183 W 10th St (between W 4th St and 7th Ave, West Village)
Fatty Kat Eats: Chopped Beef and Uni Sushi, Scottish Salmon Sushi, Pork and Unagi Hand Roll, Cod Fritters, Breakfast Pancakes, Little Gems
There are few things in life that make me happier than quality sushi--namely: my mom, my comforter, Daily Puppy and free stuff. Chez Sardine gets close to the top of that list despite off-putting hour long waits. If anything, New York has taught me that time is simply a gatekeeper for amazing food, and only those that persevere shall bask in culinary heaven. If you know that Chez Sardine is owned by the same people as Joseph Leonard, Fedora and Perla, the wait is less shocking. How do they do it?!
Every meal at Chez Sardine begins with Pickled Daikon in a cold, savory broth. This amuse bouche is definitely meant to cleanse the palette and wet your appetite at the same time. Thumbs up on both fronts.
And then there are the complimentary Cod Fritters because you were quoted 30 minutes and waited 1 hour. I'm so down for that kind of restitution, especially when it comes in the form of crunchy fish balls billowing steam and all kinds of amazing aromas.
You know what's up if you ordered the Caviar and Butter Toast . Thankfully, I was with @willnyc1, and he knows what's up. This buttery appetizer is self-explanatory. AMEN. We also had the Pork and Unagi Hand Rolls (not pictured), which were out of this world. So fatty! After devouring those rolls, I just wanted to give people hugs. #foodhigh
While I walked into Chez Sardine expecting the small and large plates to dominate the meal, I quickly learned that the sushi bar steals the show. (L-R): Scottish Salmon with pretzel and lime cream, Scallop with jalapeño and lemon, Snapper with horseradish and black pepper, Hamachi with chicharron and ginger, Chopped Beef and Sea Urchin (uni) and Smoked Arctic Char with spicy rice. I loved the creativity in every piece of sushi, as well as the appropriate temperature (room, duh) of the lightly packed rice. The Chopped Beef and Sea Urchin sushi was definitely a standout. I also loved the light smoky flavor and crunchy rice in the Smoked Arctic Char sushi.
On my second trip to Chez Sardine, we basically ordered the same sushi plus the Pork Belly (bottom-right). Phenomenal. I have no words to describe the warm fattiness and sweet umami flavor. Trust me, it was bomb diggity.
Most of you probably wouldn't order the Cauliflower Panna Cotta with mushrooms in a dashi broth, but I have a secret love affair with albino broccoli! I love it raw. I love it cooked. I love it fried, sautéed or roasted. This panna cotta is no different. If you took cream of cauliflower soup and turned it into panna cotta, this would be it! The mushrooms, scallions, and crouton-like crunchy things also added various textures to the dish.
Breakfast pancakes + salmon roe + fish tartare + yogurt = somehow really, really good?! I was skeptical of how my 2 loves, pancakes and seafood, would come together. But yea, the Breakfast Pancakes are impressive.
The Miso-Maple Salmon Head was smack dab in the middle of the menu (see below), so how could I not order it?! Salmon heads are not for everybody, but if you're already ordering it, you're probably the kind of person that has the patience to sift through various head parts to find the good stuff. While I loved the idea, the fish head was simply too salty to enjoy.
The bartender explained that due to the kitchen's tiny size, the restaurant doesn't have space for a pastry chef. What do they have space for? A soft serve machine! This complimentary Honey Soft Serve with honey nut cheerios is really good. I wish the rest of New York would catch up and imitate it, so I could enjoy honey soft serve on a daily basis.
All in all, great meal minus the silly salmon head. The service was phenomenal, not to mention the cute hipster chefs.