Thursday, January 9, 2014
The iconic Empire Diner in Chelsea reopens with Amanda Freitag at the helm of this classic, comfort mecca. An one story stand alone spot, Empire Diner like the 11th Street Diner in Miami Beach is iconic. This spot is revamped and romantically lit with a rethought menu with dishes that deserve attention. On the savory side, I went with Pork on Pork- for $21 and chili cheese fries for $11. There were so many choices and with sides at $6, I was tempted, but was bad last night. Now, the heat had failed, the manager frazzled and pretty Amanda Freitag was there to greet, but the food was what I had meandered over for and the savories satisfied. The pork on pork, was a perfectly butchered pork chop with pancetta, cranberry beans over kale. An ideal plate on a frosty night with the pork chop cooked right and tasting delicious. The sweet fries with chili, cheddar and lime crema was a lovely sweet, meat and citrus marriage- very clever. The only food failure was dessert- I went with the warm donut holes with caramel sauce for $7. The holes came out looking like raw sugar and they were. The blobs were warm, though undercooked dough. Nice salted caramel sauce. I immediately sent them back and the cost was removed from the bill. The desserts generally looked underwhelming, but the doughy taste of the donuts was a shock to me. For great savory options and a real NY experience.........GO!