Tag Archive | The DL

Manhattan's Truffle Macaroni & Cheese Round Up!

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It is no secret that The Worley Gig is a huge fan of all delicious foods, and we try not to discriminate. But if we had to pick a favorite single food (rather than an entire ethnic cuisine, in which case Mexican FTW!) we would choose Macaroni & Cheese. Because, pasta and cheese baked together, yum. Over the course of the past year’s many restaurant reviewing adventures we have had the pleasure of sampling a current trend in Macaroni & Cheese preparation: the addition of truffles, or truffle oil, which elevates this humble comfort food dish into the culinary stratosphere. In this post we revisit five New York City restaurants featuring a Truffled Macaroni & Cheese dish on their menu. Feel free to pay any of them a visit and tell them we sent you!

Upstairs at The Kimberly Hotel

Truffled Mac & Cheese
All Food Photos By Anne Raso

Midtown Manhattan’s finest east-side rooftop dining experience is found at Upstairs, a swanky open-air cocktail lounge (with awesome nighttime views of the Chrysler Building) located on the Penthouse level of the Kimberly Suites Hotel (145 East 50th Street).  On our first visit last summer, our heartiest mid-week appetite was more than satisfied by an order of rich and fragrant Truffled Macaroni & Cheese ($12), baked en casserole to a golden hue. Simply perfect.  Rating: A

The Meatball Factory

Truffled Mac & Cheese from Meatball Factory

Chef Dave Martin takes credit for starting the Truffled Macaroni & Cheese craze while he was a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef. His signature dish, a Black Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese ($11), is among the most popular items on the menu at The Meatball Factory (231 Second Ave at 14th Street). Chef Dave’s secret to achieving such delicious, cheesey-truffly baked goodness involves first cooking the cream base for the sauce until it develops its own “nutty” flavor, then slowly folding in both Fontina and Parmesan cheeses so that ingredients blend perfectly, preventing the sauce from “breaking.” This technique makes for a very creamy sauce and a unique integration of flavors that, when combined with the essence of black truffles, elevates this memorable creation high above “your Mama’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese” status. Rating: A-

Update: Sadly, the Meatball Factory Has Closed as of April 30, 2012.

Bahr Che

Black Truffle Mac & Cheese

At Bahr Che Wine Bar (tucked away at 26 Astor Place) their limited menu is enhanced greatly by the Lobster and Black Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese ($16.00) — one of the heartier choices on a menu punctuated by tiny salads. We especially enjoyed the big chunks of lobster tucked around tendrils of macaroni in a mild cheese sauce, but ultimately the dish called out for either more sharp cheddar cheese or extra seasoning (a few sprinkles of salt, even) to bring out the much desired black truffle essence. Rating: B-

DL

Ludlow Mac and Cheese

One of our favorite new dining spots on the Lower East Side is DL (95 Delancey Street) where they do their Ludlow Mac (Elbow macaroni, with creamy béchamel sauce and cheese) three ways, including a glorious Truffle and Mushroom ($15), version. This is a classically oven-baked dish with a crispy panko crumb topping and plentiful slices of fresh mushroom added, which goes a long way towards enhancing the rich and flavorful truffle oil-infused sauce. Rating: A

Sons Of Essex

SOE Truffle Mac And Cheese

Sons of  Essex is one of no fewer than three restaurants with the word Essex in its name that is also located on Essex Street (in this case, 133 Essex Street, between Stanton and Rivington). Sons of Essex is so enthusiastic about the Macaroni & Cheese trend that its menu even has a separate section dedicated to detailing the various types of Mac & Cheese that SOE serves. In addition to a daily Mac & Cheese special variety, each day of the week you can also get the Truffle Mac N Cheese ($16) made with elbow macaroni, Gruyere and a truffle cheese sauce, baked to achieve the crunchiest golden brown top you could ever ask for. Easily shared between two people, this dish answers the burning question, “What shall we have for an appetizer?” Rating: A+

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DL Restaurant & Lounge: A Secret Too Good to Keep!

Interior Shot from DL Restaurant

In popular slang, the initials “DL” are commonly understood to stand for “Down Low,” indicating something that should be kept secret or given a low profile. In a neighborhood that’s quickly developing its own Restaurant Row (see Essex Street), The DL is a recently opened restaurant / bar located at the corner of Delancey and Ludlow Streets – the DL moniker deriving from this intersection – serving remarkably delicious food and offering a hip dining alternative completely free of any oppressive hipster attitude. Even if you’re reading about The DL for the first time in this review, once word gets out, we can envision this place being one of the most buzzed about dining spots on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

One of the first things you’ll notice on entering The DL is how gorgeous the room is. Bordered by floor to ceiling glass windows, the open-plan space features a long bar and plenty of intimate tables and banquet-lined booths amid a gothic elegant décor of crystal chandeliers, dark wood and ornate metal filigree that lends an attractive nightclub feel to the room without sacrificing a cozy vibe. DL’s menu, presented tapas-style on small plates, showcases a varied selection of modern American comfort foods that manage to be both wildly innovative and pleasingly familiar. Plan your visit with one or more friends so that you can share and sample a variety of dishes.

Here’s what we enjoyed on a recent Thursday evening visit:

Grilled Cheese With Heirloom Tomato Soup

Shown: Half Portion. All Food Photos By Anne Raso.

An American classic combination, DL’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich served with a cup of heirloom tomato soup ($12.00) features Humboldt fog, a creamy goat’s milk cheese on 12-grain toast, and the warming soup has a slightly peppery kick to it. Our server was happy to request that the portion be split for two so that it could be easily shared.

Ludlow Mac & Cheese With Truffle & Mushrooms

Everyone loves macaroni and cheese, and The DL does their Ludlow Mac (Elbow macaroni, with creamy béchamel sauce and cheese) three ways: Lobster and Chive ($16), Bacon and Green Apple ($14) and Truffle and Mushroom ($15), which was our selection. This is a classically oven-baked dish with crispy panko crumb topping and the plentiful slices of fresh mushroom added a complimentary flavor boost to the rich, truffle oil-infused sauce. A sampling of all three Ludlow Mac varieties can be ordered for $24.

The DL Burger

The slider-sized DL Burger was perfectly juicy, topped with cheese and crisp pickle on a fresh potato bun, with jalepenos, pickled turnips & avocado puree garnish and a side of extra crispy fries ($12.00). Had this been a full-sized burger it would certainly be among the best in Manhattan, the dry aged ground beef being excellent quality and the burger having an appealing char-grilled taste! If you plan on sharing ask for a sharp knife to cut the burger evenly in half, otherwise it could get a bit messy.

Rice Crispy Crusted Monkfish

For fish lovers, we recommend the nice-sized portion of mild-tasting Rice Crispy Crusted Monkfish served with sautéed vegetables, crispy rice noodles and a flavorful Lobster broth accented with fresh baby coconut milk ($15.00).

Green Leaf Salad Roll

A playful take on traditional green salad can be found in the Green Leaf Salad Rolls, where bib lettuce is wrapped around avocado, mango and julienne vegetables and served with a really unique sweet and tart citrus dressing ($11.00).

Merguez Pizza

One of the house specialties, the middle eastern-style Merguez Pizza is served on a grilled soft flatbread topped with crumbled house-made lamb sausage, greens and fresh tzatziki sauce ($14.00). Perfectly spiced with hint of fresh fennel, this creation reminded us more of a tasty flatbread gyro than a traditional pizza.

Blueberry & Banana Tiramisu

For dessert, we were easily tempted by the Blueberry and Banana Pudding Tiramisu ($10.00). Aside from being a scrumptious dessert comprised of layers of cake and custard, this fresh fruit studded delight bears little resemblance to its namesake flavor-wise, but is nevertheless fantastically delicious.

Chocolate Pistachio Cake

We also couldn’t resist the Chocolate and Pistachio Cake ($10.00), a traditional leavened cake that’s a welcome break from the ubiquitous flour-less chocolate cake you find on nearly every dessert menu in the city

Service from both our waiter and the restaurant’s accommodating Maitre D’ was exceptionally friendly and attentive in every way. Chef Wesley Wobles (formerly of Cafe Del Mar, among others) even made a stop by our table to ask how we were enjoying the food and to chat with us briefly about his approach to cooking with fresh, local ingredients. With his delicious, creative cuisine and fun personality, we think Wesley would make an ideal contestant for Bravo TV’s Top Chef!

The DL is located at 95 Delancey Street (Southwest Corner of Ludlow and Delancey) in New York City. Happy Hour Drink specials are featured nightly from 5 – 8 PM. Reservations (starting at 5 PM) can be made up to thirty days in advance. Please call (212)228-0909 for all information regarding dinner and table reservations. Visit The DL on the Web at This Link.