Sunday, January 29, 2006

January 27, 2006 Dinner at Cafe Drake

Cafe Drake hosted a small, intimate dinner this weekend, serving a long, leisurely-paced meal which allowed plenty of time to catch up with old friends, and get to know better new ones we love already. (See above photos from our Tropical Winter Dinner - Hi Miki!) The meal was a big hit so we're offering the menu here on the Cafe Drake site.

Rum & Blood Orange Spritzers
Nuts & Goat Gouda
Javanese Chicken Curry with Mangoes & Cilantro
Mashed Plantains
Homemade Tangerine Sorbet
Bittersweet Chocolate

Meet the Boss of Cafe Drake

The official mascot of Cafe Drake, Sailor Page, is a finicky cat of impecable taste. Never a shy creature, Sailor always assumes his rightful place at the dinner table - once a chair has temporarily been vacated. Before that, he warms the hearts of all visitors as the food and drinks warm their stomachs, perpetually circling the group on a patrol, making certain the high standards are being maintained. And patiently waiting for the guests to finish their meals so he may sample the evening's fare. It should come as no surprise that Sailor is partial to fish preparations, but also fond of cream-based sauces and roasted poultry.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dining with Octavio

After 11 years of laughter, thrills and chills, Cafe Drake is still swinging the front doors wide open for our treasured guest, Mr. Octavio Fenech. Growing older as gracefully as Cafe Drake itself, Octavio is always guaranteed one of the best tables in the house. Very recently we sat down and enjoyed a light-heartedly reflective evening with Octavio - photos are above. And while your on the internet, click over to his swish site - It's a comprehensive photographic look at a sliver of after-hours life in New York.

Fish is always on the menu when Octavio visits, so below we have listed one of current favorite methods of preparation. Like all recipes here at Cafe Drake it's a breeze to put together, and sure to win accolades from all your guests.


6 small fillets of flounder / Salt and White Pepper / 5 T. butter / 1 1/2 cups dry vermouth / 2 chopped shallots / Heavy Cream / 1 1/2 cups white seedless grapes

  1. Season fillets with salt and pepper. Place in a large saucepan or skillet with 2 T. butter, the vermouth and shallots. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 10 minutes. No longer!
  2. With a spatula carefully move fillets to a large shallow casserole dish. Cook liquid remaining in saucepan until reduced by 2/3 of its original amount. Add the remaining 3 T. butter, stir and add heavy cream until desired consistency. Pour this sauce over the fillets.
  3. Arrange grapes around the fillets in the casserole dish. Brown under a hot broiler. The fish should reach a just golden color and then be removed. Careful not to overbrown or burn! Move all to a warm platter and serve at once.

Asdis in NY and Icelandic Revisionist Cuisine

We were fortunate enough this week to have dear friend of Cafe Drake, Asdis Gunnarsdottir, all to ourselves one evening during her short visit to New York. Longtime and treasured friends Thordis and Hrafnhildur also joined us for drinks and appetizers. As the photos indicate above, and true to our word, Cafe Drake was not stingy with the sauce! In honor of these beloved Ladies of the North, presented below is our recipe for homemade gravlax. The following preparation has never failed us yet, and thin slices, atop corn cakes, blinis or rye toast will be certain to impress your guests (your non-Icelandic ones anyway).


4 tblsp. fine salt / 1/2 tsp. ground pepper / 1 tsp. fennel / 3 tblsp. dill weed (fresh) / 2 medium-size filets of salmon

Mix all spices together. Apply an even layer of the mix on the fish. Wrap each fillet in plastic wrap and then in kitchen foil, skin down. Leave in the refrigerator for 4 days. Remove the gravlax from the packaging and gently scrape off the spice mix. Cut the fish into very thin diagonal slices, across the fillet, and serve on toast with mustard-dill sauce.

[You probably won't have leftovers, but if you should try the salmon chopped finely and stirred into mashed potatoes. Or toss thin slices with heavy cream, butter and warm fettucini for a rich and glorious pasta course.]

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Holidays at Cafe Drake (2005)

The holidays are a busy time at Cafe Drake, and this year was no exception. Above we present a few photos of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners. The company was regal, the bubbly flowing and the food inspired. Happy New Year to all of our visitors and we look forward to filling your tables with more tasty ideas in 2006.