After midnight during the week, it’s hard to find a nice place to take your date. And if you’re hungry it makes it that much harder.
Last week, we found ourselves at Blueprint on Fifth Avenue, between Union and Sackett streets, an artisanal cocktail bar that serves food until 2 a.m.
I heard a lot about it, including the New York Times’ review, “A Toast to a New Breed of Bar Food” back in October. What I didn’t remember, and I wish I did, was the sentence: “Bigger plates are also hit or miss…at the new Blueprint."
Nevertheless, my girlfriend and I stole a table in the back and sat down on the high stools. With a glass of Cotes de Rhone, we ordered some cheese and charcuterie from their Small Plates menu.
For $14, we got a lump of paper-thin Prosciutto di Parma, a Cashel Blue, from Ireland made from cow cheese and Nettle Meadow Farm Kunik, a goat and cow mixture from New York. The Irish blue cheese was a decent one, not as strong and smoky, as I like it and a little safe, but nothing to balk at. The Kunik was nothing special and the prosciutto was a bit too thin for my liking.
For dinner, I ordered the Niman Ranch Pork Butt Sliders from the "Big Plates" menu. There was nothing big about it, except for the cutting board the sliders sat on. They were embarrassingly small — three bite-sized sliders on house-made buns, with red cabbage slaw and watermelon pickle ($12). Each slider was literally one bite, and although delicious, they were entirely too small for a hungry man.
I understand the term slider, but even for sliders they were miniature. I understand tapas, and Boqueria in Manhattan is one of my favorite places to eat. This plate did not seem to be either one of those, but rather a rip off, especially considering it was one of their big plates.
It would not be fair to say I did not love the pork — coming from Niman Ranch in California, the meat was farm fresh, and super tasty. The cabbage slaw was good, but the watermelon pickle was bad. If you thought you can't mess up watermelon, you're wrong: pickling it and adding spices does just that and makes it rather un-enjoyable.
When we politely asked if they had any “Big Plates” that were actually big, our waiter seemed offended.
“They are all big, otherwise they wouldn’t be under the ‘Big Plates’ menu,” he said.
We decided to cut our losses and go home, hungry.
I do see my mistake now: going to a bar with a small plates menu when I was super hungry. But, there’s no reason to be that small.