At Buster’s Café, one of my favorite restaurants, I’m always greeted warmly by the owner, Fidel Hernandez. I’m often there at 6:00 on Fridays — I have an hour in between Kehillat Romemu’s late afternoon band rehearsal and the rockin’ 7:00 Kabbalat Shabbat service, in which I play percussion.
Fidel and his partner, chef Glenn Trickel, always make something delicious. Last Friday, they recommended the “Spatinental” chicken burger. It was so beautiful I had to photograph it before eating it. Made from free-range chicken from Griggstown Quail Farm and Market in Princeton, the burger — seasoned with fresh herbs and grilled — was served atop a multicolored salad of organic heirloom tomatoes from Chickadee Creek Farm in Pennington, NJ. And the amazing price: $7.95. How often can you have a satisfying meal and get change from from a $10?
“’Spatinental is a concept that was influenced by the heart-healthy food movement,” explains Fidel. “We use the ‘pure’ methods of cooking: grilling, poaching, searing, oven-roasting, with local, organic meats and poultry, then pair them with healthy greens, fruits, nuts, cheeses, and vegetables. Food should not be too complicated, but treated with care and respect. It should not intimidate, it should inspire.”
Formerly executive chefs in the Equitable corporate dining room, Fidel and Glenn opened Buster’s last year. Next time you’re on the Upper West Side, stop by 892 Amsterdam Ave. between 103rd and 104th Streets. And stop by their web site right now: bustersnyc.com. PS: The photograph on their site of the tomatoes — I took it last January in La Boqueria market in Barcelona. It was my gift for so many tasty, healthy meals.