Monday, September 15, 2008

A young man's fancy leads to 44 & X

The photo quality is putrid, I know. This is what happens when you eat in a chichi restaurant that has dim lights.

It's a long way from the subway when you're headed to 44 & X, a Hell's Kitchen restaurant a little off the beaten path. Especially when you're wearing a flouncy white dress and a pair of strappy sandals. What was the occasion? RT had cooked up the idea of "Fancy Night," an evening of good food, good drinks, and four good friends. All of it, of course, to be undertaken in our fanciest gear.

Wearing high heels in the battle through Times Square nearly did one of us in (not me) but we all made it to the restaurant looking appropriately snazzy. There, we settled in to its sleek decor, its menu of American classics with a spin, and its appropriately good-looking staff. I was torn about what to order, but after hemming and hawing between the turkey and wild mushroom meatloaf—wrapped in bacon!—and the buttermilk fried chicken—um, wrapped in crispy battered skin!—I decided on the latter. (Really, it was the waffle listed as an accompaniment that finally swayed me; I'm always looking for those perfect chicken and waffles.)

The piece I received was huge. Along with the aforementioned waffle, it was served with a pile of braised collard greens. Two quibbles: while the waffle was listed as chive, I didn't detect a single bit of veg either in taste or appearance; the black pepper and maple syrup reduction drizzled on top didn't do anything for me (aside from making the waffle soggy). But otherwise, the chicken was juicy and the breading crisp and greaseless. Everyone else seemed pretty happy with their choices, too.

After polishing off as much as we could we shared an order of the Kona coffee crème brûlée and a fruit crumble with ice cream on top. The first was adequate, and the second was overpoweringly sweet; a simple glass of wine might have been the better ending. But luckily for all of us there was plenty of that ahead, too, for this fancy night was still young.

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