Tuesday, October 4, 2011

White and Church

Last June, I had the pleasure of attending the soft opening for White and Church. I found the menu on NY Magazine's webpage and hoped that I'd get a chance to sample a few items. Unfortunately, the star of that evening was the 60 option cocktail menu. Nevertheless I was in love with the space. The dramatically high ceilings, the well lit bar area that was thankfully not backed by a mirror and the two elevated semi private alcoves. I vowed to come back and try the food. Another opportunity arrived a few weeks ago when I received an invitation to the fall grand opening. At that event, White and Church had introduced its projector.

Italian films with subtitles were projected on one of the walls. It was something like an art installation. That night, I fell in love with the Fried Polenta.  A few days later I returned for a press dinner and for the first time, I saw White and Church as it should be. A glorious modern space that was elegant and classic yet had a comfortable "I could eat here everyday" feel. I was extremely excited when I saw the tasting menu.  We started with a Tomato and Bread soup.

The chef Matteo Boglione sent this dish out to "open our stomachs" for the meal to come. The aroma of fresh basil instantly drew me in. The soup was perfect. If I've learned anything from eating at Italian restaurants, it's the importance of the tomato. The tomato was definitely the star in this dish and it shined brightly. The next item on the tasting menu was Stuffed Green Olives.

A fried green olive stuffed with pork, veal and pistachio mortadella. Since I don't eat any of the proteins in that particular dish, Matteo was kind enough to provide me with a Farro Salad.

Yum-my! A plate of farro, baby artichokes, pecorino cheese and tomato confit…all for me! If you’ve been reading my blog you know I’m not a salad eater. This salad was a big shocker because I actually thought it was delicious! Next up was my absolute favorite dish the Pecorino Cheese Crème Brulee.

This dish was amazing. It was extremely sweet yet filling. I am definitely adding pecorino to my list of cheeses!  We received a welcome addition to our menu in the form of my love, the Fried Polenta.

What I don’t understand about this amazing dish is how something fried and crispy can still be light and fluffy.  Matteo really out did himself this time. The Fried Polenta was served with Parmesan Cheese Fondue.  The sweetness of the Parmesan is perfect for the polenta., which is why I sent it for a little swim :)

I was also pleased with the Artichoke Croquettes.

They were chillingly good. No, seriously, I got goosebumps! The saffron sauce, burrata cheese and black truffle shavings melded well together. The truffle scent was predominant but not overpowering.  The Farfalle Pasta was another venture into heaven.

Of course the pasta was al dente. The tomatoes, arugula and pesto were well blended yet distinct and the pecorino cheese left me with a “holy cow!” feeling. By the time the Burrata Cheese Ravioli arrived, I thought I was no longer interested in eating.

But it smelled so good; I almost ate it without photographing it first! I definitely wanted another bite of this one and stared at my empty plate for quite some time.  Luckily the Tuna Steak arrived shortly after.

It was served with eggplant cream, fried artichokes, caramelized black olives and basil oil.  I was so full at that point but still managed to eat every bite of this dish.  Thankfully that was the end of our entrées.  The deep fried rice ball was extremely sweet.

Definitely not something I would order, but I can see why others would want it. I mean who turns down sugar?  The chocolate cake was far more interesting to me!

Creamy deliciousness. I could have eaten the whole thing by myself.  

White and Church is really a fantastic restaurant. It has blossomed in the last 3 months and I really hope it continues to grow. A lot of the focus is on the astounding cocktail list. That’s all good and well, but a restaurant is about food! I hope White and Church doesn’t suffer the fate of its predecessor. Matteo is a talented chef. The menu has a lot of variety and something to please everyone. His price point is also currently extremely low. Right now he is practically giving the food away! I’m looking forward to returning soon to eat larger portions and sample a few of the items that weren’t on our menu.

Hungry yet?

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