BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
I had the pleasure of dining at David Burke Townhouse for restaurant week this summer. Located in a charming townhouse on East 61st Street, a white façade and large windows welcomed passersby with a glow reminiscent of candlelight. The quirky stuffed dog on a leash just outside the doorway hinted at the quirky nature of the food and atmosphere that was just on the other side of the door.
David Burke Townhouse reminds me of a cross between a doll house and a Lewis Carroll novel. Pinks, reds, and whites surrounds you with playful elements like blown glass balloons dotting the ceiling and a collection of jaunty drawings by Tony Meeuwissen.
We sat down and were greeted immediately by one waiter, and when he left we were greeted by another. Despite being asked twice for everything, both waiters were charming and had a sense of humor.
My guest and I each ordered a glass of wine. My guest however was looking forward to the absinthe drip that he had experienced last time, and was disappointed to find out that they no longer serve absinthe at DBT due to its lack of popularity.
The $35 pre fix menu included a crab cake appetizer, a mustard crusted tuna entree, and dessert of ‘drunkin’ doughnuts.
As each course came out, I felt as if I were being transported into a miniature of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory only this time Mr. Wonka (or Mr. Burke in this case) focused on more than the chocolate. The butter that was served with the bread when we sat down, evoked a swirling tornado reaching for the sky, and the crab cake ordered as an appetizer that resembled a miniature raft floating along a river of poppy seeds and honey.
The flavors of each dish served were delicate and fresh, with attention given to each detail of presentation and the notes of each dish working in harmony with each other, ensuring that the perfect bite was achievable over and over again until the food was only a memory on the plate.
In particular, my main dish of rare mustard crusted tuna atop a sheet of compressed watermelon stood out. The vibrant color of the watermelon mimicking the red center of the tuna steak was equally as vibrant in flavor, and the avocado and beet-lime emulsion balanced out and mellowed each mouthful.
For dessert, I ordered the Drunkin’ Donuts (for $9 extra). It consisted of nearly a dozen sugared donut holes, suspended on metal rings of a circular stand. They were served with squirt bottles of strawberry Daiquiri, chocolate Bailey’s, and cafe au lait filling to inject into the center of the warm donuts. The donut’s, a bit heavy in consistency and the rich fillings, would have been better suited for two people to share instead of one, but were nevertheless a delicious, decadent, and fun way to finish off the meal.
My Restaurant Week experience at David Burke Townhouse was a great one, and I will most definitely be back next year to step into the wonderfully delicious gastronomic Wonderland!