So, I have this Google map that is full of gold stars for places we want to try. Most of the restaurants come from Eater or the New York Times – two websites with reviews I trust. Using the map, we rarely have a bad meal in NYC. My system failed me this weekend. Bessou was available as a last minute reservation on a Saturday night – maybe this should have been a sign. The menu looked promising, so we booked it.
The sake was the best part of the meal, but it wasn’t outstanding for the price. We ordered three dishes from the starters: shiso walnut cigars, Japanese pickles, and brussels sprouts gomae. The pickles were nice – crisp and vinegary. The cigars were lackluster, and the brussels sprouts had little to do with gomae, except the sesame seeds tossed into the mix. We happened to be sitting at the bar and saw the huge amount of dressing tossed into the brussels sprouts, but it was obvious from the pools of it on the plate.
The chefs were heavy handed with the butter, oil, and sauces, relying on them to create the flavor. With only two shishito peppers in the blistered shishito and green bean dish, the dressing was the star, but it was still lathered on a bit thick. The scallop hotpot was disappointing, with nearly flavorless scallops, salmon, and bacon in a broth that was only flavorful because of the large amounts of butter it contained.
We left feeling that we had wasted both money and calories on a subpar meal. Life is too short to eat mediocre food, so we won’t be back to Bessou.