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Jewish mothers everywhere will have to forgive me, but forget the chicken soup! When winter’s chill finally hits and I’m suffering from a nasty case of the sniffles, send me Shane McBride’s “dirty rice” risotto, one of the many fine dishes he’s cooked up for 7Square, the revamped eatery in the Time Hotel. McBride’s rich, ultra-comforting dish combines Italian risotto with bits of duck confit, smoked ham, and andouille sausage, resulting in a cross-Continental creation that will have you ooh and aahing with every spoonful.Review By: Brian Scott Lipton
McBride not only knows his way around a kitchen – he knows his way around this kitchen, having helmed its previous occupant, Oceo. The dining room has been given a major makeover, primarily in browns and white, that matches the tone of the food – familiar and hip at the same time. His revamped menu stresses hearty fare, so it’s best not to come if you’re overly concerned with your waistline. Even a normally virtuous Caesar salad could alarm your doctor, since the pile of chopped romaine is accompanied by a sourdough crouton the size of a brick, a poached egg, and sliced bacon. Steak lovers can have their favorite dish two ways: a superb, mustardy tartare made from excellent cuts of beef, and an incredibly tender – and dauntingly large – grass-fed rib-eye topped by a trio of buttermilk-crusted onion rings.
Fortunately, not everything on the menu is designed to give you a heart attack. A delicious tuna tartare gets added zest from apples, meyer lemon, and pine nuts, while an entrée of gingersnap-crusted salmon accompanied by braised fennel was both healthful and delicious. We didn’t taste the pan-roasted halibut, but the two thin young women at the next table finished every bite. On the other hand, we can vouch for the goodness of spicy broccoli rabe, heady with chile, and the fine caramelized Brussels sprouts.
Try as we might to redeem ourselves, we couldn’t pass up a trio of piping hot cinnamon donuts, so fresh they barely needed to be moistened by the irresistible chocolate-and-cream dipping sauce. Actually, when I’m really cold or sick, you can send those over along with the risotto.
Neighborhood: West 40s
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