Prune, NYC

March 17, 2015

After a twenty year catering career, chef Gabrielle Hamilton opened Prune fifteen years ago. It has earned a cult reputation among foodies. Joe, Linda and I met there on February 16, 2015, a really frigid evening.

The discreet, welcoming entrance is on 1st Street, across Houston Street and a little west of the famous Katz’s Delicatessen.
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The active bar and serving counter runs along one side of the cozy thirty-seat dining room with an opening to the kitchen in back. Pink is the color of Prune. (These photos were from my seat.)
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We were served crisp papadums with just the right amount of Indian spices.
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We ordered a Rioja white wine from the small, but eclectic and interesting, wine list. It was good for apéritif and with our first courses.
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We also ordered from the Bar Snacks menu:
Deep Fried Sesame Shrimp Toasts
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Excellent, with well balanced spicing.

Our starters were all off-the-menu specials of the evening.
Joe’s starter was three fresh oysters.
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Fresh, tangy and good. 

Linda had shaved foie gras with braised fennel.
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The foie gras on crisp, buttered toast was luscious and the sliced fennel a good accompaniment. 

I had three fried oysters with tartar sauce.
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The deep frying of the enormous oysters made their flavor more luscious.

We started on a bottle of red wine, also from the Rioja and very good.
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Joe’s main course was
Blistered Squid with fresh pork sausage and smoked white beans.
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The combination of pork and seafood is usually  a winner. Joe really enjoyed this. 

Linda and I had
Black Rice with duck meat, scarlet turnips and watercress.
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The three thick slices of rosy duck breast contrasted nicely with the confit duck leg. The braised watercress and turnips added a vegetable touch, but this was still a good, rich mid-winter dish.

For a side dish we shared
Roasted Beets and Carrots with sesame seed-pecan salsa macha.
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The root vegetables had been heavily roasted and naturally caramelized. The sauce was just right, earthy like the vegetables, not as fiery as its Mexican namesake. 

Joe’s dessert was
Plain White Tiramisu.
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Dessert for Linda and me was
Caramel Apple with crème fraiche.
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The peeled apples had been slow roasted for a long time so that their sugar naturally caramelized. Nice.

The mignardises were pieces of rich dark chocolate.
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We enjoyed a very good meal. I often complain in this blog about overly elaborate cuisine. That was not the case here. The chef confines each of her creations to the essentials. Her combinations are well conceived and executed.

The small room did not seem cramped to me and we were comfortable at our plain table. The servers were friendly and efficient; the pace was just right. The noise level was manageable. Brava Gabrielle. 


One Response to “Prune, NYC”

  1. Blair Ridder Says:

    Looks like a delicious meal. Rioja alta 904 is a very good wine and for the price is fabulous. I ordered a case of the 2004 last year and hopefully we can enjoy some after a few years in the cellar.

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