DBGB, Daniel Boulud's much blogged about new restaurant on the Bowery, opens officially Monday night. But they swung the doors open to the public last night — so we stopped by to check it out. The place was bustling. It was not a particularly glamorous, "see and be seen" crowd. Most of the people in the bar seemed to be curious foodies who just couldn't stand the suspense any longer, like the two West Village restaurant owners sitting next to us. Despite the fact that DBGB has been in "friends and family" preview mode for awhile, it was clear there are still some kinks to be worked out. To be fair, that's what "soft openings" are for: let the staff get in a rhythm, spot the early problems, make adjustments.
The bartenders are, as you'd expect, real pros. They were friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. It's a good thing, because the kitchen was obviously having some problems. We ordered the artisinal dry sausages ($7), the DBGB dog ($7) and the burger with grilled pork belly ($17). Not so complicated. After about an hour the bartender noticed we had not been served. A short time later all three dishes emerged. The sausages were fine, if a bit underwhelming. The burger was also okay, but the pork belly really didn't seem to add any additional flavor. The hot dog was cold and not fully cooked. The bun it came on was also cold and somewhat dried out. We consoled ourselves with dessert, which was delicious: Kriek beer cherry icecream with cherries, an anglaise sauce and cream. So it wasn't a perfect meal, but it was far from a disaster. We'll be patient. Daniel doesn't do failure.