Favorite Dishes #85: Pearl & Ash’s Smoked Bread with Chicken Butter


The culinary wizards at Pearl & Ash (220 Bowery; 212-837-2370) actually figured out a way to make butter better. What was it missing all this time? Chicken fat, it turns out. And maybe a wisp of maple syrup. Although it seems so simple, the additions are legitimate game-changers, not only adding an unctuous depth to the cream, but elevating its very texture into something sublimely satisfying.

A spread this decadent demands a suitable delivery mechanism. Thankfully, their housemade smoked bread fits the bill. It’s served warm, and a discerning nose might detect remnants of the smoldering wood chips that helped birth it. You’re only afforded two slices, in all their unapologetically glutenous glory, but that’s more than enough with which to properly attack the cream.

Rendered chicken fat, in the form of schmaltz, has long served as a Jewish culinary staple. Although it obviously informed their chicken butter, Pearl & Ash smears their brand of unique sophistication into a dish that maintains the simplicity of pure comfort. While some are reluctant to sing its praises, don’t be a chicken — at $4, it’s worth rendering your own verdict.

The Village Voice is counting down to our Best of New York City issue in October. We’re combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10.

Here’s our countdown up to now:
#100: Laminated Blueberry Brioche at Dominique Ansel Kitchen
#99: Egg Shop’s Golden Bucket Fried Chicken
#98: Ramen Lab’s Torigara Shoyu
#97: Cannoli at Ferdinando’s
#96: Breakfast Sandwich at Dimes
#95: Banana Royal at Eddie’s Sweet Shop
#94: Fletcher’s Burnt Ends
#93: Almayass’s Mante
#92: Empellon Taqueria’s Fish Taco
#91: El Rey’s Sardine Tostada
#90: General Tso’s Pig’s Head at the Cannibal
#89: The Vegetarian at Meat Hook Sandwich Shop
#88: The 21 Club’s Creamy Chicken Hash
#87: Deep-Fried Olives at Via Carota
#86: Pougi at Loi Estiatorio