177 E Houston St (Between Allen St and Orchard St, LES)
Fatty Kat Eats: Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, Chorizo Hash
A few weeks ago, I walked by the adorable and quirky Preserve24 in my old neighborhood and immediately put it on my wish list. After learning that it took 2 years and $5 million to build the restaurant, I considered it a personal duty of mine to chip away at the restaurant's hefty price tag. The Lower East Side is so foreign to me now thanks to a never-ending wave of new restaurants, cafes (RIP 88 Orchard) and bars (RIP Max Fish). But Preserve24 got the vibe just right. It only took $5 million.
We started with the Baked Smoked Ricotta with olive oil, sea salt and honey. 1) I didn't taste anything smoky, 2) I probably tasted one drop of honey, and 3) the toast was boring. Take a hint from the brunch at Locanda Verde - Sheep’s Milk Ricotta with truffle honey and burnt orange toast. Boom! I just changed your life.
A dish comprising cheese and brussels sprouts in equal proportions can't really be considered a salad, not even in my expert fatty opinion. All of us enjoyed the Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with lemon, hazelnut, pecorino and pepper dressing. How could we not? At any given point, I didn't know if I was eating brussels sprouts or parmesan.
The Lobster Benedict had all the right flavors and ingredients, but sadly, the cheddar biscuit fell short. There was a cheesy (and soggy) brioche bun when it should've been a substantial southern biscuit. All the lobster-y goodness was just too much for one little bun to handle. The lobster and chive tomato hollandaise killed it though!
In the land of breakfast and brunch, I would consider myself a pancake and french toast connoisseur. While these Banana Pancakes with walnuts and chocolate chips came highly recommended, they were way too stiff. I've definitely made better pancakes myself, and I can do it much cheaper than $14. I have to admit, the freshly whipped cream did hit a soft spot.
We ordered the fire roasted cauliflower to balance out the usual post-brunch guilt and lethargy, but it wasn't enough to save us. People think it's weird how much I love cauliflower, and yes, it is a weird vegetable, but I just can't help myself. I love it raw, roasted, baked, pureed, you name it. These had a subtle smoky flavor. Me like.
The Chorizo Hash was a fan favorite. However, it definitely wasn't made for sharing. Everything gets mushed together, and then you're gathering cooties from all over the place (not that I care). This dish was heavy thanks to some bomb diggity cheese polenta. But that's the beauty of brunch. You eat yourself into a food coma and have the rest of the day to recover.
This is just a glimpse of the restaurant, which is HUGE--2 floors, 2 big bars (upstairs and downstairs), an oyster boat (literally, a boat), a ginormous oven and 2 entrances. Preserve24 doesn't feel like a big restaurant; it feels cozy and warm. I guess $5 million can achieve anything.
While we had a lovely brunch, I think Preserve24 is strictly a dinner spot. I assume the dinner menu is decent, but you're really going there for ambiance (for lack of another douchey word). The restaurant was built for dim lights, funky music and lots of drunken laughter. It's a beautiful restaurant whose character thrives at night.