Chez Sardine

Chez Sardine opened this past week and we were quite excited about it.  In full disclosure, we are investors in the restaurant.  We are investors because we have invested in every one of Gabe Stulmans restaurants since he opened Joseph Leonard a few years ago.  We met him when he opened up Little Owl where he is no longer involved.  It was obvious to me that he was a scrappy entrepreneur who understood the hospitality business on many levels.  He has created a community within all his restaurants with not only the chef and staffs but the patrons as well.  Mehdi Brunet-Benkirtly is the head chef at Fedora and took his brilliant creative mind over to Chez Sardine. 

The restaurant has a clean glamorous feel with warm wood walls and booths including a sweet little bar with a few stools.  A total change of vibe and feel from other Stulman restaurants and I like it.

As always there are a few cocktails.  Love the name "Cousin Scotty Fails his Driving Test".  There is also a huge wine list, sakes included. 

We were there on day 3 of being open.  The kitchen was humming.  We began with caviar and butter toast.  Simple and divine.  Nothing like salty tiny eggs of caviar over a simple crusty toast. 

Pork:unagi roll
Warm pork and unagi hand roll.  Warm eel and pork is a clever combination.  A wow.

On the menu is the sushi bar options.  All individual pieces.  Sliced tuna over warm rice with a kick of ginger and scallions.  The menu says chicharron which is a pork dish but I did not taste that.

Smoked artic char over a warm spicy rice.  This was outrageous.  The combination of smoke and spice with a buttery piece of fish is a total winner.

Beef tonue with ponzu and slices of jalapeno.  Totally different.  Fred loved this.

East coast oyster with apple and chive oil.  A bit too foamy.

Chopped scllop
Chopped scallop mixed with trout roe and a quail egg.  Just making this is not easy.  An incredible combo of flavors.  The egg just seals the deal.

Breakfast pancakes.  This could become a signature dish.  Think bilini pancakes layered with fish tartare, salmon roe and dollops of yogurt through out.  Divine.

Pan fried brussel sprouts mixed with apple sauce that has been mixed with a brown butter.  Really interesting as I was expecting piece of apple.  I am going to try and make this at home.

Miso-maple salmon head.  Literally a salmon head roasted with crispy skin and glazed with a rich miso maple sauce.  You have to be adventurous for this one because you have to pick through the bones.  Some of the heads are more meaty than others.  Brilliant but not easy.

This is the one dish I did not love.  Iceberg wedge with creamy sesame dressing.  The dressing was too heavy handed with a taste that would not leave my mouth.  When we eat Japanese food although this is Japanese food Mehdi style, I want clean crispy flavors and this just sat.

Nice little treat at the end.  Soft smooth ice cream with the flavor of a sugar cone. 

All and all a sweet little gem on the corner of West 4th and West 10th that is worth checking out.  Must go back and eat a few of the items I missed.