In my newest series, "The Best Menu Items At...," I cut the fluff and get straight down to business: Which food/drink items are so stand-out that I'd order them time and time again?
Restaurant: Freds Downtown (at Barney's NY)
Why do I love Freds? Let me count the ways. Aside from the fact that it resides within my - and every other fashionable New Yorker's - favorite department store, it still feels somewhat hidden and undiscovered. Everyone knows the restaurant's older, genteel Madison Avenue sister, but Freds' newest location positively oozes downtown chic: Clean lines and sophisticated modernity evoke a mysterious serenity amongst bustling 7th Avenue.
Beyond that, I find the clientele, especially during weekday lunch service, to be outrageously intriguing. While I couldn't tell you their names, I will say that I'd put money down that many of them are "someone" in the fashion industry (...or some other super cool, hip line of work that has nothing to do with Wall Street). It truly feels like the ultimate NYC "cool kids" power lunch. So then where does someone like me fit in to all of this, you ask? Good question. I'm a die-hard sucker for Freds brunch, which offers a generous variety of both sweet and savory.
The best menu items:
Chelsea Breakfast Sandwich:
Unfortunately, this gem is only available on weekends at brunch service. However, just the thought of sinking my teeth in to its multiple savory layers certainly gives me something to look forward to during the doldrums of 'Monday through Friday.' I'm serious, I think about this sandwich way more often than the dude I have a crush on...
Picture it (Sorry, I actually don't have a picture of the sandwich, so you're going to have to use your imagination and just trust me.): Perfectly scrambled eggs, sauteed onions and peppers, Hudson Valley Harvest hot and sweet sausage, and cheese fondue (!!!!) are sandwiched on a sesame seed bun and accompanied by sriracha mayo and a generous portion of crispy home fries.
Freds Chopped Chicken Salad:
For those days when you want to feel a bit better about yourself and eat something healthy, you cannot beat this mean bowl of greens - unless, of course, the $30 price tag stops you dead in your tracks. Bibb lettuce, avocado, onions, tomatoes, string beans and pears come tossed with a Dijon mustard and balsamic dressing. The salad is crowned with roasted, hand-pulled all-natural chicken.
There are thousands of fabulous pizzerias and by-the-slice joints all over the five boroughs, but not many who serve you your pie atop a crisp white tablecloth. And make no mistake, folks, Freds makes a damn good pizza. Whether you opt for the simple Margherita, or the Emilia Romagna (white pizza with mozzarella, Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses drizzled with a 12-year-old Aceto Balsamico), you will not be disappointed. Time and time again, I am consistently pleased by the perfect ratio of chewy crust to sauce and cheese.
Until we eat again,
The Lunch Belle