Sometimes you come across a restaurant that redefines your priorities when it comes to food. It ups your internal barometer of what qualifies as exceptional food, and forever changes your expectations for the remainder of your dining life. Daring words, I know. But Commerce Restaurant delivers. And delivers it well.
You know the feeling when someone else sees a movie, and says it’s great? And then you have all these unrealistic expectations for the movie, and you wish you had just been naïve from the start? Well, the same thing goes for food. However, I have a theory. That only happens when something is mediocre. Things dubbed as “good” fall one notch on the ladder, and end up being just “fine.” Things that are just “fine” to begin with, end up being “terrible.” This is not one of those scenarios.
I just had my wisdom teeth pulled so I wasn’t feeling on my game and skipped dinner on Saturday night opting instead for some applesauce and Blue Box. My husband went to Commerce, came home raving about it, and three nights later we went back together. Now, what I am about to say might shock you. But… After dining at Commerce, you will constantly compare each and every dining experience to this one for the somewhat foreseeable future. I left Commerce feeling the way I felt after dining at L’Artusi for the first time. Spoiled.
At Commerce I was exposed to exciting dishes, flavors I never knew existed, and while I ate I dreamed about the next time I would return.
The Sliced Beef Tataki was delicious; The Roasted Sweet Potato Tortelloni was an explosion of happiness in my mouth (even the second time around for my husband); and the Winter Vegetable Fricassee with Truffle and Poached Egg was probably one of the top three things I have ever eaten. If there is one thing that you must order when you go there, it is the vegetable fricassee. It was like nothing I have ever known. The thought of it keeps replaying in my head like the Cee Lo song.
For dinner we shared the braised short ribs (I have no self control when it comes to short ribs), which had an amazing smokey flavor and very tasty glaze. We also shared the Pecan Crusted Duck. Now, I am not typically a duck orderer, so when the waitress suggested it as being the “best” thing on the menu, I rolled my eyes because I usually feel like the “best” thing winds up being the dish the chef told the wait staff to push on customers because there is extra in the back. But, I took a leap of faith, and boy did it pay off. It tasted like peking duck meets roasted nuts on the boardwalk… in the best way possible. We also got the side of Potato Rosti and then the Dark Chocolate Soufle for dessert.
Friends of ours loved the Duck and Foie Gras Rillettes, the Ragu of Lamb Pasta, the Halibut with Artichoke, and the sautéed Broccoli with burnt garlic. Truth be told, I don’t think it is possible to go wrong with anything you order on the menu. Commerce takes incredible pride in each dish, and it shows.
Everyone from the host desk to the wait staff was refreshingly friendly, and, call-me-old-fashioned but when chef and owner Harold Moore came around to each table my heart swelled. Diners were shaking his hand and congratulating him on an amazing meal like he just accepted the presidential nomination. And this was a random Tuesday night!
Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go to Commerce Restaurant located at:
50 Commerce St # 1
New York, NY