The Insatiable Palate Review #17: Barbuto (West Village, New York)

The Breasts Don’t Have to Be Dry After All

It is Saturday lunch. Mama Cho will take a couple nibbles of Costco Combo pizza, express her disappointment by pretending to organize items in the kitchen and then start gorging her beloved fermented kimchi and brown rice as soon as the rest of the family leaves the dining room. Although Mom has opened up to American fast food during our twelve years in the states (yes, I was born and raised in Korea until I was seven), there is no hiding her dissatisfaction when the family has to resort to anything other than a Korean sit-down meal.

To cater to both Mama Cho and my meat-driven needs, my parents would make their rounds to Costco and often bring back a tray of Rotisserie Chicken for lunch. I must say, my memories of the roasted chicken are incredibly disappointing.  By the time the poultry arrives at home, the chicken is lukewarm (but not cold enough to reheat in the oven) and the crispy skin has virtually turned into a stringy mess.
The worst part of it all, THE BREASTS ARE SO DRY. Chewing through silicone implants might be an easier task.

This might be why I find comfort eating/covering my body with juicy pork belly on weekends. Pork belly never lets me down.

However, when Top Chef Master Contender, Jonathan Waxman says he can build a better roasted chicken, let us trust his word.

After mopping up the mess of drool I made on my keyboard after watching the Untouchables video, I HAD TO HAVE IT. His roasted chicken and potatoes with pecorino cheese had to be inside my mouth as soon as possible.  After gathering five of my close friends, we devised a menu to keep us full for the entire weekend.

Gnocchi, Spicy Sausage Ragu, Ricotta

The Gnocchi is incredibly soft and delicate. Imagine taking a bite of a cloud formed by silky ricotta. An edible Jigglypuff, perhaps. This earned the seal of approval from my friend who had her share of delicious gnocchi in Italy. If this is just a sample of how good Italian food is, then I am ready to Eat, Pray, and Love my ass all the way to Florence.

The JW Chicken and Salsa Verde

When an Italian Grandmother wishes a perfectly cooked roasted chicken for her last meal, this might satisfy her insatiable standards. The white meat is incredibly moist and the skin, crisp. I SINCERELY would replace this chicken skin for bacon. It’s so delightful.

My British friend even gave up her vegetarian card just so that she could have a taste of the hen. She obviously isn’t going to give it to cup of chicken strips at Kimmel.

Potatoes, Pecorino, Rosemary

The hint of rosemary permeates through the table as soon as the potatoes arrive. The potatoes are first poached and then deep fried. Although the bite-size chunks are delicious, my favorite is the crispy bits at the bottom. Calories? Just chew. Just chew…..

I loved this meal so much that I even put a job application a few days later. I’ve never heard back from them though. BUT IT’S OKAY. I feel at peace when I know that the art of roasted chicken and potatoes will never be lost as long as Chef Waxman and Barbuto are in West Village.


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