Saturday, April 2, 2011

West Side Gravy - Collingswood, NJ

Well, was it West Side Gravy we ate in, or was it Blackbird?  The beauty of it is that we ate at both!  While physically we were in West Side Gravy, we actually ordered items from both menu's!  So again, Chef Capasso's latest venture is an absolute winner!  What is there to say other than another killer night on Haddon Avenue with Chef Capasso and his team!  Stay tuned for details as this post is no where near complete!  Cheers!

West Side Gravy Mac and Cheese:  This consists of shelled pasta, cheddar, gruyere, fontina cheeses, fresh herbs, and toasted breadcrumbs.   Usually, these are really small shells, but this time around, these were made by the larger shells like the ones served with Blackbird entrees.  Either way, this is some damn good mac and cheese, and I think that it is the freshness in the herbs that give it such great flavors.  Add a few of my favorite cheeses, and of course this is a recipe for success.  This is always a treat, and one of those must order appetizers.

We also had the Blackbird Tuna Tartare.  This stats out with sushi grade tuna, cubed and mixed with scallion, cilantro, pickled ginger, and tossed in a miso dressing, and garnished with pea tendrils.  This very well could be my new favorite appetizer at Blackbird.  The flavors here all went so well together!  The freshness of the scallion and the cilantro, along with the zing of the ginger and the Miso worked together extremely well.  This is to rock star appetizers what Simon Cowell was to American Idol!  No, we haven't watched Idol in years.  Sorry!  Will definitely be ordering this app again in the future!  May even have to go back this week just to have it again to see if I can duplicate it!

Zelda ordered the Tilapia tonight, that was pan seared and served with herbed couscous with a provencal sauce.  Chef Capasso's version is prepared with a shellfish broth with fresh herbs and finished with just a bit of wine and cream.  Zelda loved this dish, and from the taste that I go, I thought it worked very well also.  This was then topped with a sauteed spinach, and pea tendrils.  Overall, another great tilapia dish, and one that I would definitely order in the future!  Usually however, I order one of the more exotic meats that is on the menu, and tonight was no different as you will see below!

For my entree, I selected the Blackbird Crispy Duck Leg Confit, with chocroute (French technique for saurkraut), pomme puree (mashed potatoes), jus de canarde.  This was absolutely amazing, and some of the best duck I had ever had.  First, the duck is salt cured, and then cooked in its own juices for a long period of time, making the duck tender, and the skin crispy!  The duck separated and shredded from the bone with no effort whatsoever.  This was served over a bed of mashed potatoes, topped with the chocroute.  For their chocroute, Chef Capasso uses bacon and beer to braise the cabbage, which had a deliciously sweet, but also very pungent flavor.  This rocked!  Another awesome element about this dish was the crispy skin!  All I can say is wow....perfection!  And let me tell ya there was more than enough to go around with two good sized legs.  For the price of this entree, this was an absolute bargain, and the red wine stock really added a nice element to the gravy for this dish.  I had ZERO room for dessert!

Overall, what is there to say other than awesome here?  After two months away with the Air Force, it was a pleasure to visit West Side Gravy/Blackbird for a great meal!  All in all, another awesome night.  And I have to say, I was craving a massive wine tonight, so I dug deep into the cellar and grabbed a 2006 Mollydooker Carnival of Love shiraz.  Not a wine that I typically care for, but tonight it hit the spot.  Far from perfect pairing for the menu that we had, but it definitely worked, and my palate was happy.  Yikes, did I just admit that?  Cheers!  -F. Scott

West Side Gravy
714 Haddon Avenue
Collingswood, NJ  08108
Phone:  (856)854-3444 and

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