36 Peck Slip
New York, NY 10038
The first time I heard of Nelson Blue was from my friend Jenn. Is this because Nelson is a relatively new resto(only three years old) and I’ve been living in Florida for at least a year and a half since it opened? Is it because Nelson Blue is NYC’s first New Zealand restaurant and bar (really, how is that possible?)? Or is it because I am relatively ignorant of everything New Zealand, except that (a) it is next to Australia, (b)some/most scenes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy were shot there, (c) Peter Jackson is from NZ and (d) the comedic duo of Bret and Jemaine of Flight of the Conchords are also kiwis (thanks to Jenn, now I know that kiwi’s are not just short for kiwifruit or the flightless birds; Kiwi’s are also people).
I am definitely in need of culturalizing myself about this country and its beautiful people, and the first step is to pay Nelson Blue a visit. The restaurant is located around the corner from the South Street Seaport (corner of Front & Peck Slip) with an outdoor seating that provides a view of the Brooklyn Bridge (always a plus!). The place was pretty packed as the televisions were tuned in to the 2010 FIFA World Cup (South Africa) Netherlands vs. Spain. Kelly and I did managed to squeeze among the crowd (men mostly) to find our friends Christine, Jenn and Sonja. As we sat down, I noticed that we were sharing half of our table with a husband and his wife and their toddler who was taking a nap (inside the bar, during World Cup ?? I guess this kid is a deep-sleeper. Oh I’m jealous!).
Kelly and I were coming from our Nike Bunker Loop Challenge 5K Run and Christine and Jenn from their bike ride, so we were famished and parched. We ordered beer (lol. we did asked for glasses of water as well), although I should have tried their New Zealand focused wine list. It’s just that really cold beer in a hot, humid day goes so well together. Our food order were delivered in a timely manner, the wait staff were friendly and helpful the entire time. Christine and I shared the following dishes:
Fried Eggs Club – sandwich that’s layered with fried eggs, smear of avocado, roasted tomato, bacon, lettuce and curried, (a lil spicy) mayo on toasted (your choice of) bread, served with pickles. I love putting ketchup on my egg sandwich, but the roasted tomato in here is definitely a great alternative, especially having the smooth, creamy and a bit buttery taste of the avocado and the spice on the curried mayo layered in this sandwich. I would definitely order this again.
Mac & Cheese – this was an ample portion, for a bargain price of $6.00, this dish was shared by 5 hungry ladies. It’s not the best mac & cheese in my book (and I’ve eaten enough of this dish for the past 5 years, whatever city I’m visiting, I’d search for restaurant/s that serves mac and cheese, so I can give it a try.) but its cheesy enough, they used elbow macaroni (good pick!) and sprinkled with tiny pieces of fresh scallions. Coming from a 5K Run (a course that has a leg called dead man’s hill/hang – eeekkk), this carb-loaded dish was what I needed. Not the best, but it’s a solid dish and for just $6 – you can’t go wrong.
Braised Beef sliders – this was the best dish that I tried from Nelson Blue. The braised beef was very tender and generous (yes, you can see from the picture of the dish here that the beef is actually thicker than the fresh mini ciabatta.. Seriously awesome!). With caramelized onions, soft fontina cheese (yum, more cheese =) and tasty barbeque sauce, this dish was delicious. The combination of soft Italian fontina cheese and the American flavors of the barbecue sauce and the braised beef, a bit of sweet taste from the caramelized onions all squeezed inside a fresh Italian bread – it’s pretty amazing. You gotta let this taste linger in your mouth for a couple of minutes or so before washing it down with that oh so refreshing cold beer. I highly recommend this dish, it is a bit pricey, 3 sliders for $15 – but every bite was delightfully worthy of every dollar spent.
We stayed wwwaayyy after finishing our meal. We made our way to the cute enough bar from the cozy tables (loud but friendly fellow diners, so it’s all good). Service is always friendly and attentive – Brian, the bartender happily charged my dying iPhone for me! He even stopped charging his own phone to let me cut in, that’s probably because I told him that if my iPhone dies, I might suffer from a cardiac arrest. (I know, any bartender that gives that kind of service is heaven sent. And yes, like I said, we stayed waaayyy too long at Nelson’s that my phone batt needed to be charged.)
This is a great place to just hang out, chill with friends, it’s possibly good for dates (ladies, just try not to stare and flirt too much with the cute bartender Brian) definitely fun for groups and expect some hangovers! This place is a great representation of New Zealand – so great that we ended up (while on the tipsy side at this point) planning a girls' trip to New Zealand in 2011…… Watch out kiwi’s =)