At Café Clover in the West Village (10 Downing Street, 212-675-4350), chef David Standridge makes decadent food that’s somehow easy on the waistline: a sweet potato, shiitake, and pumpkin seed salad; an entrée of cauliflower “steak” with romesco; and an almond-milk panna cotta dessert. But when he found himself with a few hours to spare recently, he strayed from the healthy and went for full-on fried comfort: the bucket of bird and trimmings at Root & Bone (200 East 3rd Street, 646-682-7076) by chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth.
“We do really healthful foods at Café Clover, so the best thing I ate this month is sort of a funny one that amused my co-workers. I was quite excited about my ‘day off,’ meaning I got to come to work at 4 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. I woke up late and thought that I would order breakfast, and as I trolled Seamless I came across Root & Bone; it’s right next door to my house yet, incidentally, I haven’t had the chance to go.
“Sweet-tea-brined bucket of bird? Sold! ‘Would you like buckwheat waffles smothered with cheddar cheese with that?’ Why, yes I would!
“The sweet tea gives the bird a pleasant, subtle lemoniness that I really enjoyed, and it comes with a spicy/sweet sauce that I emptied entirely. The waffles and biscuits are what really blew me away, though. The buckwheat waffles were drizzled with honey, but had a saltiness from the melted cheddar and chopped green onions; they were gone almost instantly. I had a pang of sadness when eating the biscuits; I had thought I was a respectable biscuit maker, but these completely put me to shame. They were light and fluffy and dense and hearty at the same time.
“It was a really delicious meal. You can’t indulge in that every day, but for my monthly day off it was the best breakfast ever!”
Where do chefs go to eat on their nights off? We’re asking them — and they’re divulging the best things they’ve eaten in the last month in this weekly column. Read more in the archives of The Best Thing I Ate This Month.