A foodie’s birthday means only one thing, a prime dining experience. Venue location usually comes down to two options, a well established restaurant with a big name, such Daniel, Le Bernardin, etc, or a brand spanking new restaurant with enough hype to make your mouth water. Last night, in celebration of my very favorite and most amusing Foodie Magician, THE Josh Beckerman(http://www.nycfoodie.com/nycfoodie/), we went with the latter and dined at The Fat Radish in Chinatown. If Sam Sifton liked it enough to give it one star, it was definitely worth our time.
Situated on a desolate street just north of Canal Street, the only way to stumble upon this restaurant is with a preconceived plan, and a reservation made some time in advance. For a Wednesday night, not a single table remained empty during our two and a half hour dinner there and only seemed to get more crowded upon our exit. The space is hip, the music is good, and the crowd looks as if each person has a modeling portfolio and head shot. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes this restaurant so in vogue, but perhaps that is the coolest part about it.
To kick-start the birthday celebration, and while awaiting the birthday boy, I ordered the special cocktail that evening, Spring Training. Inspired by the beautiful sunny weather that day, it was a medley of grapefruit, basil, chilies and vodka, just some of my favorite ingredients for a drink. The birthday boy, upon his arrival, opted for the robust ginger and tequila concoction. With two strong drinks, we were off to a good start.
The highlight of our dinner came with the first dish, the oysters. Having a few notches in my belt in the oyster category, it’s hard to impress me, especially with an East Coast variety. But here we were with a half dozen Island Creeks from Duxbury Bay, Ma, and I was jaw-dropped, astounded. They were huge, plump, and shockingly amazing. And to quote birthday boy Beckerman, they were silky sweetness. We later received a private tutorial on these amazing little guys, and only a chef with a passion for all things seasonal can be that good in his selection. Way to go!
To continue, we followed along with the Grilled Cheese and the Montauk squid on top of wintry greens. The grilled cheese, along side a few sweet pickle slices, was crisp and flavorful with a hint of bacon that was just right. The squid, coated in anchovy bread crumbs was crispy, yet tender and paired well with the fresh, almost as if just picked, salad of mixed greens.
For our main course, although directed by our server to order the Cheeseburger, we instead chose their special dish, the Roasted East Coast Halibut with miso glazed turnips, kale and radish, and the Roasted Chicken on top of buttered lentils, romaine heart and crispy egg. The fish dish did not blow us away, especially considering it was the special, and the lentils with fried egg were more of a highlight then the actual chicken. I guess we should have tried their very popular cheeseburger with duck fat chips. But that just gives us a reason to return.
Overall, it was a fantastic foodie night, and we finished it by indulging in the Apple and Butternut Squash Crisp with a warmed spiced cream on the side. With big chunks of apples and butternut squash it was not only delicious, but also seemed almost deceiving healthy. Hey, whatever justifies eating the entire thing.
Happy Birthday Josh! Looking forward to next year’s celebration and many more magical dinners in between.
The Fat Radish
17 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002