On our final night in NYC for this trip, we decided to try another of the local eateries on the Lower East Side that have been around for a few years but still creating a bit of buzz. The Fat Radish describes itself as having ‘modern British’ influences. The menu read well and it was a short walk from our apartment, so we wandered down Orchard Street in the early evening.

It’s a pleasant enough spot; there’s a single table just inside the store front, followed by a bar and a largish dining room. We were one of the early diners this particular evening and were shown to a table for two down the back, near a frosted skylight which gave the room a nice illumination. Ordering an IPA and a glass of Prosecco, we settled in with a complimentary dish of (fat?) radishes and olive tapenade and perused the menu.

Despite the ‘British’ references, Greedy Girl was of a mind to have a hamburger; she’d read that the bacon cheeseburger here, served with duck fat chips, was a staple. Settling on that, gluttonous husband suggested we take a few smaller plates to share beforehand. Done.

At this point, we were relatively comfortable. No-one was sitting near us and even though the day was warm, the temperature in the restaurant was fine. Gluttonous husband enjoyed the radishes although Greedy Girl hoped for a little more tapenade. Still, we weren’t there for the amuse bouche.

Where to eat Lower East Side Fat Radish

Fat radishes with tapenade

Telling the waitress we intended to share each dish, we asked if they could be served one at a time. She furrowed her brow and suggested bringing two at a time, and then the burger last on its own. Hmmm. Okey dokey. We didn’t want to make a fuss but we thought perhaps the scotch egg we’d ordered might be a small bite. Hah. Both it and the grilled cheese (the first two plates up) were enormous. Clearly the waitress could see by the look on our faces that we weren’t impressed. She immediately offered to bring all the remaining dishes separately.

The scotch egg was served with cornichons and seeded mustard and the grilled cheese sandwich with pickles. In Greedy Girl’s humble opinion, the grilled cheese needed the seeded mustard. Still, the scotch egg was well cooked (the egg yolk was runny) and it was tasty. One would need to love scotch eggs to finish an entire serving because it was rather substantial. The grilled cheese did what it said on the box. It was a crunchy, crusty toasted cheese sandwich. Perfectly edible. The flavour didn’t exactly wow but all good to start.

Where to eat Lower East Side Fat Radish

An enormous scotch egg

Where to eat Lower East Side Fat Radish

Could it be any more of a grilled cheese sandwich?

Next up was a refreshing dish, pictured at the top of this post, garden state tomatoes with sheep’s milk cheese. It was a nice foil for the heaviness of the two starters but the tomatoes didn’t have a huge ‘whack’ of flavour. There wasn’t enough of the cheese and, as a result, the dish lacked a bit of seasoning. The addition of the herb was unexpected. We asked what it was and received the answer: “purslane”. This is a type of succulent but it added nothing to the dish. It was a bit limp and sad and without any discernible taste. Some lovely fresh basil would have worked a treat.

We then moved to another of the restaurant’s specialties, peekytoe crab gratin with leeks, aged white cheddar and sherry. The smell of the sherry was delightful and this was a good dish. The crab (also known as Atlantic Rock crab) was chunky and cooked perfectly. We were a bit over bread by this point so the slices of sourdough were a bit of carb overload but, nonetheless, very enjoyable.

Where to eat Lower East Side Fat Radish

Peekytoe crab gratin

Last up was the bacon cheeseburger with duck fat chips. Gluttonous husband makes duck fat chips at home so we were keen to try these.

Allow Greedy Girl to digress for a moment; several times when we’ve had the pleasure of eating at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (in either Melbourne or London), we’ve asked for his noted triple-cooked chips. Often, our hopes have been dashed because the right kind of potatoes were not available. To paraphrase George Orwell: “not all potatoes are equal” – especially when it comes to cuisine. These duck-fat chips were a huge disappointment. The potatoes were exceptionally floury and there wasn’t even any crispness on the outside to give a textural counterpoint. We each tried a wedge and left the remainder after the first bite.

The burger, in Greedy Girl’s opinion, wasn’t much better, although gluttonous husband ate his half. She found the meat texture to be a bit odd, almost watery. The one saving grace on the plate was the crispy bacon. Most of this course, however went uneaten. The plates were removed without any comment or interest from the wait staff. Meh.

Where to eat Lower East Side Fat Radish

Bacon cheeseburger with duck fat chips

We drained the drinks, paid our bill and looked to depart. The restaurant by now was exceptionally crowded; the tables for two along one wall (of which we were one) were so close together we felt like we were at a speed dating event. Still, one can’t blame a restaurant for trying to get in as many covers as it can.

This wasn’t a high point on which to leave NYC, sadly, but it could have been a lot worse. It’s a shame wait staff don’t engage more with their customers to gain valuable feedback for the kitchen.

The Fat Radish

The Foodie World star rating
17 Orchard Street, NYC (Lower East Side)
The Fat Radish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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