Thursday, March 20, 2008


FOOD New York

courtesy of Eater.Com

50 Commerce Street
New York, NY 10014

by Val Bitici

Situated on the corner between Bedford and Barrow Streets in New York City’s West Village, Commerce occupies an historical restaurant space that began many years ago as a speakeasy during Prohibition. As the February 2008 opening was much anticipated, I could not wait to try the new eatery for myself. So on a cold and rainy Friday evening my sister and I headed there to meet a friend for an early dinner and a bottle of Prosecco.

Despite the fact that we were half an hour late for our reservation (not only was it pouring outside, our cab driver had also never heard of Commerce Street), the hostess graciously received us and led us to a booth. As we studied the menu and snacked on a basket of warm rolls and soft, mini pretzels, it became clear to us that this dining experience would not be a mundane one. Listing items such as Warm Oysters in Champagne with Caviar, Duck and Foie Gras Terrine with black cherry shallot jam, Marinated Fluke Sashimi, and Roasted Sweet Potato Tortelloni with hazelnuts, pomegranate and beurre noisette, the menu presented a plethora of decadent options from which to choose. Indecisive as to which dishes we wanted to try most, we resolved to order many and share them all.

We ordered about seven dishes in total: three market special starters, three appetizers, and one entrée from the main menu. By the end of our feast I found myself most impressed by the simplest plates on our table. The Mushroom and Fontina Ravioli ($16) served in a parmesan emulsion was unlike most stuffed pastas I have eaten and, quite pleasantly, not nearly as cheesy. The Young Cod in a stew of sweet peas, speck ham and black truffles ($27) was the sole entrée we had ordered and my favorite addition to our multifarious spread. The light taste of the fish when paired with the saltiness of the ham, the sweetness of the peas and the blast of flavor from the truffles was a flawless combination.

While our savory dishes were very delectable indeed, my gold medal is awarded to the Chocolate Peanut Butter Marquise ($9) that we ordered for dessert. A luscious, layered tower of whipped chocolate and peanut butter mousse, this dish was served with celery sorbet and salted peanuts. The effect of the sweet, salty, cold and soft on my palate can only be described as euphoria. If you want to know what the high-class version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup tastes like, then I suggest you go to Commerce and order this dessert.

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