I finally made it to Pardes. The winner of our Best of Kosher Restaurant from 2011 and a much talked about dining destination in Brooklyn, NY. A lucky night of free babysitting from the in-laws meant that I could venture out a little farther and get to Pardes with a couple of friends ready to share.
Before I went I put a call out on Twitter asking for recommendations and overwhelmingly everyone raved about the tasting menu, where Chef Moshe Wendel will bring out course after course of his own special creations for $110. Unfortunately, I was too late to order the tasting menu which requires 24 hours advance notice. But that gave us ample opportunity to sample lots of items from the regular menu and craft our own “tasting” menu.
We started with the jar of house made pickles, unsure at first about all the mixed vegetables inside, we were expecting mostly cucumbers, but were delighted to enjoy veggies like fennel and taro to whet our appetite.
Then they tantalized us with the Amuse Bouche – a small spoonful of white bean puree and olive tapenade – delectable.
One of the surprise hits of the night was the heirloom tomato salad. It was the height of tomato season Chef Wendel showed great restraint and and let the flavor of the red, ripe tomatoes shine through, with crispy salmon skin, a light vinaigrette dressing and fiddlehead ferns (those were my favorite).
Moving on to more foreign territory, we all agreed to try the goat terrine since most of us had not had gotten our goat before. It was a very unusual dish served room temperature, gelled in an aspic and alongside a mustard slaw and a whole fried egg. To be honest I am not sure I am an aspic fan, but it was particularly delicious when everything was eaten in one bite, the flavors complemented each other perfectly and the whole thing was incredibly different from anything I’ve ever tasted.
The Beef Cheek Pizza and the Green Eggs and Lamb were suggested as the specialties of the house recommended by the waiter. Both were unique dishes and generous in size, but we found the flavorings lacking. The pizza dough was crisp and delicious, and the beef cheeks were moist and tender, but the whole pizza needed a little more oomph. The green eggs and lamb was filled with veggies and a rustic quality that would make it a perfect dish for colder weather, but on this summer evening I found it a touch bland.
I really enjoyed the corn salad with duck bacon, I’d order a bowl of duck bacon if it was ever on the menu.
All of the above dishes were appetizers or small plates. We also shared two larger main courses. The Rib Eye and the Tender with Celery Puree and Roasted Cipollini (onion). Between the four of us, two preferred the rib eye while two preferred the tender. Both were cooked perfectly and the portions were generous. I think it just came down to which cut of meat you prefer.
There is no question that Chef Wendel thinks outside the kosher box and offers us a place to explore and taste very different foods. You will certainly enjoy the experience and find some treasures along the way.
Have you been to Pardes? I would love to hear what you have to say.