Review pheasant infuses wild elements into neighborhood bistro fare – eater ny gas unlimited sugar land tx


Pheasant’s 16-item menu is one of those that doesn’t really distinguish between apps and mains, and some of the former can function as light meals, especially if you’re not too hungry. The bill of fare incorporates diverse and sometimes wild Mediterranean elements into such bistro commonplaces as hanger steak, seasonal vegetables, roast chicken, a twisted burger, quirky salads, and “day boat” halibut.

Take a favorite seasonal vegetable — thick-stalked asparagus — perfect in its freshness and snap. You almost wouldn’t recognize it at Pheasant. The rods have been lightly battered like tempura, flash fried so no limpness results, then scattered on the plate with puffy buttons of potato mousse and cooling slices of ham. Ham? Yes, and not prosciutto, either, but good old American smoked ham like your mom or dad might have put in your sandwich if you grew up in the Midwest. The dish ($11) is summery dining perfection, and might be the best thing on the menu.

Is that menu overly creative? Not for me. I enjoyed the Fez salad; it douses greens and vegetables with a carrot-cumin vinaigrette. I also loved a red endive salad that added pecans and goat cheese to the crunchy lettuce, and swamped them in a sherry vinaigrette that was thicker and more opaque than its name suggests. It’s a dish that disappeared from the menu last week but will be back next year, when the seasons change again.

That dish really just shows that you can’t go wrong picking vegetables as your meal at Pheasant. This is especially true with the single vegetarian entrée ($18) — itself an inviolable trope of neighborhood bistro menus. Here, it is based on boxcars of polenta that have been deep fried, resulting in audible crunch and a supremely corny flavor. You’ll be teasing them out from their forest of ‘shrooms as you sop up the ramp chimichurri with the focaccia ($6) you should have ordered at the commencement of the meal. Asparagus fritto with ham

As if to balance out the vegetarian entrée, a juicy hamburger is also available, but not just any hamburger. It comes with slices of kielbasa on top, maybe to remind you what lurks on the other side of the BQE. (Answer: Polish Greenpoint). And the burger isn’t the messiest thing on the menu: One upping Buffalo, a plate of chicken wings comes so drenched in scarlet sauce that it will leave fingers, face, and shirtfront comically smeary. Moist wipes are provided.

As with many bistros of this sort, the larger dishes can seem a bit flat compared with the smaller ones. A nicely-browned half chicken comes on a bed of yellow rice with a dipping sauce and side salad. While perfectly satisfying and plenty of food at the price ($21), it doesn’t really light a fire under your tastebuds. Similarly, a large plate of hanger steak cuts plenty of medium rare meat into big cubes, but leaves you wishing the steak had been left intact without the distraction of roasted turnips.

But these are small quibbles on a menu whose excitement is deeply ingrained, one of those where the challenge is not finding something you want to eat, but in eliminating those dishes that don’t sound quite as good as others. Ultimately, my only regret after several visits was that there’s no pheasant on the menu at Pheasant.