Since opening earlier this year, The Musket Room has emerged as one of the most talked about restaurants of the year. Owned by chef Matt Lambert, formerly of Saxon and Parole, The Musket Room exemplifies the current trend of sophisticated and ambitious restaurants moving to the hot and increasingly discerning Bowery/NoLita neighborhood that includes Estela, Pearl and Ash and Public among others. In addition, The Musket Room adds to the trend of upscale South Pacific based cuisine, by serving an eclectic New Zealand inspired menu. To be candid, prior to dining last weekend, I was not familiar with Kiwi cuisine.
The menu at The Musket Room is comprised of a la carte and tasting menu that serves a a six course ($75) or ten course ($115) meal. In retrospect, I regret not ordering the tasting menu upon my first visit to the restaurant, which integrates the essential variety that best reflects the tastes, ingredients and overall flavor of both the restaurant and New Zealand cuisine at large.
I decided to order the Cold Smoked Scallops, New Zealand Red Doe and Devil’s Food Cake. Since I forwent the Tasting Menu, I felt my three choices were the most reflective (and highly recommended) dishes on the menu. The Cold Smoked Scallops, served with cucumbers, black garlic, pears and soy beans, were as visually and aesthetically mesmerizing as they were delicious. Instilling a flavorful smoky flavor combined with the addition of the fruity pear epitomizes Lambert’s exceptional range and unique style of cooking.
While the palatable Steak and Cheese Pie and Chicken and Egg stood out amongst the entrees, I could not abstain from what may be Lambert’s most popular (and highly unique) dishes, the New Zealand Red Doe. Incredibly tender, succulent and remarkably creative, the venison incorporated a deconstruction of flavors of gin, thus gave it that zesty kick that validates it as the dish to order at the Musket Room. Served with roasted fennel, and hints of licorice, the Red Deer justifies a visit alone.
Finally, for dessert, I had the Devil’s Food Cake served with olive oil laced, caramel mouse. While I typically refrain from ordering dessert, I felt obligated as I was so pleased with my two courses. Akin to the Cold Scallops and Red Deer, the Devil’s Food Cake was both stunning and sumptuous.
Overall, The Musket Room was one of my favorite meals of the year, combining excellent food (and drinks), praiseworthy service and offering a creative and unique approach to cooking that stands out and completely justifies its recent Michel Star award for 2014. Considering the restaurant is less than a year old and just recently earned its Michelin Star, I would highly recommend going now before the hype, popularity and prices ascend similar to other Michelin star neighbors such as Torrisi. I will definitely be back soon.
The Musket Room
265 Elizabeth Street,
New York, NY, 10012
P: + 1 212 219 0764