April Bloomfield, The Burger Queen

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Have you read the article about chef April Bloomfield in the recent issue of the New Yorker? If not, it's definitely worth a read and it's available online. The young British chef is the talent behind the famed Spotted Pig and the Breslin at the Ace Hotel. I loved learning more about Bloomfield, how she cooks and the business of opening restaurants (apparently even super-star chefs like Bloomfield sometimes fail).

I particularly loved this quote about how Bloomfield cooks, says J. J. Goode, who is helping her write a cookbook, “When April’s making a salad that has nuts or capers or whatever in it, she’s always saying that she wants there to be just enough so that you don’t have to try too hard to find one but not so many that you’re not excited when you come across one.” What a wonderful way to describe the composition of a salad!

I had the great pleasure of eating at the Spotted Pig the first or second weekend it had opened. At the time, I lived just down the street in the West Village and to me it was a just another neighborhood restaurant that had taken over the space Le Zoo had once occupied. My friend and I had the now famous burger, I recall some brussel sprouts and pints of Old Speckled Hen beer, but most of all I remember our glee at having discovered this gem--we planned to eat there every week.

Little did I know, it would immediately become impossible to find a seat at this soon-to-be-hot-dining-destination. I've been back to the Spotted Pig since, but not often--the wait for a table can really last hours. However, I have a blissful memory of some small, perfect West Coast oysters (I believe they were Kumamoto) eaten late one night with a glass of white wine. I was once the guest at a Christmas party thrown by the Clintons (yes, those Clintons: I had a friend who worked in Bill's office) at the restaurant -- it was hot, crowded and near impossible to get a drink, let alone anything to eat, but my gosh, I was in the same room as Bill Clinton. I swear to you, the room reverberated with his glow.

Reading about Bloomfield's cooking, I wanted to go back to The Spotted Pig in the afternoon on a weekday and enjoy a late lunch when the crowds are least likely.

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