Chef Margaret LaVetty Has Fun at Pounds & Ounces in New York

Unexpected food and entertainment abounds at Chelsea eatery Pounds & Ounces
Pounds & Ounces

The kumquat baby back ribs at Pounds & Ounces in New York City.

Pounds & Ounces is known for its sleek, swirling communal table; breathtaking seasonal floral arrangements; and fun, shareable appetizers. For March, management decided to shake things up a bit, debuting both a new menu and a new tradition called Musical Mondays, in which a D.J. “spins” music videos and taped musical performances (last week was awards show night, so the rotation was heavy on Neil Patrick Harris).

We chuckled over 1990s music videos and griped over Justin Timberlake’s 20 minute 2013 VMA performance (you know, the one where he brought Nsync on stage for a whole 90 seconds), but the real showstoppers were the sharable plates that landed on the table one after the other.

We started with oyster deviled eggs made with cornmeal-crusted bivalves. At first, I was nervous; this sounded like a potential Frankenfood. Fortunately, it works quite well, since the lightly breaded oyster balanced atop the mousse-like yolk gives it a nice crunch.

Next came the waffle-battered chicken pops, a four-bite snack served on an actual chicken bone, followed by sticky and succulent kumquat baby back ribs, which fell right off of their petite bone. The baby Osso Bucco was also irresistible in bite-sized form, just as hearty as its traditional mother dish. I felt like a bit of a heathen eating the head off an entire grilled baby octopus, but I was a satisfied heathen who licked her garlicky lips as she got ready to try the maple curry salmon skewers, which were just the right amount of sweet and spicy.

The chef responsible for these dishes is as quirky as you’d expect her to be, and she’s looking to have a little fun after thirty years working in kitchens from Miami to Los Angeles across multiple types of cuisine.

“I want it to be fun, but not weird. I don’t use 90,000 ingredients, because weird is not cool,” said chef Margaret LaVetty.

I’m not much of a dessert-lover, but I became one for the sake of the lavender ice cream sandwiches and a chocolate pretzel parfait. If you don’t have room, force yourself. 

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