Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cure - Lawrenceville

Oh, it's opening time, down on Butler Street,
So let's cut the conversation
And start eating cured meats...

Whoops.  That's The Cure (*or a modified version of "Fascination Street", thereof).  Last Friday, DB~ and I went to Cure on Butler Street in Lawrenceville.

This is a place I've wanted to go for a while, but with my quasi-vegetarian wife, I've held off on suggesting going to a place that specializes in all things meaty.  But it was actually a surprise to me when we pulled up in front of Pusadee's Garden and she said "OK...I actually made us reservations at Cure across the street."

When we walked in at 6 pm, the dining room was sparsely occupied, but by 6:30 pm the whole place was packed.  DB~, being the awesome wife she is, made our reservations for kitchen-side so that we (I) could watch the chefs at work.  The interior decor of the restaurant is distressed wood and the place also has a pressed tin ceiling -- I'm not sure if it was pre-existing or installed -- which gives it a cool brand-new-you're-retro feel.

I was struck by how young the kitchen staff at Cure was.  The sous chef on this night was a tall spindly drink of water that appeared to be no more than 19, even though I'm sure he was older than that.  All of the other four chefs, in a very compact space, appeared to be no more than 26 years old.  It's truly a young man's game.

Back in mid-April, I was hot on the trail of trying to find wild ramps in the woods.  I dragged my sister, her foodie husband, and DB~ around North Park trying to find these elusive, pungent cousins of the leek to no avail.  Well, Cure was featuring ramps all over their menu in a variety of presentations.  We started off with the charcoal grilled ramps:

Grilling took the edge off the pungent flavor, but still made them a tasty treat.  The bulbs were juicy and packed with flavor.  A custard dipping sauce was provided and they were drizzled with 30 year balsamic.  The object in the center was a perfectly prepared soft boiled egg.  I'm not an egg guy, so I left that for DB~ to enjoy.

For dinner, there were a wide variety of non-meaty choices for DB~.  There were probably two or three fish dishes and a pasta dish, so she went with the stuffed ravioli.  There was an off the grid type of Italian cheese stuffed inside, with some greens manicured nicely on top, but the highlight were the little pools of squid ink for dipping purposes.  She absolutely loved this dish and after sampling the one bite I was able to wrestle away from her iron-clad grip, I would agree.

My dinner was meat-a-riffic as I went with the Hangar Steak.  It was done perfectly medium with some smoked fingerling potatoes and grilled onion "rings" spread on the plate.  But the highlight of the dish were the three dipping sauces.  The first was an Espelet (sp) red pepper sauce, made with a smoked French hot pepper.  The middle sauce was an excellent salsa verde, and the final sauce was a yogurt based sauce.  Only the yogurt based sauce was a little flat, but the other two more than made up for it.

But for Salt of the Earth goes Cure, in terms of the best restaurant in the City.  If you've heard about how good it is, it is true.  If you're reading this review about it for the first time, do yourself a favor and check it out.

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