At this new White Plains eatery, the only thing that’s understated is the name
I don’t know if there’s been an outage in the color spectrum or if it’s some auspicious code word to restaurateurs, but another Blue has materialized, the third to my knowledge, in our area. This one sits on a quiet street in White Plains, a spare, cavernous space punctuated by cobalt-shaded lights flanking the open
kitchen and dark, elliptical banquettes, homage to the minimalist, monochrome Manhattan style. There’s a large bar, sidewalk tables and expansive banks of windows. All bodes well, enough so that I can overlook the promotional materials’ mention of “mesculline greens,” “chocolate fodu” dessert and—imagine—pommes frites “made in house by the Chef himself!”
Okay, it’s a restaurant, not the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, so let’s eat. But first, a
My elder son and I made straight for Japan with sesame-crusted tuna carpaccio, its fiery swabs of wasabi cream and chili oil cooled by a pickled-cabbage slaw. A sibling entrÃ©e had the same ahi, seared this time, in a honey-ponzu sauce, a sautÃ©ed baby bok choy draped across its perfect corn- and chive-flecked potato croquette. A mealy tomato salad was less exotic and inordinately less inspired. Quick, pass the roasted red-and-gold-beet, goat cheese and baby-spinach salad, a Matissean orgy of color, compromised only by a banal beet coulis. Nothing banal about the tableside-prepared Caesar salad, a garlicky, anchovy-riddled wonder, raw egg and all. ‑
My five-year-old has been on a mussel kick for years now and honed right in on the wild Galician bivalves (truly from Spain, our waiter vowed) steamed in a buttery vegetable fumet. My son instructed me to “write that the mussels are delicious,” which they were. A pan-seared wild salmon special was too, with its thatch of caramelized onions and piquant balsamic glaze.
Crab scuttled in two directions, one a lunch special of spicy crab cakes, its greens overdressed with a mango vinaigrette that seemed to lack mango. The other option was a crackling spring roll of delectable, smooth lump crab and spinach fired with Vietnamese chili sauce. Prawns refused to be outdone, hefty beauties grilled to slightly charred perfection and posed, backs arched, tails aloft, like an Esther Williams finale. There was even a pool, a goat cheese and horseradish oval sprouting a fountain of frizzled leeks, a very adult version of my childhood obsession, Lipton’s onion soup dip.
In the midst of all this seafood, carnivores do get a fair shake. My husband, primed by a Jacob’s Creek Silver Spring Shiraz, bypassed a kangaroo special for an excellent port-demiglace-laced filet mignon veiled with foie gras. The Thai salad’s grilled beef was just as tender, its garlicky, chili-sauce-heat soothed by the balm of baby greens.
Even my kids could barely make a dent in the whipped cream burying the molten chocolate cake, decadently rich, though more lava than molten. An even larger cream snowdrift encased the sparsely berried Napoleon. The crÃ¨me brÃ»lÃ©e lacked whipped cream but not an eggy, curdly custard, and the apple spring roll had crisp, flaky pastry, sweet apple cubes and, yes, an Everest of whipped cream.
99 Church St., White Plains
Lunch, Mon. to Fri. 11:30 am-3:30 pm
Dinner, Mon. to Thurs. 5-10 pm, Fri. and Sat. 5-11 pm, Sun. 4-9 pm