Add a Restaurant

Add your restaurant via Cititour.com – a new window will open.

DBGB Kitchen and Bar

View Menu

DBGB Kitchen and Bar

Photo 1

Address: 299 Bowery (Houston St)
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10012
Phone: (212) 933-5300
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Map: Map
Cuisine: French
2nd Cuisine: Burgers
Area: Lower East Side
Entree Price: $15-20


Review:

Let’s get this out of the way right at the beginning: the burgers are not the thing at DBGB. Perhaps you’ve heard otherwise since there are three signature burgers at Daniel Boulud’s latest restaurant, a sprawling brewpub on the Bowery that’s encased in glass etched with the quotations of well-known chefs from Thomas Keller to Paul Bocusse. The thing is, quite frankly, there are better burgers in town. The one at The Spotted Pig, the one at Minetta Tavern and even the one at Brooklyn’s newest humble bistro, Watty & Meg, not to mention his very own lavish creation at DB Bistro. I am sorry to say that the ones Daniel is serving at DBGB are just not all that interesting. There’s the Yankee—a 6-ounce beef patty topped with ripe slices of tomato, and a ring of Vidalia onion, on a big sesame seed bun skewered with an Essex Street pickle and a side of fries ($14), and that burger would be fine if it were seasoned better and were juicier. But it’s just sort of your average patty, and nothing more. The Piggie takes that same ho-hum patty and dresses it up so it comes in at almost $20 (it’s $19). It’s topped with a saucy toupee of Daisy May’s bbq pulled pork with jalapeno mayo, and Boston lettuce on a cheddar cornbread bun with mustardy slaw and fries. The sandwich is tasty, but that’s because of the pork, not the burger. Ditto the Frenchie ($17), layered with Morbier, pork belly, arugula, tomato-onion compote on a peppered brioche bun with fries. It’s all about the toppings, not the burger.So, have a burger if you must, but for my money, I’d invest it in the lengthy and wonderful sausage section of the menu by chef charcutier Sebastien Loyzance. This is where you will find the most joyful eating.

There are 13 sausages from which to choose, divided into four categories: cheesy, smoky, spicy and sweet, ranging from $9-$15 each, with complementary sauces and condiments. I could dine quite happily at the airy industrial bar of DBGB every day of the week, with one of the two-dozen great beers on tap, and a matching sausage.

Of the choices, my favorites were in the “spicy” category including the Tunisienne—a savory lamb and mint sausage with harrisa curled up on a bed of spinach and chickpeas ($15), and the Espagnole—fat and spicy chorizo links plopped on a stew of piperade-style red and yellow peppers. The Boudin Basque is one for anyone who loves their blood sausage (not me, but my friend Steven loved it) served with scallion mashed potatoes ($14).

But there are also gems in other sausage categories. The DBGB dog, a homemade beef wiener which you’ll find under the “Smoky” section, is also excellent—snappy and smoky as its category promises, tucked into a hot dog bun topped with relish, sautéed onions, and a squirt each of mustard and ketchup, like it belonged to a kid who couldn’t decide. It’s basically your dream ballpark frank. Maybe Daniel could work something out with Danny Meyer so that the DBGB Dog could be sold at CitiField? That would be great. Guys, please work it out.

Now, to be sure, there are reasons other than the sausages to go to DBGB. The beer list, compiled by Colin Alveras (the former chef of the Tasting Room), is a mesmerizing trip around the world of artisan brewers. There’s also the scene. The tavern room, a large, boisterous ante room-as-holding pen for the dining area—has a nice energy and garners a handsome after-work crowd that grows and lingers late in the evening and includes a number of pretty young girls, their skin the color of toffee from every-weekend-in-the-Hamptons-sun. Many could have been cast as extras in Gossip Girl or that reality series NYC Prep. I felt very old. And pale.

Stroll past the hostess stand you’ll find a dark grey rectangular cafeteria the size of a football field that feels rather industrial in design, lined on two sides by an open kitchen and on two others by tall dark wood cupboards filled with kitchen ingredients used in the preparation of dinner (everything from black peppercorns to matzoh meal), and tall shelves lined with bottles of wine. On the top of the shelving units, Daniel has curated a museum-worthy collection of copper pots from chefs of the world—Alice Waters, Ferran Adria, Laurent Tourondel, Alain Ducasse, and dozens more. It’s fun to try and find your favorite chef and check out the kitchen tools they donated. Andrew Carmellini’s old-school pasta maker was a personal favorite.

The dining room draws a mix of the aforementioned Gossip Girl-types, along with wide-eyed tourists, groups of overly slick guys in Mad Men styled suits, and families with little kids. I guess the menu of sausages and burgers explains that one. Indeed, on both nights that I was in, I had to dodge kids in the aisles and on the night we were in to celebrate Susie’s 40th birthday, we were literally surrounded by tables of brace-faced tween-aged boys, faces that betrayed them to be on the edge of puberty. Ah, how I don’t miss those days. With their parents seated nearby, the boys were deep in discussion about various baseball players and seemed very content with their burgers and fries. When I asked how they liked everything they gave me two thumbs up.

For the most part, I’d agree with them. While Daniel has certainly put out more ambitious food at his other earlier restaurants, and other folks do make better burgers, there’s plenty to enjoy at DBGB, which in a way is like a version of a diner—with a meal for every night of the week. The prices are pretty gentle and the food is varied enough that you can indeed find a meal for any craving. It’s a formula that works quite well for these times.

For a light dinner, there are some generously sized appetizer salads—a circular iceberg wedge littered with bacon, herbs and toasted walnuts drenched in blue cheese ($9), a fluffy butter lettuce salad simply dressed in a garlicy mustard vinaigrette ($7), and a chopped salad stocked with watermelon, avocado, red peppers, and romaine tossed in an Asian ginger-sesame dressing ($8). Tuna crudo is also beautiful—cubes of ruby red fish on a plate dotted with harissa and sesame ($12).

For something a little more substantial, have the red curry mussels, plunged into a spicy tomato and coconut milk broth seasoned with Thai herbs ($10/18), or the duck—a plump seared breast served with a creamed spinach dotted with crunchy Marcona almonds and swollen, portly cherries ($20). The lamb was also quite good—a duo that included a roasted leg of lamb (tender and pink) and confited lamb ribs (a bit salty) with a summer ragout of yellow and green beans ($19). Or you could just order all the sausages.

But don’t forget to leave room for desserts, which are required eating. Surprisingly, something as ordinary as a sundae becomes so much fun and so delicious thanks to the quality of the ice cream and the toppings (cookies, brownies, freshly whipped cream and more) that everyone should have their own. No sharing allowed! And have the Baked Alaska too, if only for the torch-and-fire show. It reminded me of the first time I had Baked Alaska. It was at Maxwell’s Plum, with my dad, when I was probabon the night we were in to celebrate Susie’s 40th birthday, we were literally surrounded by tables of brace-faced tween-aged boys, faces that betrayed them to be on the edge of puberty. Ah, how I don’t miss those days. With their parents seated nearby, the boys were deep in discussion about various baseball players and seemed very content with their burgers and fries. When I asked how they liked everything they gave me two thumbs up.

For the most part, I’d agree with them. While Daniel has certainly put out more ambitious food at his other earlier restaurants, and other folks do make better burgers, there’s plenty to enjoy at DBGB, which in a way is like a version of a diner—with a meal for every night of the week. The prices are pretty gentle and the food is varied enough that you can indeed find a meal for any craving. It’s a formula that works quite well for these times.

For a light dinner, there are some generously sized appetizer salads—a circular iceberg wedge littered with bacon, herbs and toasted walnuts drenched in blue cheese ($9), a fluffy butter lettuce salad simply dressed in a garlicy mustard vinaigrette ($7), and a chopped salad stocked with watermelon, avocado, red peppers, and romaine tossed in an Asian ginger-sesame dressing ($8). Tuna crudo is also beautiful—cubes of ruby red fish on a plate dotted with harissa and sesame ($12).

For something a little more substantial, have the red curry mussels, plunged into a spicy tomato and coconut milk broth seasoned with Thai herbs ($10/18), or the duck—a plump seared breast served with a creamed spinach dotted with crunchy Marcona almonds and swollen, portly cherries ($20). The lamb was also quite good—a duo that included a roasted leg of lamb (tender and pink) and confited lamb ribs (a bit salty) with a summer ragout of yellow and green beans ($19). Or you could just order all the sausages.

But don’t forget to leave room for desserts, which are required eating. Surprisingly, something as ordinary as a sundae becomes so much fun and so delicious thanks to the quality of the ice cream and the toppings (cookies, brownies, freshly whipped cream and more) that everyone should have their own. No sharing allowed! And have the Baked Alaska too, if only for the torch-and-fire show. It reminded me of the first time I had Baked Alaska. It was at Maxwell’s Plum, with my dad, when I was probabon the night we were in to celebrate Susie’s 40th birthday, we were literally surrounded by tables of brace-faced tween-aged boys, faces that betrayed them to be on the edge of puberty. Ah, how I don’t miss those days. With their parents seated nearby, the boys were deep in discussion about various baseball players and seemed very content with their burgers and fries. When I asked how they liked everything they gave me two thumbs up.

For the most part, I’d agree with them. While Daniel has certainly put out more ambitious food at his other earlier restaurants, and other folks do make better burgers, there’s plenty to enjoy at DBGB, which in a way is like a version of a diner—with a meal for every night of the week. The prices are pretty gentle and the food is varied enough that you can indeed find a meal for any craving. It’s a formula that works quite well for these times.

For a light dinner, there are some generously sized appetizer salads—a circular iceberg wedge littered with bacon, herbs and toasted walnuts drenched in blue cheese ($9), a fluffy butter lettuce salad simply dressed in a garlicy mustard vinaigrette ($7), and a chopped salad stocked with watermelon, avocado, red peppers, and romaine tossed in an Asian ginger-sesame dressing ($8). Tuna crudo is also beautiful—cubes of ruby red fish on a plate dotted with harissa and sesame ($12).

For something a little more substantial, have the red curry mussels, plunged into a spicy tomato and coconut milk broth seasoned with Thai herbs ($10/18), or the duck—a plump seared breast served with a creamed spinach dotted with crunchy Marcona almonds and swollen, portly cherries ($20). The lamb was also quite good—a duo that included a roasted leg of lamb (tender and pink) and confited lamb ribs (a bit salty) with a summer ragout of yellow and green beans ($19). Or you could just order all the sausages.

But don’t forget to leave room for desserts, which are required eating. Surprisingly, something as ordinary as a sundae becomes so much fun and so delicious thanks to the quality of the ice cream and the toppings (cookies, brownies, freshly whipped cream and more) that everyone should have their own. No sharing allowed! And have the Baked Alaska too, if only for the torch-and-fire show. It reminded me of the first time I had Baked Alaska. It was at Maxwell’s Plum, with my dad, when I was probably 8 or 9 years old. It was a very nice memory to relive.

Whether or not the burger at DBGB makes me swoon, the restaurant is a welcome addition to the dining scene. Sure, the design is a bit corporate in feel, like it could be rolled out in high end malls across America (or at least in Palm Beach and Miami), but it’s a concept that proves once again that Daniel is a man for all seasons. Want to have the most sublime meal of your life? He can do that (Daniel, Café Boulud). Want a trip to through the humble foods of the countryside of France? He can do that, too (Bar Boulud, DB Bistro). Want a great beer and a sausage? Yup, that too. And he’ll deliver them all with the best service team in the business, which is nothing to sneeze at. Now they’re all here for the taking. Choose your own adventure. Did I mention to make sure it includes a sausage?



Review By: Andrea Strong


CITITOUR MOBILE