woman who owns Saltie that I'd come from Seattle to Brooklyn to eat that sandwich specifically, and she looked at me like I was just a tiny bit crazy but she seemed pleased nonetheless. She turned out to also be from Seattle, which made me a little bit sad that she had chosen to bring her Saltie magic to Brooklyn instead of where I'd have easy access to more of that sandwich.
I have so much more food loves to share, but I have to get ready for Blue Hill tonight and figure out how not to be a bumbling idiot in front of Eric Ripert tomorrow night. Wish me luck.