Sunday, February 26, 2006

On a Whym

When Tanying and M.P.S. left it up to me to decide on a dining venue for our big “Three Amigas” dine out night, I knew we needed something different from our regular afternoon lunch spots—cheap sandwich places with little décor and often scruffy looking patrons. And I was lazy—I really didn’t want to venture far from my humble abode on such a cold wintry night. So I needed to find a place close by, new to all of us and a place that wasn’t going to trim down our already slim graduate student wallets.

I remembered reading a post on Whym a few weeks ago by the guys at NYCNosh, who waxed on about the creativity of the dishes. I took a look at the online menu and the prices seemed really reasonable, it was within walking distance and the website’s photo gallery seemed to indicate pretty sophisticated interior design (not the place to attract scruffy clientele).

Whym’s cuisine can be defined as eclectic American with breezes of Asian influence, like their Duck Negamaki and Wasabi Pea Crusted Tuna. When you first walk into Whym, you are struck by the contrast of the deep brown sleek chairs, tables and bar wood panelling against the bare white walls, ceiling and floor of the dining room (well, the floor is a bit more beige, but it’s still a steep contrast to all the darker elements). It’s sleek, but simple—there is really nothing adorning the dining room, but a long mirror that runs across half of one of the long walls. When we started our dinner, around 6pm, remarkably the lights in the restaurant were on full blast and it was very, very bright—the brightness was the first thing I noticed when I entered the restaurant because I’m so used to exceptionally dim lighting in restaurants these days.

I was intrigued by the appetizer named “Sexy Mushrooms.” How did these ‘shrooms get their sex appeal? Our waiter claimed that it was the marscopone cheese that “dressed” the fungi up. Well, that was enough for me to know—I figured a bit of sexiness is good for my meal anyhow, so I went for it. Tanying decided to have the Asian inspired Duck Negamki and M.P.S. ordered the dressed up Chopped Salad with apples, asparagus, beets and feta cheese.

A sophisticated restaurant (no matter what the price range) brings not only tasty food to the table, but they bring it to you in-style. Whym really wins on this score. All the dish presentations were stylish and lovely to look at before devouring.

My mushrooms may or may not have been sexy, but the dish was smooth in texture, which I liked, and a bit too salty in taste which I did not like so much. The Chopped Salad was a nice combination of sweet, crunch and soft flavors and textures--an inspired reinvention of a rather traditional dish. The hit of the appetizers was the Duck Negamaki, chunks of soy sauce sweetened and coated duck on a bed of "forbidden" rice (a black highly textured variety). The gritty bits of rice was a compliment to the soft tender duck.

The night was bitter cold and the warm thoughts of a Chicken Pot Pie called to me when I scanned the menu. Whym’s version arrives covered in melted chedder cheese and chopped chives. It is HUGE. It could have served two, maybe even three people. Underneath a delicious golden, crispy biscuit crust (making a wonderful “riiip” sound as I plunged my fork in) were bits of chicken apple sausage, carrots and potatoes. Pot pies are one of those American classics that I’ve found to be mediocre at best in restaurants—this is not one of them.

Tanying enjoyed the Pan-Roasted Cod and M.P.S. ordered the Grilled Salmon for her entrée. In restaurants fish can be overdone, oversauced or just plain bad. Whym gets it right with both of these dishes. The cod was accompanied by a pretty decent tomato-aspargus risotto and the salmon was cooked in a distinctive black pepper sherry sauce.

For dessert, I ordered what sounded the most interesting—this is can be a hit or miss method—the Peanut Butter Martini. A large glass arrived at the table filled with alternating strips of a peanut butter cream and a dark chocolate ganache and topped off with some cream and sliced strawberries. It was a rich as it sounds—the chocolate was so thick it stuck to the roof of my mouth before melting away to my stomach. In my opinion peanut butter’s best compliment is always chocolate and this dessert is no exception. However, it should come with a warning that it should be a shared dish—even with the help of my two amigas, we could not finish it. Plus, Tanying ordered the Warm Chocolate Cake with vanilla ice cream for herself. I must say, she had the winner of the two desserts. It was a soft fluffy puff of dark chocolate and the ice cream was smooth, sweet and silky.

The service at Whym was outstanding, from the friendly hostess to our knowledgeable waiter and even to the manager who made sure we had our water glasses filled while eating our rich desserts. We were even more impressed when our bill came—for such great food and service in a chic atmosphere, Whym is a steal. It is an excellent choice for a weekend lunch or weekday dinner, especially those who are looking to find an inexpensive location before a show in the nearby theatre district.

Whym, 889 9th Avenue @58th Street, (212) 315-0088

For this week’s Weekend Dog Blogging event, hosted by the recovering Sweetnicks (I hope you're feeling better!) I’m contributing a photo of D in restful sleep as she recovers from a bad eye scratching incident this weekend. On Thursday evening went to grab a raw hide bone, the trouble was it was G’s bone—and he's bigger and tougher than her (he's a sweet one, really, he is and I'll feature him in a future WDB post). An hour later she was in the animal emergency room. Fortunately, the scratch wasn’t too bad and the doctor expects a full recovery. In fact, D was in pretty high spirits all weekend—you wouldn’t know she had gotten hurt with all her running around—she puckered herself out and slept peacefully here on the couch.

I’ve never contributed to Weekend Cat Blogging run by Clare because I don’t really know many people with cats. However, my little brother now has two very cute kitties. So here’s my entry of K, a purr-ty black male with an affection for the bathroom sink.



Blogger Robyn said...

Damn, Whym sounds good. NOW IT'S ON MY LIST! My list is too freakin' long!

I'd totally finish that "Peanut Butter Martini"...methinks I smell a challenge...

12:11 AM  
Blogger Rose said...

Robyn:I challenge you! It's really really thick and big!!!!

7:21 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

Sounds like a great dinner Rose. and love the animal pix:) I'm glad you figured out the read more thing too :) Looks great and works like a charm !

6:37 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

Mona:Yeah, i've been slowly working on little technical aspects of my blog. I re-arranged my blogroll too. The dinner was fantastic and the fact that it wasn't that expensive just made it all that much better!

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Nosher said...

Glad we didn't steer you wrong on Whym-- we really enjoyed it. And apparently, the chef has made some changes to the tuna sauce based on our review. Who knew?!

9:56 PM  
Anonymous mrs.l said...

went to whym for brunch. also, great food, great service and reasonably price. what an ecletic menu! i highly reccomend it for brunch and will go back there definitely for dinner.

12:41 PM  

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