February 13, 2006 | Ask Gael
 Is it the real or discount David Burke at Bloomie's?

        Taste the mellow green apple lobster bisque and those fabulous Asiago truffle fries and you'll believe the real David Burke has been lurking nearby in this stainless steel, smartly checkered canteen. There's a doorman guarding the 59th Street entrance, open 'til 10 p.m., even when the store closes, and impressive wines, many by the half-bottle or glass (Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny at $18). Chunks of tuna and salmon tartare slathered with crème fraîche and my market salad full of crunch and flavor get our $29.95 prix fixe off to a good start. And the Road Food Warrior is happy enough with a smallish portion of garganelli pasta tossed with shrimp, tomato, and prosciutto. But the mac-and-cheese on our braised short ribs is a cheat: not much mac, and the wandering cheese inexplicably piled atop the juicy meat. I wonder what day the kitchen grilled the bird that's on my chicken BLT with sweet garlic. It's almost fossilized. Not that I wouldn't come back. Sliders for lunch? Beef-and-sausage burger? All-natural cowboy chili? Pastrami-smoked salmon tart and petite salad? Yes. Yes. Stylish treats for the jaded shopper. This inspired upscaling of department-store feeding needs only a few therapeutic drop-ins from its peripatetic star chef.

Bloomingdale's, 150 East 59th Street between 3rd & Lexington Avenue 212 813 2121



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