688 Franklin Ave
What a pleasure this place is. It is one of those restaurants that you feel should be on every corner in NY but, it is just not the case. Perhaps they are so good at making it look effortless, you almost take them for granted.
The menu is perfectly balanced, the type of place you can take your 80 year old grandparents, or a 5 year old child. There is something for everyone and we are not talking about people just settling, the food is good.
You can sit around around and order oysters, or ceviche, you can get homemade pastas, a steak, a whole trout, a plate of mussels, some fish and chips, steak tartare, a couple of sandwiches, or smoked eggplant with faro. Not to mention, I think tonight, they were offering 7 different vegetarian dishes. Every dish is something i could be in the mood for. Nothing cutting edge or over thought out concepts, it's just classic dishes, prepared how they should be.
i have heard different things about where the chef's come from.. Miss A told me tonight, two of the guys worked at Ouest, I read somewhere the owner worked at Stone Park.
I started with the most adventurous sounding dish, grilled pork belly, with grilled octopus and white beans. Bacon was very crispy, the octopus was also grilled well, a simple beans and greens in a sauce, It was well, my least favorite dish and it was still very nice.
Miss A started with a leek salad. I did not really pay much attention to the salad as i was once again breaking my vegetarian diet.
Miss K started with a cup of coffee and a steak tartare. The steak tartare was very nicely prepared.. Served with a ton of toast points. Tartare was very fresh ground beef, perhaps 4 or 5 ounces. It was tossed with a little mustard, some cornichons and some tarragon. Topped with a cracked quail egg. Lovely dish. Was not over produced or drowned in sauce. They offered a sour cream horseradish sauce that did nothing for the tartare. Thoughtfully served on the side. Dare i say the tartare was light and refreshing? French press coffee for 3 bucks.
For dinner I had the whole trout. It was deboned with the head on. In most cases, I have had the fish deboned and kept whole and pan seared.. In this case, it was roasted. Skin was a little less crispy then I would have liked but, it was nicely roasted.. Served with a very delicious and expertly made bernaise sauce. Loved the fresh tarragon..
Miss A got the whole belly clams. These are the best whole belly clams I have had in recent memory. I have to think back to Johnny Ad's in CT, or some clam shack up route one to even consider a challenger. They were battered yet, the beautiful texture of the whole belly clam remained. Crispy and fried but, then the belly bursts with all it's briny lusciousness.
We also ordered the corn pudding or spoon bread. It was a custard corn cake that both excelled in taste and texture.
We had a couple of drinks from their smart beer list.. Miss A also had a cocktail, i don't recall what it was. But 12 dollars seems to be the new norm.
All in all, this place is wonderful.. i want to go back and try most of the menu. We sat right by the kitchen and got to watch all the dishes come out. The burger looked great, as did the fried quail and I would highly recommend the trout for anyone that would be into that.
I could see myself eating here 2 to 3 times a month.