Pasquale Jones and Contra

Making the rounds this week on some new restaurants, both Pasquale Jones and Contra

Pasquale Jones is the sister to Charlie Bird.  Always been a fan of Charlie Bird.  Simple well thought out menu that you could almost eat nightly.  Pasquale Jones is a bit hipper but has the same thought out menu.  Big wood-fire place, large bar and well positioned on the corner of Mulberry and Kenmare with large windows.

ricottaHighlights was the warm whipped ricotta with black pepper and honey with light crispy chips. All the starters were good and shareable.

pizzaWe went with the classic pizza.

pastaPasta was delicious.  Fava beans, proscuitto and parm.  Very much of the season.

dessertOne dessert a night.  Tonight was roasted rhubarb, pistachios, honey and gelato.

contraContra is a completely different experience.  The restaurant has been on all the top lists and being praised at every turn.  Bare bones restaurant and a simple prix fixe menu.   I kind of love the elegance of the food with the rocking music playlist lighting up the place.

start contraFirst comes out a little taste from the chef.  This was incredible.  Different textures, flavors, sweet, savory, tart, cold, hot, etc.  A cheese cracker with a spot of creme fraiche, nori and roe.  Wow.

asparagusThe menu is what it is that day.  The descriptions of what you are about to eat are vague.  For instance this was asparagus, crab, celery.  It was white asparagus with a crab salad over it sitting in a celery soup.  Really interesting.

breadMake sure to order one bread for two people.

chickenThe chicken, horseradish and feta had mushrooms too.  Roasted chicken breast with a whipped horseradish with shaved feta and roasted mushrooms.   We also had a scallop, nasturtium, leche de tigre in one dish and hake, fennel and matcha in another.

strawberryThe desserts were amazing.  Milk ice cream and strawberries.  The other one was banana, rye and raspberry.

Both fun evenings.  Totally different but both very NY.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Thanks–huge long term fan of Charlie Bird so this is on my list.Fan and frequent visitor to Contra. They are very tied into the New York natural wine community, have a kicking wine list and do wine makers dinners there frequently. Fun place. And feels just perfect to me when I go there.Welcome back to New York.Was thinking of you the other day as a restaurant style thinker when I ate at Butchers Daughter on Abbot Kinney. So so interesting to see what they did with the NoHo concept moved to LA. Both rock, both are printing money and satisfying many including me!

    1. Gotham Gal

      We had an amazing orange wine at Contra

      1. awaldstein

        Not surprising.The quality of skin fermented whites (aka Orange) is freakin amazing across the world. Huge fan of this way of making wines. Some are wildly elegant, some crazily sensuous and sexy and some impossible yet somehow work.

  2. JAJones

    I recently moved to SF after 15 years in NYC and the biggest thing I miss are the restaurants. You and Fred must have a killer workout regimen to balance out all these amazing meals!

  3. Brandon Burns

    Unrelated, but likely of interest to you…Kim Nicol, on investing:”I’ve made fewer than two-dozen investments in my life, so maybe not so many as others, but I’ve never lost money. Not once. Is it luck? Very possibly, but there is something I do that most investors I know don’t: I listen. I listen and I break bread and I meet families. I have never once invested in an entrepreneur with an elevator pitch. This is all money that you could have made, if you were willing to break the mold.”…

    1. Gotham Gal

      wise words.

    2. Gotham Gal

      i read the piece. total respect on the listening piece, breaking bread and getting to know the entrepreneurs. i believe most vc’s do that with the people that they are invested in. not having time to meet with anyone for a 20 minute pitch is reality. let him sit in my chair for a week and see if he has that time. obviously this is his angle but i’m not buying the majority of his take on investors.

      1. Brandon Burns

        That’s fair, and I’ve met folks like you and others who are as attentive and considered with the entrepreneurs they meet as they possibly can be.I’ve also met folks who don’t listen… or, rather, they listen out for the things they want to hear, packaged in the way that they’re used to hearing them, instead of *actually* listening and hearing the unique situation of the founder and product. That’s the part that I gravitate towards, especially considering the white male-heavy makeup of the investment community. It’s easy to listen and hear when you’re talking to people like yourself, because they’re going to speak and approach things similar to how you would; but for those who don’t fit that mold, you really notice when people act like they’re listening, versus really just waiting to hear whatever it is they already had in their head that they wanted to hear from you. And that doesn’t just go for investors, but bosses, colleagues, employees — everybody is guilty of this, especially in homogenous environments.There’s listening, and then there’s actually listening. You can spend an hour with someone and not actually listen.I don’t think that point was super clearly made in the article, but at least that’s what I took away when put through my own filters.I also shared this with you because you listen. :-)___** I accidentally misquoted in my first comment (I shared the name of the person that shared the article w/ me instead of the author).

        1. Gotham Gal

          i do listen!

  4. AMT Editorial Staff

    I was super intrigued when you described Charlie Bird as having cuisine you could eat nightly. The menu is appealing and fairly well balanced, BUT BUT BUT, I think Nu Pang’s menu is much more “nightly” than Charlie Bird. It’s lighter, versatile, and seems “brighter.” And maybe this is just a statement about Italian vs Cambodian/Thai inspired cuisine. We love trying new places and love few. The pot of gold is finding a place that one is willing to return to multiple times — because it means not trying a new spot. There’s always a little FOMO…In San Diego we find ourselves re-ordering: sushi, fish tacos, thai & bbq & diner food. So 5 places that are in frequent rotation for ordering. For going out, rarely do we opt for “known” vs “new.”

    1. Gotham Gal

      we are “new” too but sometimes you have to go with the “known”