Thursday, June 28, 2007


One of GrasGuy's earliest introductions to fine cuisine was not a flavor or aroma, but a word.

As seen on TV.

As in, "It slices, dices, and EVEN Juliennes!"

As if slicing tubers into long thin strips is something exotic, a skill one should aspire to when purchasing cutlery from an 800 number. At least they gave you two for the price of one.

One thing those Japanese knives couldn't do was Salsify, and I guess that's because Salsify isn't a verb, but who knew. When I went with a few friends to Brasserie Julien on NYC's Upper East Side to sample their Stuffed Rabbit Loin Medallion Au Foie Gras With Salsify and Braised Endive, the conversation was more about what was "Salsified" rather than the usual dinner blither blather regarding work and derisive comments about people who aren't there.

For those who are interested, Salsify is a white root vegetable that some say reminds them of oyster when steamed or boiled. If a white asparagus had relations with a heart of palm you're probably closer to what it actually tastes like. In any event, it's long and cylindrical and would be the perfect subject for Julienne-ing. Sadly, in this case, it was not. But it was a fitting accompaniment to the dish who's name was also misleading.

Expecting small pieces of rabbit tenderloin that were actually stuffed with Foie Gras, I was surprised to see what looked like an overturned can of tuna with a piece of sauteed Foie Gras on top. I'm still not sure what part of this was stuffed - unless they meant the chips of rabbit were stuffed into a mold. In any case, rabbit and Foie Gras typically work very well together and even this odd mish mash was pretty tasty, despite the run of the mill quality of the Foie Gras.

Brasserie Julien is a casual, sometimes boisterous restaurant that looks like the movie Moulin Rouge run through an Art Deco converter, Palm Trees and live Jazz included. There's a great bar and cafe style seating on the sidewalk. A nice wine list and menu filled with Brasserie staples like Moules, Fondue and Steak Tartare make it a dependable though slightly pricey option in a neighborhood flush with Parisiennesque eateries.

Shame they can't spell Julienne.

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