Lamb Burgers, Terrines and Oxtail at The Breslin

The Breslin is a saloon. Except it’s not. It’s got lots of dark wood and feels old. But it also has terrific, modern food and a great wine list and nice cocktails and a fun atmosphere. I mean, you’re not going to see horse carriages and hoop skirts when you go. But you might feel like they are lurking. At least until you try the lamb burger. The juice drips down your wrists when you eat it. And then there’s the sharp feta. And the sting from the onion. Yeah, it’s good.

We had the happy occasion of going to The Breslin because we had the happy occasion of seeing our nephew Mark, who was in town on business.

The boys are very serious about the happy occasion.

The Breslin is chef April Bloomfield and owner Ken Friedman’s new-ish place in the new-ish Ace Hotel. The lobby is full of hipsters and wanna-be hipsters:

You can get to the restaurant through the lobby —

— or through the front door on the street:

If you come in through the front door, you will immediatly be in the bar:

It’s very dark.

If you enter through the lobby, you walk in under an enormous cowhead:

Here’s the dining room. You can see the lights from the open kitchen behind:

A little more dining room:

All right then, on to the food. We started with a couple of things from the Snacks portion of the menu. Sea salt and black pepper crisps came in a plastic bag with the sell-by date:

Crispy and peppery:

Then we shared the small terrine plate. It came with, from left, guinea hen with morels, rustic pork, rabbit & prune and head cheese. It was served with pickles, piccalilli (onion and cauliflower, really) and mustard. All were fabtabulous, but Greg liked the rabbit best.

We also tried the boiled peanuts fried in pig fat. Oh, really?

Boiled peanuts are a little like edamame, sort of mushy on the inside. But the shells on these were so salty and crispy you could eat them, too, if you wanted. (We had a few of them.)

For our mains, Mark got the lamb burger. (Lucky.)

It looks small and simple, but it’s huge and packs a wallop of flavor.

Greg went for the Oxtail and beef tongue in broth with pumpkin fritto:

Crazy good. Soft, unctous meat. Comforting puffy pumpkin with a nice crisp outer layer and a hint of sage. Delicious broth. A winner.

I went for two small plates. The mussel soup with curry butter crostini:

And the seafood sausage with beurre blanc and chives:

The mussel soup was creamy and heady, but one of the mussels was a little off and that flavored the entire bowl of soup. Too bad. The sausage, though, was delicately poached and then crisped and the sauce and herbs were a nice balace.

Maybe Greg’s dish was the winner? Hard to make a hard and fast rule.

Just wanted to point out that the halllways downstairs in the hotel look a lot like an old state-run facility of some kind. On purpose:

The artwork is rather kitschy, too:

Our booth, which has a cell-phone charging station:

Here’s a little write-up on our booth from T magazine’s blog: Now Designing: The Breslin Restaurant.

The hunna in the booth:

Mark in the booth:

And that’s about that for dinner.

It was a great one.

We walked home happy.

Here’s our a PDF of our menu for the night: Breslin Menu from Oct. 19, 2010.

The 411 on The Breslin: 16 W. 29th St., Manhattan. 212-679-1939.

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