When I grow up, I want to live on the corner of Commerce and Barrow. I can picture my charming apartment now, just above my Bite-Sized bakery and restaurant. It is one of the most beautiful blocks in Manhattan. It looks like it’s straight out of a fairy-tale, which is why it is the perfect setting for my storybook ending and dreams come true. Until then, I will just have to visit my favorite block when I visit one of my favorite restaurants, Commerce. Commerce is a quaint, contemporary American restaurant with a menu that is as seductive as it is robust.
The restaurant buzzes with energy from the crowd and the staff. You can tell they actually want to be there, which let’s face it, makes a world of difference in the service industry. And you know what else makes a world of difference? A phenomenal breadbasket. Commerce serves 3 different kinds of breads, right out of the oven, which goes a long way with this self-declared Carb Connoisseur. The only problem with the breadbasket? Filling up before you even get your meal! It’s impossible to resist the warm pretzel, onion and garlic rolls.
Do yourself a favor – sample each roll and then walk away from the breadbasket. Repeat after me, “Put down the rolls and no one will get hurt.” You’ll want to save room for the Roasted Sweet Potato Tortellini. The plump tortellini are filled with a sweet potato puree and tossed in a beurre noisette with toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds. Beurre noisette is brown butter, which is rich and nutty. The concentrated flavor of the butter accentuates the hazelnuts and plays off the tart pomegranate seeds to create a luscious dish.
The Summer Vegetable Fricassee with Truffle and Poached Egg is also a must have. A thin parmesan crisp sits delicately on top of a poached egg. The egg, once punctured, oozes into the vegetable stew. This creamy dish is as flavorful as it is colorful.
The Ragout of Lamb with a Soft Rosemary Pappardelle is as comforting as it gets. The wide al dente noodles are the perfect platform for this tender meat. The green hued pappardelle tastes fresh which balances out the slow cooked flavor from the lamb ragout. A bite of this dish feels like a great hug.
The Classic Veal Meatballs are actually not your classic meatballs at all. In fact, they’re paired with polenta and barbeque sauce rather than the “classic” tomato sauce. This dish was not what I was expecting, but it was delicious.
So back to the seductive and robust menu. There were at least half a dozen other dishes that I wanted to order. You know what that means, don’t you? I guess I’ll be getting to know my future neighbors sooner than later.
50 Commerce Street
New York, NY