Molten Cheese Croutons
983 – Bushwick’s Living Room
983 Flushing Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11206
★★★★★

983 earns its title of “Bushwick’s Living Room.” The venue gets hipster points for sporting exposed-filament bulbs and featuring works from local artists. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I heard someone drop the term “bespoke” in earnest.

The menu is eclectic. It’s Mexican meets Italian meet New American meets a crowd of people at the farmer’s market. Walking into 983 we had high hopes. The dish we were about to taste was a such a twist on traditional mozzarella sticks that it wasn’t even listed under appetizers—it was a salad. Excitedly we read the description: Caesar salad — parmesan cheese, romaine lettuce, molten croutons.


THE CROUTONS

When the salad arrived we took a minute to stare in awe at its beauty. It was served in a gorgeous ceramic bowl. The romaine was sliced to crisp perfection, healthily dressed, and dotted with what one could only hope was the star of the dish — the molten cheese croutons.


As we continued to stare, something didn't sit quite right. Perhaps I was preoccupied by the fact we had indeed ordered a salad, but after a moment, it hit me, the croutons looked as pale as raw panko. I tasted a crouton in isolation first and dissapointment quickly set in. The label “crouton" here is a completely misused. I expected a major crunch factor, but got a limp cheese ball. We began to think... did they commit the cardinal sin? We’re they... microwaved?! I’ll be honest and say that the cheese within the crouton was a top notch blend of something along the lines of mozzarella, ricotta and cheddar. While the stretch and gooeyness were on point, it was incredibly difficuly to look past the flimsy outer shell.


THE DRESSING

The Caesar dressing was dominated a mayo flavor and lacked the saltiness and dimension you'd expect. Even a dusting of parmesan couldn’t save the dressing. When writing this review, we took a look at the menu as it appears on 983’s website. Two things of note when compared with the menu at the restaurant: the price of the caesar salad had increased by $2 and the mention of “anchovies” was removed from the description.


THE TAKEAWAY

After a few forkfuls of romaine and another couple croutons, I came to the depressing realization that the lettuce had more crunch by comparison. We split the salad, but we couldn’t finish it. Something about globs of mayo and flaccid cheese balls made us lose our appetites.


THE BREAKDOWN

Price $12 for salad
Crispiness
★★★★★
Breading
★★★★★
Cheese
★★★★★
Gooeyness
★★★★★
Dip
★★★★★
Presentation
★★★★★
Overall
★★★★★