Some people might be growing tired of small bite menus. But when food is really good, a small bite is all you need. In fact, sometimes a small bite is so good, you find yourself daydreaming about it, days, weeks, even a month later. Here are some of the objects of my affection. Little somethings that were so perfectly executed that I can't get them out of my mind.
First up, chic lounge Otis has added a menu during the day that is filled with sandwiches, salads and snacks. The Black Mission Figs, Serrano and Manchego panini-style sandwich is the perfect Autumn nosh. I can't get enough of the combination of Serrano ham and Manchego and the fig just pushes it over the top. I was also going to write about the BLT Salad I tried there, but sadly, it is off the menu, maybe it will come back?
I had three favorite bites at the "sparkling" spot in Jackson Square, Bubble Lounge. Surprisingly it wasn't the caviar or oysters that thrilled me. It was an unbelievably good Asparagus Gratin. The balance of crunchy topping and juicy stalks was actually delicious with a rose brut Champagne. I'm not sure if it's still on the menu, I think it may be available only some of the time.
The little quail egg "Toad in the Hole" with apple wood bacon was like an elegant bite-sized breakfast.
Another bite I have to mention was the grilled sandwich of Brie, Smoked Duck Breast and Fig Jam. Similar to the panini at Otis but different in it's own way. And oh, so good.
Last but not least I have had the mother of all arancini. I tried a few little fried risotto balls in Italy but I never really understood the appeal. I take it all back. The new Italian restaurant in the Westin on 3rd Street, Ducca, serves the lightest, crispiest arancini ever. The recipe is available online, but I think you're better off going to to Ducca to enjoy them. They are glorious and with a warm truffle-scented cheesy center and a garnish of crunchy fried sage leaves. I think the polenta on the outside in the breading is just one one of the things that makes them so delectable. But they are terribly deceptive because you think you can eat them all but find that you just can't. Like I say, sometimes a small bite is all you need.
25 Maiden Lane