Friday, April 16, 2010

#4: Bald Chefs

Cheryl and Alex and I went to Chocolate by the Bald Man! The bald man is chef Max Brenner, and the restaurant is Tom's favorite. He recommends it to everyone who asks him where to eat in New York, and before this adventure, Alex and Tom and Tom's parents and brother and Alex's parents and also Jamie had all been there (and returned with glowing reviews), but I had not. So we went!

It was as good as I had been told. There is an enormous (probably 12 8"x8" pages) chocolate dessert and drink menu that comes with the regular menu. Eager to try everything, we ordered chocolate drinks, a shared appetizer, entrees, and dessert. All of the above together, pricewise, come to what is for us a very expensive but marginally affordable meal (maybe a one or twice a year kind of thing, although we could come get just dessert more often); for your standard middle class citizen, it is probably an average-to-slightly-pricey lunch or dinner out. Maybe $30/person, including tax and tip.

Anyway, as an appetizer, we ordered the waffle fries (which looked like mini waffles!) dusted with cocoa and chili powder, with chocolate ranch dressing and some other creamy delicious sauce I don't remember on the side. They were good - especially the sauces, although I am not really a ranch person - but they were nothing like what was to come!

Alex got some kind of delicious chocolate butterscotchy milkshake; I forget what Cheryl got, and I had dark European hot chocolate! It comes in a "hug cup," which you are to hold with both hands sort of wrapped around it so it is like it is hugging you, sort of metaphorically.

I love my hot chocolate in a hug cup!

For our main courses, Alex ordered fish tacos that he loved (I didn't try any, because I was filling up so fast, but maybe I'll order them next time!), Cheryl had some pasta that I didn't think looked that delicious from its description on the menu but a bite of which sent me head over heels, and I had steak quesadilla with sweetish green and spicy salmon-colored sauces, for one of the best lunches of my life.

Cheryl's delicious and beautiful pasta!

My delicious and beautiful quesadilla! On an exciting wooden plate!
The little bottle had the spicy pink sauce;
the green sauce, as you can see,
came already patterned on the food.

And then dessert! Chocolate-banana-caramel egg rolls with caramel and chocolate dipping sauce; chocolate-peanut-butter-banana crepe; dark chocolate cake with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.

The desserts were good; they were certainly worth eating, anyway. But despite the name of the restaurant, I actually preferred the entrees! The desserts were better than any other desserts I've ever had at a restaurant, as far as I recall, but that's not crazy high praise - most restaurant dessert I don't even bother to order, because when I do order it, I rarely eat more than a few bites, because it is just not worth it. I can make tremendously better desserts at home! These desserts were for sure worth eating - and also beautiful - but I don't really care for banana in my chocolate and peanut butter and caramel, and the chocolate cake the waitress said was too rich and chocolaty for her did not blow my mind.

That said, they were beautiful, and also I ate them! And everybody else's mind was blown. I think my dessert standards are peculiarly high. It comes of being spoiled growing up.

I thought I took a picture of Chocolate by the Bald Man's cake,
but I couldn't find it.
So here, instead, for your viewing pleasure,
is a picture of the chocolate walnut cake I baked yesterday.
There is Tasmanian leatherwood honey in the glaze
and it is delicious.


  1. Well, Sho, by me $30.00 is a pricey dinner. My fancy lunches run more to $10 to 15. When I take Ruthy out for her birthday it is a little more than the 30 but not much more. I am middle class. I must say that that chocolate place looks marvelous and I would love to go there although I do not eat chocolate.

  2. yeah, $30 is a little pricey but not if you include alcoholic beverages. your grandmother is upper middle class, actually.
    are you planning where to go when your family members visit?

  3. so far the only place i've planned is chocolate by the bald man, where you should go, but we don't have to get dessert, which will take off ten bucks a person.
    but my roommates and i will brainstorm good restaurants!
    what else do you want to do when you are here?

  4. I absolutely agree with you about restaurant desserts. It's rare that they are anywhere near as good as what you or I or other family members can make. Somehow that doesn't stop me from eating them.

  5. I am not upper middle class. I live on civil service pensions. I just do not spend money on fur coats or fancy cars or jewelry or hair dressers or big houses.

  6. One person with a paid-off house and two full civil service pensions.

    Where to go? Hmm, I have been thinking about that because of my heel. It is getting better again. So, if it is fine, then we can walk around your neighborhood and other interesting places. Otherwise, we can spend an hour at a museum and 3 hours in a park or cafe.
    Moses' house. A show. Or two.

    Millie? Doris?

  7. the statistical middle class — the middle 20 percent of households, as ranked by income — underlines this point. Households in this group made $35,400 to $52,100 in 2006, the last year for which the Congressional Budget Office has released data. That would describe a household with one full-time worker earning about $17 to $25 an hour. Such hourly pay is typical for firefighters, preschool teachers, computer support specialists, farmers, members of the clergy, mail carriers, secretaries and truck drivers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. -NYTimes 4/13/10 "Economic Scene"