Photo courtesy of Davanti Enoteca
Goat cheese cheesecake at Davanti Enoteca
"Last meal" has a negative connotation, what with the common tie-in to a prisoner's final request just before getting The Big Sleep. I'm taking the angle, though, that this last meal was the one I pieced together from local restaurants just before my recent wedding day. And for the record, the nuptials marked the beginning of the first day of wedded bliss and home-cooked meals. But before that...
I'd start with my favorite bar drink from recent years of tippling—the off-menu Bee's Knees at Bankers Hill Bar kknd Restaurant (2202 Fourth Ave.) It's gin-based, with the Barr Hill brand that has a hint of honey. The drink has an Ancho Reyes Chili liqueur back to it, and includes honey and lemon served over thinly crushed ice.
That cocktail would kick me into readiness for the avocado smooshed toast at Halcyon (1429 Island Ave.) in East Village. The avocado is "smooshed" onto house-made bread and comes sprinkled with a hearty and healthy helping of chili flakes, onion and tiny tomato cubes. The kicker is the amazing amount of thinly sliced smoked salmon that covers the avo smoosh. Douse it with a splash or two of olive oil. I've eaten this dish as a lunch entrée, but it gets my last-meal pick as a starter.
I can eat copious amounts of seafood all day and all night. The location I trust for quality and quantity is Little Italy's Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar (1654 India St.). Money's no object for a last meal, so I'm cutting loose on an Ironside Platter, which come in Big, Bigger and Biggest versions, and includes varying amounts of oysters, shrimp, mussels and chilled Maine lobster. When it comes to oysters, they've got all kinds here—meaty, crisp, briny and sweet. I'm onboard for meaty Chesapeake Bay bivalves. The owners of Ironside can be quirky, as in they'd never serve mainstream cocktail sauce (which I normally douse on my oysters). But the aioli they dreamed up goes perfectly with these plump, shucked beauties. My new bride and I also enjoy adding enough horseradish to the tops of our oysters so that we cry (tears of deliciousness) when we slide it all down our throats.
I'm not normally a dessert guy. I usually pass when it gets to the end of the night±but at the end of an era all bets are off. My pick for a last dessert is the goat cheese cheesecake at Davanti Enoteca (1655 India St.), literally across the street from Ironside in Little Italy. This cheesecake comes with a base of ladyfingers crust and is adorned with salted caramel and candied marcona almonds. Not incidentally, Davanti is where the missus and me had our wedding dinner. We were busy at the end of the night and didn't get to eat the cheesecake onsite. But the manager was kind enough to wrap it up to go—and it was still rich and sweet after a day in the fridge, eaten back at the love nest we call our home. Sigh .