WWJD in Albany without NWBB? Cry, for sure.
Yes yes, the chef is Ric Orlando, who recently won Chopped and came back for Chopped Champions. And he's got another restaurant in Saugerties, an hour or so south and much closer to some people who love us. We visited NWBB twice in the past few weeks, both times to favorable results. Forgive the iPhone in the first visit and low light combined with impatience in the second.
really is cold outside.
The Ropa Bennie: Cuban pot roast (a New World dinner entree, btw), topped with poached eggs and guava hollandaise. This was divine. The only error was by me--I failed to fork my second half until the egg had pretty much set. I was so busy savoring the first half. The meat was tender and flavorful, but not saucy. It's apparently roasted overnight, said the waiter to me as my eyes rolled into the back of my head with satisfaction. The hollandaise was only somewhat sweet, a beautiful contrast with the meat. The potatoes that came on the side were totally unnecessary--you get a TON of food, and I'm not even the biggest potato fan anyway. Waste of belly space.
Dishes like this make me reiterate to people: BRUNCH! It is a great way to get a taste of what a place is like at dinner time, but for less, and with the rest of the day ahead of you. Ropa Bennie: $12. Ropa Vieja (dinner, with a different set up of course): $21. We will go for dinner eventually, and I think I'll try the jerk chicken or the Latino steak frites. Mmm.
THREE eggs on J's corned beef hash. Not two. Now that's value. The hash was very good--you could see pieces of corned beef, not just flecks in between potato. The whole brunch was fabulous, right down to the service.
We returned on Christmas with my parents for some later night beer and appetizers. Let's face it, the only thing to do this weekend was eat and watch movies, so a proper dinner seemed unnecessary, especially at 9pm.
I'll hit the low point first. I've always said that at a truly great restaurant every dish will be flawless. Maybe not flawless, but at least yummy. It might not be my personal favorite, but it should be yummy to someone. The vegetarian tapas platter is decidedly not flawless. Or yummy. It's extremely and utterly meh. Don't get it. Now I want to move on before I get depressed, because besides this dish, everything we've eaten there has been above and beyond.
A skinny crispy flatbread (New World Pie) was an easy crowdpleaser--who doesn't like sauce, mozzarella, basil, and romano on crispy bread? But the winner, the ultimate, was the mussels and frites. Now, we've never seen this before--the frites are IN with the mussels, not separate. They are kind of floating around in there. As my mother would (and did) say, these mussels were out of this world. Everything about the sauce (garlic/butter/white wine/crack cocaine?) made me want to dive in. Our obliging server took heed of this desire and gave us each a roll with which to sop up the ridiculosity that is the crack-laden broth. (You know I'm exaggerating, right? They don't actually put drugs in their food.)
PS I'm starting a new tag for Gluten Free (GF) to signify that the menu has labeled gluten free options or a separate GF menu.
P.P.S. The first thing I did after leaving brunch at New World was text and email friends in DC to let them know the following: "I FOUND GOOD BRUNCH!! EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE." In all caps, just like your mom would write it.
New World Bistro Bar
300 Delaware Avenue