Monument Lane

Executive Chef: Steve Dustin
Cuisine: Local / Seasonal / Sustainable
Vibe: Casual / Cozy / Neighborhood feel
Location: 103 Greenwich Avenue (at West 12th Street)
Website: Monument Lane

I always love dining at Monument Lane. The food is amazing, the service is incredibly friendly, and the atmosphere is so comfortable — it feels like an extension of my own home. During this visit I’m happy to introduce two of my favorite foodies, SaraDISH and Blynner, to Chef Steve Dustin’s fresh, seasonal menu. Dishes that I could eat over and over again: salt hake pierogies (these were insanely good — I want more right now), grilled elk striploin (I don’t usually eat lean meat, but this elk was amazing), duck confit (so tender that it fell off the bone), braised grass-fed beef brisket (I’m a sucker for good brisket), and the spaetzle (I housed this side order almost entirely by myself). So great to see Chef Steve and Josh (general manager) — these guys are the best. Many thanks for another fantastic meal!

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Crispy Chickpeas  

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Chickpea & Brussels Sprout amuse bouche

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Salt Hake Pierogies, frisée, creme fraiche, garlic chips 

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Wild Arugula, blood orange, walnut, poppyseed dressing

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New Jersey Burrata, kabocha squash, red watercress & pumpkin seeds

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Grilled Elk Striploin, parsnip purée, concord grape gastrique 

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Smoked Bluefish Dip

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Spaetzle w/ sage & brown butter

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Duck Confit, navy bean ragout, escarole, cipollini onion, Aleppo pepper

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Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket, turnips, fingerlings, rutabaga, heirloom carrots

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Fuji apples

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The dining room

Monument Lane

Monument Lane

So excited to be back at Monument Lane, and even more excited to introduce this awesome spot to my beautiful sister! We are in luck tonight because it’s Whiskey Wednesday AND Chef Steve Dustin is doing a Summer Barbecue Series. On the menu: Beef brisket with cornbread and corn on the cob. There’s nothing I love more than a fatty piece of juicy brisket! :-) We started out with a nice whiskey flight — bourbon for me, scotch for my sis — before chowing down on some amazing eats. Totally loved the chilled canteloupe soup, crispy pork belly, heirloom tomatoes, duck confit, beef tongue, roasted eggplant, summer squash, and, of course, the beef brisket! I’m so proud of my sister for trying the beef tongue — she loved it! I always feel right at home when I’m at ML, thanks to Chef Steve’s insanely good food and his awesome team. Thanks again for a wonderful meal!

Monument Lane: 103 Greenwich Ave (between West 12th and Jane Street)

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Bell’s Oberon Ale

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Crispy chickpeas

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Bourbon Tasting for me

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Scotch Tasting for my sister

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Amuse bouche: Chilled canteloupe soup

Crispy Pork Belly, blueberry compote, cornbread crumble, pickled onion

Heirloom Tomatoes, frisée, red onion, mint vinaigrette

Duck Confit, crimini, scallion, lentil salad, spruce gastrique

Heritage Pork Tongue, soft farm egg, radish, shallot, purslane, salsa verde

Summer Barbecue Series: Beef Brisket with cornbread and corn on the cob

Roasted Eggplant, Basil & Grana

Grilled Summer Squash with Almond Pesto

Monument Lane

Monument Lane

So happy to be back at Monument Lane with a good buddy of mine who is also a big fan. We arrived in the late afternoon and started off at the bar with bourbon flights consisting of Bulleit, Cisco Nor’easter, and Jefferson’s. Good stuff. With our bourbon, we munched on crispy chick peas with red pepper flakes — one of the best bar snacks I’ve ever had! Before moving to a table for dinner, Chef Steve Dustin brought us down to the kitchen to check out an enormous 300+ pound pig that they had just received. The pig was so huge that it had to be cut in half in order to fit on the shelves in the walk-in refrigerator! Chef Steve and his team utilize every single part of the pig and come up with creatively tasty dishes in the process. Pretty awesome. Back in the dining room, we feasted on one delicious dish after another, beginning with roasted hazelnuts & black garlic purée, Brussels sprouts & Bosc pears, house smoked Catskills trout, escarole & black kale and heirloom carrot soup. That’s quite a few appetizers! We then enjoyed the golden tilefish with watermelon radish & lobster rosemary butter, spaetzle with brown butter & sage,  and the special of the night, steak tartare with pickled ramps, which was mixed table side by Chef Steve himself. Along the way, we washed all of this amazing food down with Capt. Lawrence Imperial IPA (a great recommendation from our server) and Bedell Cellars Gewurtztraminer (a treat from AGM Morgan — he’s the best)! A sweet and savory pumpkin cheesecake with graham cracker crust was the perfect end to this fantastic meal. Morgan joined us when we were done and introduced us to a local rye whiskey, McKenzie, which we both loved. Big thanks to Chef Steve, Morgan, and the amazing ML team for a phenomenal evening of good food, good drinks, and good company. Looking forward to the Barbecue Dinner Series coming this summer!

Monument Lane: 103 Greenwich Ave (between West 12th and Jane Street)

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Bourbon flight (Bulleit, Cisco Nor’easter, and Jefferson’s)

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Crispy chick peas with red pepper flakes

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Capt. Lawrence Imperial IPA

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Amuse Bouche: Roasted Hazelnuts with black garlic puree

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Brussels Sprouts with Bosc Pears

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House Smoked Catskills Trout wih lemon zest, fried shallots, watercress, pecans, and horseradish creme fraiche

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Escarole & Black Kale with soft egg, American grana, croutons, and garlic-anchovy dressing

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Special of the night: Steak Tartare with pickled ramps

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All mixed up! Steak Tartare with pickled ramps

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Heirloom Carrot Soup, ginger, roasted Fugi apples, and preserved Meyer lemon oil

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Bedell Cellars Gewurtztraminer

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Golden Tilefish, watermelon radish, green kale, cabbage, and lobster-rosemary butter

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Spaetzle with brown butter & sage

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Pumpkin Cheesecake with graham cracker crust & strawberry preserves

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Thanks, Morgan, for introducing us to this rye whiskey!

Monument Lane

Table Talk with Chef Steve Dustin

Current Gig
Executive Chef, Monument Lane

About the Chef
Chef Steve Dustin started off his culinary career in Michigan at a tiny burger joint. Three months later, he got a job at the 1913 Room in the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, where he worked his way up from room service to fine dining. Chef Steve moved to Atlanta, Georgia to take a job at Canoe, the largest four star restaurant in the country, before coming to New York City to work for Chef David Bouley at Bouley.  He then spent three and a half years as the Sous Chef at The Harrison in Tribeca. Chef Steve decided to take a break from the city and ventured out to Boulder, Colorado where he ran two restaurants, one Latin American and the other Vegetarian. He eventually found his way back to New York City and ran Mesa Grill for Chef Bobby Flay for a year before returning to The Harrison as the Chef de Cuisine for two years. In January 2013, Chef Steve became the Executive Chef at Monument Lane, a casual American restaurant in the West Village that features seasonal and sustainable ingredients from local farms.

Monument Lane: 103 Greenwich Ave (between West 12th and Jane Street)

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Chef Steve Dustin at Monument Lane

Where did you grow up?
I am a Michigan boy. I grew up in the southwest corner of Michigan in a little beach town called South Haven. It’s a tiny tourist town with lots of beach action. I was there for about eighteen years before moving to Grand Rapids. And that’s where I started cooking.

What did you enjoy eating most as a kid?
I love good food. It doesn’t have to be fancy. When I was kid, I was addicted to buffalo chicken wings. And I don’t think much has changed since then! (Laughing) Buffalo chicken wings are my number one favorite thing in the world. (Smiling)

At the moment, what is your favorite ingredient and what do you like to make with it?
Right now, in the fall, it’s all about squash. I’m using pumpkin to make pumpkin bread for brunch, we’ve got acorn squash paired with burrata, and we’re doing a chicken dish with kabocha squash. I have squash all over the menu!

What kitchen items are important for a home cook to own?
You’ve got to have a sharp knife. Besides that, I would recommend getting a good mixer and a good blender. Kitchen Aid mixers have so many great attachments that go with it – you can make pastas and all sorts of things. The blender comes in handy for making soups, purees, and sauces.

If your food were music, what music style(s) would it be and why?
It would have to be the Grateful Dead. I’m a Deadhead and a fan of jam bands. I love the harmonies – when there are so many crazy things going on at once, and they all come together in the end. Kind of like my food. (Laughing)

Where are your favorite places to travel for the cuisine?
Hmm, travel wise, I’d have to say… Brooklyn! (Laughing)  I really like going to Brooklyn because they have some killer barbecue spots. I go to Fette Sau all the time. There are a lot of BBQ spots popping up in the city, but Fette Sau is one of the originals and it’s really good. I also like Southern food.  I lived in Atlanta for three years so I got to know it. I haven’t done a whole lot of international traveling, but I would love to go to Spain. I think Spain is one of the hottest spots in the world for food. They let the food speak for itself and let the ingredients be what they are.

If you had not gone the culinary route, what would you have done instead?
I actually went to college for chemistry and physics. Back then, I was really into science and organic chemistry. I wanted to get into pharmaceuticals – not so much selling them, but trying to make them better and cheaper. But once I started cooking, I fell in love with it. I really enjoy the team aspect of it. It’s kind of like a sports team – everyone works hard and plays hard. I like the artistic side of cooking, too.  So, yeah, I just fell in love with it and went with it!

Which chef do you admire most right now?
I think that with me being here at Monument Lane and this being the first restaurant I’ve worked for that truly focuses on local farm to table and sustainable food, I would have to say Dan Barber. I went to dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns two years ago for my birthday and it was an incredible experience. What an incredible meal! It was crazy to have twelve courses of food and really not have that much meat, just one pork dish. Every other dish consisted of only vegetables. It was really cool that they served single utter butter that they got from one local cow and they knew exactly which cow it came from.  My wife and I went there in June, so it was right when vegetables were starting. It was amazing. I have never had a tasting menu like that before. By the end of it, we felt so good and had eaten so well. Dan Barber is awesome.

When you get a chance to dine out, where do you like to go?
If I have an opportunity to go to a fancy spot, I like to go to Eleven Madison Park. I’ve been to a few places where it felt so formal and stuffy – it was kind of like food church. I didn’t enjoy myself.  Eleven Madison Park really hits the nail on the head with great service and knowing how to read their customers really well. They can have fun with you while you’re enjoying super high end food. One of my favorite go-to spots is dell’anima. It’s open late so I go there after work. The food is awesome – I could go there several times a week and never get bored.

If you had to give up one of the five food groups (Bread & Potatoes; Milk & Dairy; Meat & Fish; Fat & Sugar; Fruits & Vegetables) and could not eat anything from that group for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?
That’s an easy one for me. Carbohydrates! I am not a bread eater or a potato eater and I’m not big into pasta or rice. I love vegetables and I do like meat, although I’ve cut back on it a lot.  What an easy question! (Laughing)

Table Talk with Chef Steve Dustin

Monument Lane [lunch]

Stopped in at Monument Lane for lunch with a co-worker. It’s rare that we have the time to step out for a real meal, so this was quite a treat for us. I chose the soup & half entree combo for $15 — a great deal for both the quality and quantity of food served. I had one of the best soups of my life: celery root with chives and country bread croutons. It was creamy, silky, smooth, and incredibly flavorful. I couldn’t get enough! That was followed by a hearty portion of the pork schnitzel with braised kale, carrots, and parsnip mash. The pork was crispy and delicious and perfectly complemented by the tasty vegetables. My lunch companion ordered the burger, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Lunch at Monument Lane rocks!

Monument Lane: 103 Greenwich Ave (between West 12th and Jane Street)

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Celery root soup with chives and country bread croutons

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Heritage Pork Schnitzel, braised kale, heirloom baby carrots, parsnip mash, and spiced vinegar

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The dining room

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The bar

Monument Lane [lunch]

Monument Lane

So glad that I recently discovered Monument Lane, a casual neighborhood restaurant in the West Village. Executive Chef Steve Dustin uses fresh ingredients from local farmers who promote sustainable practices and is always creating new dishes, depending on what’s in season. Fun fact: ML is named after the road, Monument Lane, that existed back in the 1700’s & 1800’s, now known to us as Greenwich Avenue, where the restaurant is located. My dining companion and I sampled a few different alcoholic beverages, starting with a Bronx Brewery Pale Ale, a cask ale made especially for ML and served at room temperature (loved it) and ending with a couple glasses of bourbon and a white rum distilled in Brooklyn called Owney’s. We’re normally not rum fans, but Owney’s was super smooth and tasted great with nothing added to it except a single ice cube. For dinner, we enjoyed a variety of tasty dishes: honeycrisp apple salad with smoked trout mousse (amazing), corn risotto with bacon and mascarpone (our favorite dish of the night), crispy pork salad (my first time eating pig ear — it was delicious!), and the grilled half chicken and pan-roasted hake (both were incredibly fresh and flavorful). A big thank you to Morgan, the AGM, for all of his awesome recommendations and introducing us to Owney’s! Can’t wait to meet Chef Steve Dustin next time. :)

Monument Lane: 103 Greenwich Ave (between West 12th and Jane Street)

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Bronx Brewery Pale Ale (primed with caraway and crystal hops for Monument Lane)

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Honeycrisp apples, watercress, smoked trout mousse, pink peppercorn, shallots, and pecan vinaigrette

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New Jersey Corn Risotto, shiitakes, house bacon, mâché, mascarpone, and toasted pumpkin seeds

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Crispy Pork Salad, chopped farm egg, sliced pig ear, breakfast radish, and chili-lime vinaigrette

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Grilled Half Chicken, sweet corn, summer squash, treviso, and smoked tomato purée

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Pan-roasted Hake, lobster mushrooms, sugar snap peas, new crop apples, and heirloom carrot

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Bourbon Sarsaparilla Float with pistachio ice cream

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The dining room

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The dining room

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Owney’s white rum 

Monument Lane