Did you ever see something on T.V. and know you just had to have it? I mean that no matter how long it took, you would track it down and make that meal a reality? I have more than once. But my latest achievement has also been one of the most delicious, mouthwatering, savory, and yes divine. They are my four new favorite words: French Onion Soup Dumplings. God has worked his magic via The Stanton Social. His messenger was Claire Robinson on The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Appetizers.
Take a look and see why I found her description so hard to resist.
I knew as soon as I saw this air I would be coming here and trying these. I didn’t even know anything else about the restaurant, I didn’t care. It didn’t matter. I love French onion soup and putting them in neat little dumplings sounded like a genius idea to me. The best soup version I have ever had was at Artisanal Bistro (http://bit.ly/Is5BEn), which is my favorite French restaurant in NYC. I couldn’t imagine how good these dumplings would possibly be, put after what felt like years of longing, I was ready to try them.
As my luck would have it I had plans to see my favorite artist, Levi Kreis, right around the corner from The Stanton Social. He would be performing at Rockwood Music Hall this past Sunday. For those who have not had the chance to check him out yet, I thoroughly encourage you to, as I have blogged about him before and definitely will again. For the reasons why check out these past posts (http://bit.ly/kojVf6, http://bit.ly/JC1o5E). Please visit http://levikreis.com/live/.
When the timing was finally right I made my dinner reservations a month in advance as I headed Claire Robinson’s advice. I knew this was a popular spot and I wanted in. After that I had a mini countdown in my head. I had glanced at the menu online and it all looked good to me. I knew that most of the items were meant to be shared as small tasting platters for the table. I love that idea. You get to try many things without overeating. Or so I thought. Either way I was just in it for the dumplings.
Finally my big night arrived. The place was dimly lit and smaller than I expected. It sort of has a retro vibe going on. The restaurant actually shuts down between lunch and dinner so I was the first dinner reservation at the reopening time of five o’clock. For anyone wanting a snack or drink in between the bar upstairs remains open. Once we settled in at our table and the waiter came over, he didn’t even have to mention what they were famous for. Actually after he said the word dumplings I went deaf. No seriously, I still don’t know what their other specialty is but I am sure it’s very tasty. If you find out please let me know.
Since it was now time to view the whole menu, the waiter informed me that for a party of two, which I was, we should order about five or six items. Besides the dumplings we ordered: potato and goat cheese pierogies, sweet and sour chicken and cashew spring rolls, herb dusted fries, two Kobe beef burgers, and one Rhode Island style lobster roll.
I anxiously awaiting the dumplings but they didn’t arrive first. So I tried to relax and try the other food. Everything smelled so good. When you are in a restaurant and you start to see the same food being delivered to multiple tables it is a good sign you have ordered correctly and are in the right spot.
The first food I tried was the potato and goat cheese pierogies. They were way too good. I could have kept eating them. There was plenty for two people. Potato and goat cheese what is not to like. The dipping sauce they came with I even loved. I have no idea what it was but it looked and tasted like an herb flavored sour cream. I could have dipped anything in that and it would have been delicious.
Next up was the sweet and sour chicken and cashew spring rolls. These were good too but a little hot for me. I didn’t realize that when I ordered them. Still I powered threw using the aforementioned sour cream like sauce.
Then came the main event, the French onion soup dumplings! I was so excited I could hardly stand it. If they had been any cooler or smaller I would have gone through them much faster. But it took a few minutes just to eat one. There is no way Claire Robinson did them justice. Lord knows she tried, she got me here. But they are seriously the best thing I ever ate. I would have put them on my last supper category. This is the type of food every single person needs to try. I don’t care if you don’t like French onion soup. The presentation and creativeness allows for a new food group that is too good to resist. Inside the dumplings are the soup and onion aspects, on the outside is the gooey, thick Gruyere cheese, and finally a crouton as the final touch recreating the bread. This is all on a toothpick so that you can take one bite and get a mouth full of these flavors. It was harder than is sounds. Actually I am not sure how these tiny toothpicks held that weight. All I remember is that with that first dumpling still in my mouth I closed my eyes and leaned my head back enjoyed every bite for what seemed like an eternity. I never wanted it to end. But I was getting tired; it is not easy living the dream.
Finally I began to awaken and move on after trying to swallow two of the dumplings, the burgers, lobster roll, and fries arrived. Their presentation was so adorable I couldn’t wait to take their picture. But it was a few minutes before I could attempt to take a bite. The dumplings are heavier than they appear and for some reason I thought I was going to pop them all in my mouth one after the other like candy. I didn’t remember to take into account the heat and heavy cheese. I am not the eating champ I thought I was. Turns out my eyes really are bigger than my stomach. Thank God for small favors.
After a small break I cut my mini burger in half and took a bite. It had a good flavor but was too raw for me to eat. The fries were good and had a nice seasoning. The lobster roll was also true to the original recipe and reminded me of the one I had in Rhode Island. If I had anymore room I would have finished it. But I was devoted to finishing my portion of the dumplings. I thought I was going to explode but they were so magnificent like a fine work of art I had to keep going. Baring in mind I was sharing them and still was struggling. But I didn’t manage to finish my portion. I was a very happy camper but way too full, so when my waiter offered to re-grill my burger I said no. I was over it and by that time couldn’t take another bit. It was a sham. The dessert menu looked enticing but I was just too full. Another time, yes there will definitely be another time.
I have never left a restaurant with more of a food coma than I did that night. I could have laid down on the ground and been perfectly happy. I am glad I only had to walk around the corner to the venue or it would have taken me hours to get any place else.
I think the receipt sums up my total experience that night. It had The Stanton Social logo on it and read:
“Live long. Be happy. Be social.”
I am trying.
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