Friday, July 1, 2011

Balthazar Restaurant, New York, New York

As part of my wrap up of my exciting trip to New York City, I wanted to delve into breakfast Friday morning.  The amazing PR firm for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter treated us to a wonderful meal at the famed Balthazar Restaurant located in the SoHo district of the city.  Now-visiting the great restaurants of New York is insanely high on my to- do list- to the point where I have been making tentative plans for a "Food Trip" to New York in the upcoming months. Never before did I imagine that on my little contest trip I would have the opportunity to dine at one of Restaurant Magazine's "World's 50 Best Restaurants"!

Entering Balthazar, you immediately know that you are somewhere special.  The soft golden hue of the lighting bounces off the walls adorned with mirrors.  Waiters bustle through the space delivering pastries, and pouring hot fresh cups of coffee.  The scent, of warm baked bread and the hint of sweetness from the bakery section is enticing, and makes your stomach start to rumble.  Within minutes of entering Balthazar, you succumb to it's incredible charm.

As guests of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter we were shown to a large table that had already been adorned with baskets of bread.  We soon learned that we were taste test each type of bread (white, wheat, olive, chocolate, and cranberry walnut) and select our favorite which would be used in our Quick Fire challenge later.  As hard of a task as it may seem, we got right to work ;-).  Fresh and clean tasting, each bread showcased it's ingredients well.  The white and wheat were exactly what you would hope they would be- simple and hearty, with pure flavors and good texture.  The olive was spotted with lovely black olives throughout bringing their tang and saltiness to the slice.  The cranberry walnut wasn't shy about its additions with the sweet and sour cranberries and meaty walnuts generously throughout.  Finally, we had the chocolate.  Obviously, I am a bit of a chocolate fiend.  However, I am not a huge fan of chocolate bread- I often find it too sweet, or oddly sour with the hint of a sour dough mix.  It just doesn't do it for me.  Balthazar succeeded in a beautiful piece of indulgent bread.  The chocolate was rich, with dark chocolate flavors, subtle sweetness and just a hint of bitter.  This was a delicious slice of chocolate bread. 

Of course, bread wasn't the only option for our breakfast.  The morning menu at Balthazar is diverse full of savory and sweet dishes, indulgent and health conscious options.  It was a tough decision but I finally settled on Eggs Florentine, served with spinach and artichokes.  I had a bit of ordering remorse as I started to see the dishes of my companions arrive, however all of that faded when my skillet arrived full of beautiful poached eggs surrounded by lovely wilted spinach and nicely cooked artichokes.  The eggs were perfectly poached, with semi firm white exterior easily breaking into a beautifully runny yellow center.  The yolk poured fourth and mixed in indulgent fashion with the buttery sauce that encased the vegetables.  Mixed together the flavors were rich, but perfectly portioned so I was able to move on from breakfast energized and not full and heavy from the meal. 

Balthazar's was the perfect way to kick off my day- every moment of my time within its walls, from the moment of entry, to when my perfectly foamed latte was set before me, until my well finished plate was cleared from my place was a treat.  The staff, even dealing with us bloggers with our photos, and never ending questions, were patient, kind and knowledgeable.  I felt as though every need and request was met with a kind smile, and utter helpfulness.  I will definitely return to Balthazar- it was the perfect New York morning.

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