Cuisine: International/American/Pacific Northwest
Last visited: September 13, 2011
Location: Manhattan, NY (East Village)
Address: 54 E 1st St
Nearby subway stop: 6 line to Bleecker Street, or F or V line to 2nd Ave
Price Range: $10-20 for brunch, $20-30+ for dinner
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Since 1999
- 2011 Best Chef in NYC (James Beard Award)
- Casual atmosphere
- Modern American food
- Some gourmet comfort food
- Innovative/eclectic menu
- Seasonal menus
- Local favourite
- Popular for brunch
- Moderately priced
- Long waits at peak hours
- Vegetarian friendly
- Brunch Sat-Sun 10am-3:30pm
- Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3:30pm
- Dinner daily 5:30pm-11pm
**Recommendations: Brunch is popular, but expect a line up. Apparently the sweetbreads are great, but I didn’t come for dinner.
So what is the bloody big deal about Prune? Simply put, it’s the hottest thing since The Spotted Pig. Well, it’s one of them at least. The Fat Radish is another one, but I liked Prune better based on what I tried. Apparently to some foodies and food enthusiast in New York, The Spotted Pig is so yesterday and this is so today, but I enjoyed The Spotted Pig most. Being the band wagoner I am in a city I’m not too familiar with, I jumped on and made it a point to try them all. As a tourist everything was new to me anyways, so yesterday or today, it’s all the same.
Prune actually opened in 1999, which is over 10 years ago, so it’s definitely not new. However its recent popularity and boom of success is due to the fact that the owner and chef, Gabrielle Hamilton, was just awarded Best Chef in NYC for 2011 by the James Beard Foundation. She was nominated in 2009 and 2010 as well, but never won the category until this year. Well leave it to the winning of an award with the James Beard Foundation, or earning Michelin Stars (The Spotted Pig), or appearing on Food Network (Big Gay Ice Cream) to bring you to fame, but in New York or almost anywhere, it works!
Anyways it was my last lunch in New York and I was contemplating Prune or Clinton St Baking Company. Both are located in East Village and are supposed to be stellar restaurants with long line ups during brunch, but it was one or the other. Or both!
My original plan was to go to Clinton St Baking Company for their famous blueberry pancakes after my lunch at Prune, so I only ordered one dish here. I know, how rare right? I can’t tell what a restaurant can do based on one item, so I can’t speak for the rest of the menu or style of the chef.
The sad thing is, is that I never made it to Clinton St Baking Company. I ended up squeezing in Chikalicious and Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery before and after Prune, and after those I just had no more room to enjoy Clinton St Baking Company before dinner, so I didn’t. That’s okay though, I won’t know what I missed until I have it, so it’s on the itinerary for Follow Me Foodie to New York City round 2!
Okay, so I semi-lied. I really did roll my way to Clinton St Baking Company after, but I didn’t get anything. I just wanted to see it. I waited until 4pm to get hungry again and went back a second time to actually try their pancakes… and scones, but discovered it had just closed until dinner 🙁
On the table:
- Celery, olives and salt.
- This was cute and a bit random, but the gesture was appreciated since it was only lunch.
- The description did not sound good, besides the “fried salmon skin” aspect, and for me that was the hook. It was also a recommended choice.
- I would have preferred if the soupy rice was a risotto, but this was a lighter choice.
- The rice was luke warm and a bit hard and slightly like Uncle Ben’s in texture which I wasn’t keen on.
- The peas were smashed into the rice and the whole ones were a bit starchy, so the soupy rice could have been better overall.
- The rice was a bit herby with chives, parsley and mint (?), and the broth didn’t have much of a flavour besides carrying the ingredients I listed.
- The salmon was melt in your mouth buttery, medium rare and moist and almost sashimi like.
- It was as oily as toro (tuna belly) which is rare for salmon, but I’m not complaining one bit.
- The salmon wasn’t really cold, but it was room temperature and slightly on the colder side of it.
- It was poached and infused with lemon, but it wasn’t sour and just aromatic with some spices and herbs.
- It didn’t have a crust, but it was basted with a sauce that tasted like ground coriander seed, lemon zest, and perhaps mint.
- It wasn’t bland, but the flavour was mild.
- It seemed inspired by Middle Eastern or Indian flavours, but it wasn’t nearly to that degree, and I wouldn’t categorize it as that either.
- It was a very light and summery dish and I enjoyed the salmon part the most, but I still wasn’t quite convinced of the dish entirely.
- This actually reminded me of an Olive Oil Poached Snowpass Coho Salmon I had in Vancouver from Bacchus.
- The salad was the next best thing following the salmon.
- The fried salmon skin was placed on top of fresh pea sprouts so I did love the two forms of peas in the dish.
- I love it when the salmon skin is served. It has the most flavour.
- The salmon skin was salty and crispy and almost like bacon and they made for sophisticated croutons on the salad which was lightly drizzled with fruity olive oil.
- I would have loved if there were some dried wasabi peas in this, and even a sweet pea puree showcasing a third and fourth form of peas, but I’m not sure if that goes with the theme of the menu.
- The portion was just right for a light lunch, but it was all slightly under seasoned and I think I was just expecting more.
- It was freshly made, soft and chewy with a sugar coating and heat to follow.
- Again, I only ordered one item because I had eating plans before and after Prune.