The honest, rustic flavors of the British gastropub used to be foreign to most New Yorkers. But Gothamites can now get acquainted with them (and homesick Brits get their fix) thanks to venues like the Spotted Pig the trendy West Village eatery that numbers the likes of Bono and Jay-Z as investors and its new sibling, the Breslin. A four-month-old, grandly proportioned, dark-walled, high-decibel venue in the cheap and chic Ace Hotel near Manhattan's Garment District, the Breslin is named after the hostelry that formerly occupied the Ace's premises. Owners April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman keep things ultra-traditional with a meaty menu rich in sausages, game and fish.
As an in-house DJ spins retro classics, equally old-school dishes are served on wooden platters. It's small plates to start: Scotch eggs (a boiled egg encased in sausage meat and fried crisp); tender lamb "scrumpets" (breaded lamb strips paired with mint vinaigrette); or hearty slices of fried headcheese (which is not in fact a cheese but meat taken from the head and other parts of an animal, seasoned and set in jelly), served with an egg-laden sauce gribiche.
Mains are equally artery-clogging. The lamb burger is served with a sourdough bun and thrice-cooked fries. There's a platter of pork belly big enough to share, with a side of mashed potatoes. Beef shin is smoky and rich, with hearty polenta and black cabbage to keep it company. For folks in fear of all that fatty goodness, there is a simple seared sea bass a la plancha.
Save room, though, for the Breslin's desserts, which are as naughty as its mains. The sticky toffee pudding is the must-try, its intense sweetness balanced by a shot of strong Turkish coffee and pieces of pear. Also fun is the Brit pick known as Eton mess a creamy concoction of lemon ricotta, cream and meringue that perfectly expresses the Breslin's very English and very indulgent attitude to wining and dining. See thebreslin.com for more.
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