Sunday, April 4, 2010
Blue Ribbon, Brooklyn: Order Smart, Leave Happy
Restaurant Name: Blue Ribbon Brasserie
Restaurant Location: 280 5th Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn
My husband and I have lived in Park Slope for about two years now but have been leery of eating at Blue Ribbon. We've heard rave reviews and total pans. We've heard it's expensive but worth every penny and so outrageously overpriced and overrated as to be utterly avoided. Finally, (after deciding we'd spent enough money at Al di La for a little while), we went to investigate Blue Ribbon for ourselves.
Boy, am I glad we did. Here's what we learned: order smart and you will leave Blue Ribbon very happy.
The menu here is big, and rambling, and suffers a little bit from multiple personality disorder. Recently, though, I read a write-up on the owners in Saveur Magazine. Apparently, they trained at Le Cordon Blue and decided to open their own spot that brought excellence to all their favorite comfort foods. Hence the very eclectic menu...and the excellence that comes close to justifying the high prices.
One thing we noticed about the menu at Blue Ribbon is that *everything* is expensive. From the fried chicken all the way up to the lobster, you can plan on paying in the ballpark of $30 bucks for an entree. So, why not get the most luxurious foods? I mean, even if the fried chicken totally rocks the house (which I hear it does), you might feel cheated paying $26 bucks for it. But an awesome steamed lobster seems like a fairly good deal at $30 bucks. Ditto for a paella that is big enough to feed two and full of luscious seafood.
The other thing we learned was that if you arrive early, they have a Happy Hour special on fresh oysters - another way to incorporate more luxury for less money.
We started with the aforementioned oysters as well as a rich, creamy, glistening plate of roasted marrow bones that was To. Die. For. This was followed up by the classic, perfectly cooked lobster with drawn butter and a baked potato and the Basque Paella with shrimp, mussels, chicken, and various other yummy seafoods (which purports to serve one but is more than enough for two). Stuffed by this excess of riches, we finished with a single scoop of mango sorbet - the promise of summer in a little bowl.
With a carafe of wine and the tip, our bill came out to about $120, the same as if we'd eaten at Al di La, but with a greater emphasis on rich, special occasion foods. We walked (okay, teetered) out onto 5th Avenue full and happy.