I’ve been really wanting to start a food blog for a while and my meal last night was so fun and whimsical, it really sparked my creative edge. I absolutely had to share my wonderful experience. My friend Amber is my personal aficionado when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of New York City dining. So when she suggested we check out Mulberry Project, I was sold.
This underground restaurant is a hidden gem, literally. There are no signs on the outside and absolutely no trace of the restaurant in the heart of Little Italy. After walking past far too many pushy waiters trying to sell “the best Italian in all of New York” we came to a woman in a red trench-coat leaning against a railing. This was it. We said our names (thank you OpenTable!) and she checked a list and told us to go inside and ask for Jasper. We entered a trendy, loud, dimly lit underground bar and were instantly excited. We found Jasper and were told to wait a few. We snagged some seats at the bar and entered a world of cocktail concoctions unlike any other experience. The chalkboard wall to the left of the bar lists tons of different flavors like Raspberries, Thai Chili, mint, etc. Anything you could think of , they probably had it. Scott, the sexiest bartender with an accent to die for, spun bottles and put on a show for us creating cocktails from ours and his imagination. I asked for Tequila, Raspberries and Seltzer. Amber asked for Vodka, fruity, and carbonation. He twirled the shakers and separated an egg for my drink, in a way I’ve never seen on Food Network. The results were pure perfection.
Before we could take a sip, Jasper led us through a door to an outdoor patio area with heat warmers that made the top of my head so toasty and crisp. The walls were graffitied with some of the most interesting artwork, and even when it started to rain, we were protected by a tent making the night that much more fun. We started off the meal with Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella. But this was far from ordinary.
The combination of flavors in this dish were unique and unlike any tomato mozzarella dish I have ever tried before. And I somewhat consider myself a tomato mozzarella expert. The saltyness of the ham, countered by the sweetness of the watermelon relish created this perfect balance and pop in your mouth. But the peas were the most surprising aspect bringing the entire dish together. It was just a pleasant burst of flavor and freshness tying all the aspects of the dish together. The mozzarella was so fresh and the tomatoes were so sweet and tangy, they could stand alone. The combination of all flavor left me literally licking the plate clean.
We originally order the scallops next, but they were sold out. Tear. For next time! We went the other route with a Tuna Tartare.
Tuna Tartare is always a simple fix, that I have a weakness for. But this particular dish was so much more complex then what meets the eye. The first bite has that freshness that only raw tuna can have, but then you get the kick of the jalepenos heat followed by the coolness of the caper and the crunch of the chip serving as a vessel to bring it all together. Pure perfection in one little bite.
We then finished up our delicious meal with the famous sliders that Mulberry Project is known for in addition to its killer drinks. We went for the Braised Short Rib Sliders and of course, a side of Truffle Fries.
This was the best way to end the meal. The sliders were so comforting and warm and surprising. The best part was the crunch and tang of the homemade pickles. It cut through the rich sweetness of the braised short rib. The toasted potato bun was pure perfection, melting in your mouth. I didn’t even think about the little side salad, it was a carb fest. The truffle fries on the side were to die for. The earthy flavors of the rosemary with the parmesan contrasted the little slider. I was licking my fingers after each bite, trying to save every little moment.
Then the meal ends, and your receipt comes in a little notebook that you can sign for the next customers. So when you go, look for my little note! Such a fabulous meal, with a great friend and delicious drinks. Thanks Scott! Definitely make your way downtown to this hidden gem and your imagination will run wild.
Location: Little Italy, NY
Type: New American
Perfect For: Drinks, Small Plates, Girls’ Night Out, Late Night, Outdoor Seating
Reservations: Recommended via OpenTable
Favorite Dishes: Tomato Mozzarella, Truffle Fries, Braised Short Rib Sliders