Note: Click here for a more recent visit to db bistro moderne.
db bistro moderne is the least formal of Daniel Boulud’s New York properties. The menu is organized by ingredients, instead of the usual appetizer/entrée split. The categories are in French (hommard, thon, artichaut, etc.), but the descriptions of the items in each category are in English. You have to notice an “AP” or “MC” next to the price to identify whether the item is an appetizer or a main course. You can also look at the price itself: db’s entrées are remarkably consistent, at about $28-34 apiece regardless of the item.
I just had to try the “Original db Burger,” to find out what a $29 hamburger tastes like. The menu says it’s a “Sirloin Burger filled with Braised Short Ribs, Foie Gras and Black Tuffles.” I was not able to identify all of those ingredients from the taste. It’s thick (to accommodate all of the goodies stuffed inside), but not very large. Getting your mouth around it is a challenge, somewhat like a three-decker sandwhich at a Jewish deli.
Was it a very fine hamburger? Yes. Do I recommend spending $29 on it? No. Rounding out the meal was a smoked salmon appetizer ($14) that was perfectly competent, but not a patch on what I had at Ouest a couple of weeks ago.
The burger and the salmon are both found in a section of the menu labeled “Specialitiés De La Maison.” Gimmicks of the house seemed more like it. I saw a lot coming out of the db kitchen that appealed to me. Neither of these really did the trick. If I go again, I’ll try something else. At $72 per person (including drinks, tax, and tip), I think this town has better bargains for your money.
db bistro moderne (55 West 44th Street between Fifth & Sixth Avenues, West Midtown)