Having had a wonderful day with Dan and Karla on Saturday, we finished the weekend with another day full of gastronomic adventures, highlighted but a late lunch that took advantage of New Yorks restaurant week. The first of our restaurant week experiences for 2009, we took Dan and Karla to lunch at Butter, a trendy restaurant "space" on the lower East side, on Lafayette between 4th and Astor. We wanted to go somewhere that provided a true New York experience, and Butter did not disappoint. We showed up just before our 2:30 reservation, checked our coats and were ushered downstairs, getting just a glance at the fake outdoor scene plastered on the huge glass window in the back of the main room in the restaurant. The upstairs area feels large and light, with a huge vaulted ceiling a soft, green light filtering through the bamboo and trees painted on the aforementioned glass window.
The downstairs area was distinctly different, dark and candle-lit with low ceilings, a small group of tables surrounded by booths and moderately loud 80's music projecting from both ends of the room. We sit at a booth close to the bar and choose between the 3 or 4 different items in each section of the prix fixe restaurant week menu. After a few minutes of discussion, we decided to order at least one of everything on the menu, with the exception of the lemony desert, which lost out to my goat cheese and argula salad. On the whole, the food was excellent, and except for the 25 minute gap between appetizers and the main course, the whole meal was wonderful. I would have to say that the exceptional seafood bisque, the salmon and the ultra-rich, smooth carrot cake, which is the restaurants signature dish, were the best. The salmon, which both Dan and I had, was especially good, cooked medium rare with purple majesty popatoes and fennel and sprinkled with a lime vinagrette. Karla's deliciously smooth pork shoulder with ratatoullie, lentils and rosemary was also wonderful. We had a really wonderful meal and I would say that if I had to go out to eat a fancy meal, I think butter would be a great choice.
Sated (but not stuffed) and happy, we wandered out of Butter and down the street to Astor wines, where I examined the scotch selection but somehow refrained from buying anything. After having satisfied my gastronomic craving, we followed Aviva's stomach to Murrays Cheese shop on bleecker street so she could hunt down some Sottocenere, which she had eaten at a beer and cheese tasting in Philly and has been lusting after ever since. Luckily they had her cheese, and we got a pound of it to take with us before heading back into the cold. The sun had gone down and it had started to snow again by the time we got back to the car, so we were happy to leave Dan and Karla at their hotel and head home, stopping at Fairway for a quick shopping trip on the way.