Much like the areas surrounding Penn Station or Times Square, I try to avoid the East 30′s aka Murray Hill like the plague. Run of the mill bars, mediocre food, and copious amounts of takeout joints…it’s just not someplace I would run to for a good meal. That said, I was presented with the opportunity to try Whitman & Bloom on 3rd ave and 27th street, and I’m glad I took it. Not at all what I expected, but in a very good way; from decor to drinks to dinner…everything exceeded expectations.
Whitman & Bloom sits in the old Arctica space (thanks Katie Wells), but looks nothing like its predecessor: clean white walls, dark wood, mellow sconces and a marble bar in the back…this is not your typical bridge & tunnel bar. The one thing I will caveat: the prices are a little steep for Murray Hill, but again, given the atmosphere, food, and service, I think it’s well worth it. We started out with some of their specialty cocktails (which are nice as strong – worth the $10 pricetag), and the chicken liver pate. If you’re not Jewish, you may not be a big fan of chicken liver pate. I’m not stereotyping (ok maybe a little), but it’s definitely an acquired taste, so if you’re open minded, give it a shot. Their version was great - the portion was huge, and they serve it with thick, crusty bread. Loved it.
Now let’s tap into the other side of my heritage – the Greeks! And by that I am referring to lamb, pulled lamb sliders, to be exact. Easily one of my favorite courses, and it came with a cilantro paste. CILANTRO. Most of you know my hatred for cilantro by now, but this concoction was similar to chimichurri and it just enhanced all of the flavors of the lamb. The shredded pieces were a little crispy (maybe slightly overdone, but still tasty), and topped with horseradish yogurt, pickled onions, and that damn delicious cilantro paste on a mini focaccia bun. Highly recommend these bad boys.
My most important duty as a food blogger is to make the chef and owners aware of their accomplishments and mistakes. Having candied ravioli with beets and goat cheese on the Specials menu? Accomplishment. Not having it on the every day menu? MISTAKE. This dish was amazing – Katie convinced me to try it and I’m glad she did, because I haven’t had a pasta like this ever in my life. First of all, it was beautiful to look at, and then it was slightly sweet from the beets, crunchy from the toasted sesame seeds, and perfectly al dente. If I can do them one service here, it would be to tell them that they NEED to add this to the regular menu. I imagine they’ll thank me later.
Now, for the main event: Four cheese mac. Mac and cheese is the main event? You’re DAMN RIGHT IT IS. Oh my good god I can’t deal with this one – we should have had this first instead of last so we could have eaten more of it. Really poor decision on our part there…#fatgirlproblems. Here are the cheeses involved, and you will undoubtedly be surprised by one: cheddar, gruyere, parmesan, and feta. FETA. Say what?! They’re praising the Greeks over here in Whitman & Bloom and I am ok with it. This was easily one of the best mac and cheeses I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a LOT of mac and cheese in my day), topped with crispy bread crumbs and oregano. This might be the first time I flipped over a mac and cheese that didn’t have bacon…and I think that’s saying A LOT…
No room for dessert here, but I will be back! Next time someone invites me to a crappy bar in Murray Hill (I’m looking at you, Tonic), I’ll be sure to leave early and have some real grub and drinks over here. Thanks for stepping up the Murray Hill game, W&B.
Whitman & Bloom
384 3rd Ave (nr 27th st)
Website: Whitman & Bloom