Friday, February 1, 2013


Paula Deen is from  Georgia.  Kyle Knall, from its nearby neighbor, Alabama.  And while Maysville is named after a town in Kentucky, all of the above seem to be joined at the hip.  The main reason I was driven to visit Maysville was from a quote from Village Voice's Tejal Rao's review, stating Knall was trained under and shared Gramercy Tavern's chef Michael Anthony's "reverence for local vegetables, always accompanying  moderate portions of meat with several kinds of beans, greens, mushrooms, and tubers, and often pickling whatever is growing at the moment to elevate and brighten a dish."  You know how I loves me my veggies.  Well, maybe he reveres them so much he's keeping them all to himself, 'cause the only ones evident on the menu at Maysville were so hyper-blitzed and buttered they began sharing the same nutritional profile as your average brisket.  

Which makes sense given the Alabama influence, but not so much the Gramercy Tavern affect.  The dining rooms of both have a similar modernized, spiffed-up barnyard chic, but here is a bit lighter inside with ivory painted walls and huge, pencil-sketched murals of horses across from the glowing wall of whiskey behind the bar.  That's where any similarities end.  Our server was chipper verging on saccharine, but just this side of it so his enthusiasm remained endearing.  I know I should've sampled a whiskey cocktail since that is practically the point of the joint, but apparently I didn't decide quickly enough.  By the time our appetizers arrived, I was already thankful for my hesitance: it looked like these was going to be some gut-busting victuals, and probably I wasn't going to have room for extraneous alcohol.  (I was right.)  But depending on your constitution, whiskey (or wine: they have an admirable and extensive wine list) might help the food go down a little easier.  In fact, the best way probably to approach Maysville is for drinks and a sharing of plates as bar snacks.  This is no rabbit food.  

We tried to start off a lightly as possible with a brussels sprouts salad (described by Rao as "fine" in "just enough lemon and buttermilk dressing"), which was anything but fine or just.  The dressing certainly wasn't the problem;  its quantity was appropriate and it did its best to  brighten the otherwise slaughtered pile of fried leaves, fraternizing with dice-sized chunks of crispy pig's ear and an incoherent hard boiled quail's egg, covered in a thick shroud of finely shredded parmesan on top a smear of that dressing.  The white of that egg hovering on the periphery actually cut some of the richness, but adding the yolk almost induced wooziness.  Eating that whole plate would be like eating an entire bag of potato chips.  Kettle cooked.  With cheese.  One bite, delicious.  Two, satiety.  Three incites incredulity that there are still about thirty-seven bites left to go and probably you're still planning on entertaining a main course. 
 A more prudent choice is the winter vegetable salad, but this too could easily serve as a dainty lunch in itself.  A melange of roasted beets, sunchokes and turnips pile atop a mound of earthy black quinoa nestled in thick, whipped goat cheese with a flourish of savory peanut brittle.


Paired with the scrumptious little corn muffins provided upon seating, this could be a lunch.    The first pone I tried was a bit doughy in the center at first bite, but they are so piping hot that their residual heat cooks them a table, attaining the perfect texture as their heat dissipates 'til they reach a consumble temperature.  So just hold off for two shakes of a whisker (or until your appetizers arrive). 

After a small muffin and that gut-bomb salad, I was already not really hungry for more food.  But entrees arrived, and they were at least modest in portion.  But not spartan, not in the least.  A crispy chicken 
 leg & roulade was just that, an elongated drumstick crusted bronze with a nugget of white meat furled with herbs.  Crispy skin addicts will appreciate his proficiency here.  They straddle roasted Ruby Crescent potatoes strewn with lightly marinated mushrooms, which provided some headway in cutting the richness of everything on the plate. 

 Flounder swam in an unctuous sauce of what seemed to be an emulsification of butter and... butter.  "Grilled" calamari wasn't grilled at all but either poached or steamed, surrounded by thick, pink ribbons of gently smoked ham (not that you could taste much smoke given its submersion) and some token discs of sunchoke and mild salsify that were all but lost in the sauce.  No side dishes are offered- not that my stomach could've taken much more volume of anything, anyways, but the vegetation might have been appreciated.  Especially since Knall's pedigree should qualify him to muster up something nice with them.  

Onto dessert, we tried one just to try one, obviously going for the lightest possible option.  And thankfully, it succeeded with flying colors.  Light, yes, and refreshing, a snowy apple granita mounded atop small cubes of myriad varietals of raw, candied and roasted apple.  I actually think I felt my stomach offer up a little cheer of appreciation for the respite from grease.  And I'm sure the bread pudding would have been solid, given his credentials, and the heft of the rest of the menu.  Or else, finish off your meal with any of the vast choices of whiskeys.  A good, stiff shot might just cut through all that fat. 

17 W. 26th Street, Between 6th AveNUE & BroadwaY, Near N R F M 1 Trains

tel.  646-490-8240

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