January 24, 2015- By Steven E. Greer
Tonight, by a strange twist of fate, I finally did it. I ate at the now-world-famous Bâtard in Tribeca.
My previous story on Bâtard required my full attention as an interviewer and videographer filming Chef Glocker make his unique and excellent chicken schnitzel, so I never really sat down and enjoyed the goods. Since the owners never bothered to invite me, I did not get around to stopping by.
However, after going to a very bad fake restaurant in a pop-up location tonight, I stubbornly persisted with the evening, trying to erase the bad experience. I could only think of Bâtard as an option, and headed over. Once I was there, I realized that I left my wallet at home, so I went back, and the third time was the charm for the night (Thank goodness for Uber cars).
Chef Glocker was actually in the house, and came out to pleasantly greet me, which was a nice touch. I was only going to have the chicken schnitzel, but the chef had other ideas in mind. He proceeded to serve me four courses of the prettiest, most artistically plated, uniquely delicious dishes that I have had in a long time. It lived up to all of the accolades that the restaurant received in 2014, such as “Best New Restaurant” by many news outlets, three-stars by the New York Times, and a Michelin star after being opened only four-months.
The meal began with the first crudo (raw fish) that I have ever had that tasted good. It was red snapper, plated like Picasso would plate a dish, with caviar on top. The warm poppy seed rolls, made in-house, and soft butter, were not to be overlooked as mere perfunctory bread.
Then came the Granny Smith strudel, which looked like a dessert, but was warm and savory as an entree, served with raw apple, caramelized sweetbread, potato Mousseline, balsamic truffle vinaigrette, tarragon, and grilled leek. This too was worthy of being an exhibit at MoMA.
As an unexpected further surprise, a chocolate torte arrived. The chef is from Austria, and Austrians know their tortes, ala Sacher Torte. The new pastry chef, on the job for two-months, seems to be a keeper. She added three round balls of nut-coated ice cream to add cold chilling distinction to the ambient temperature chocolate torte. Contrasting textures are so crucial for desserts.
And as what could be counted as a fifth course, a complimentary after-dinner plate of small sweets arrived. The round chocolate truffle shells were filled with a liquid center made of bourbon and black olive caramel. Next to them were gummy treats called Mandarinquat Pate de Fruit.