January 2, 2014

The One Restaurant You Should Spend Your Christmas Bonus at in 2014

The start of a new year brings resolutions, new adventures and a focus on the future. But hey - no harm in relishing a little in the past if it meant a year-end bonus from work or a Christmas gift check sealed with a kiss from Grandma. Ahhh, the possibilities!

Here's one idea. Treat yourself to a delicious dinner at Serpico.

Serpico's duck buns quickly became the talk-of-the-town
For starters, we've probably talked about Serpico's deep fried duck leg buns at least once a week since eating there in November. They even give the pork buns at Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC a run for their money (not surprising since chef Peter Serpico trained under David Chang.) Follow them up with the raw diver scallops and you are off to the taste bud races.

The duck buns ($13) are served with hoisin sauce, scallion and pickles on toasted Martin’s potato rolls. Melt-in-your-mouth raw diver scallops ($14) float beautifully in a low bowl of buttermilk, poppyseeds, green yuzu kosho, white soy and chive. We were not shy about slurping up the excess sauce with a spoon.

Thin, raw diver scallops dancing in a buttermilk cloud

For mains, we went for Cope's corn ravioli ($15) and the Elysian Farms lamb ribs for 2 ($60). The ravioli is a unique turn for Serpico to spanish flavors, with chorizo, white cheese, pickled and roasted onions, sour cream and lime complementing the light corn flavor inside and out. The result was a perfect cross-cultural blend of Spanish and Italian flavors. Like an enchilada inside a ravioli. Hola bellisimo!

Short of the dry-aged Creekstone rib eye, the lamb ribs are the biggest dish on the menu. For a restaurant that serves everything to share and otherwise in small-to-mid sized portions, this dish was hearty - but remember it's meant for 2 people.

Thick, delicious cuts of lamb meat fell right off their skinny bones, making it easy to mix with accompanying Japanese eggplant, scallion, mint, yogurt and black olive oil. These ribs topped off a meal that started off great and only got better with each bite.

Corn ravioli
Hearty bowl of lamb ribs

Why are we suggesting you spend your bonus at Serpico? Because it ain't cheap. Portion sizes get larger as you go down the menu but to fill up two hungry people, I'd suggest 4-5 items, unless you get the lamb ribs, which counts for 2 entrees. The food you see in this post, plus 1 dessert and 2 glasses of wine each ran us $180 before tip. For some that's a normal Saturday night out, but for many it's a splurge. We had a sizable gift card from last Christmas that eased the blow. Either way, if you're looking for a special occasion or way to spend that year-end cash, this is one route to consider.

Despite all the hype and initial rave reviews, I wasn't immediately drawn to Serpico when it opened in June 2013. Maybe the menu descriptions and price combo didn't jump out at me. But thank goodness we did go. If you're looking at it online and thinking the same thing, don't worry. It was awesome. 

Bar seats overlook an open kitchen. Watch meals being prepared and Chef Serpico (pointing) add the final touch.

Not a huge dining room inside Serpico - couple booths to the right, a few more tables to the left and a small bar. 

Serpico on Urbanspoon

No comments: