34 Downing Street off Bedford
$86 for two with four beers and a glass of wine, with tip
â™¥ â™¥ â™¥
So there’s Blue Ribbon Sushi and Blue Ribbon Brasserie on Sullivan; the Blue Ribbon Bakery on Bedford and Blue Ribbon Market around the corner. Of course, there’s the other brasserie in Brooklyn. I wasn’t surprised when I heard the Bromberg brothers have opened Blue Ribbon Bar on Downing Street because they have been in the business even before the Lambs started taking over the East Village and way before David Chang started attracting other chefs at his restaurant during its after-hours. What I like about any of the Blue Ribbons is that they go past the food trends. People who still wait in line are most likely customers who have been following the empire for the last ten years. I know that when I go, I will get more than just a decent, civilized meal; that I’ll get a tried dish that only a select few will appreciate.
It’s their dependable reputation that made me order the pickled tongue, the wild mushrooms with sweetbreads and the steak tartare with capers. I like that a restaurant, even a tight bar space, will be adventurous enough to offer those items. I like it even better when they can do them right. The pickled tongue, which reminded me of wd-50, was so tender that it made me happy to be eating it even as it discombobulated after a bite. The steak tartare was classically Blue Ribbon and put in mind one of my favorites from their roster, roasted bone marrow with oxtail marmalade. The mushrooms were so fragrant that my companion didn’t mind the sweetbreads even after I told him what they really were. They have a great wine list and less expensive flights for their sparkling wines, Pinots and Reislings. It’s also the same reputation that makes their employees less obnoxious–I was going to use an eight-letter word starting with an “a”–than other waitstaff in the city. Our bartender was very accommodating even after more people squeezed in and he never forgot us sitting in the corner, refilling our water glasses and serving us a complementary flight of wine after already several drinks.