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This is a restaurant that doesn't quite live up to its pretensions. I prefer restaurants that exceed them.

 

This is the restaurant where the Colonie team -- or, more particularly, Designated Chef Brad McDonald -- tries to spread their wings. McDonald Worked At Noma (I don't have the details of whether that means he did more than use their men's room -- but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt) and also at Per Se. This is his chance to get his New Nordic on. But it's boring.

 

You realize it's boring as soon as you walk in. They play '70s easy listening. Fleetwood Mac. Steely Dan. (I love Steely Dan, actually. But only because they were a subtle goof on the rest of the music this place plays. Nobody here seems to get that.) Only when all the other customers had left, and my date and I were closing out the place as usual, did they put on the T. Rex. Boring.

 

The room is nice. But boring. Lots of exposed brick. Different seating levels. A counter on the open kitchen, and one on a wall beneath a mass of plants. We had a two-top.

 

The menu is divided into three savory courses -- either a pleasant aping of the Italian format, or a way of extorting additional food orders from customers. I'll leave it to you.

 

The selections seem attractive enough. I had a hard time choosing. (OTOH, my Celiac date was forced into ordering pig's heart -- which she never would have done if there were more options for her. I was secretly pleased.)

 

I started with a fancied-up Gaspacho (with, among other things, some notably good goat's cheese). It was fine -- although it lacked the acidic kick of a normal OG Gaspacho. My date loved her Lobster Consomme with lots of other fancy stuff.

 

We then shared the aforementioned pig's heart, with horseradish creme fraiche and some sort of aspic. Heart seems scary, but it has to be the friendliest of all offal. This was OK. Maybe I'm just a lug, but it seemed a very reticent dish to me. I would have wanted more flavor. But I'd happily have it again.

 

We both had squab for the main dish. OK, I have to say this at the outset: not as good as the great lacquered squab at Rouge et Blanc. But good, though. The squab definitely tasted like squab (as opposed to Undifferentiated Poultry). It was served with I think some kind of plum gunk and various greens. (Maybe I'm not remembering right. Maybe I should take notes. Maybe I should take pictures. Maybe I shouldn't write on the internet. Maybe you should stop making so many suggestions.) I'd recommend this dish -- but maybe not that you schlep all the way to DUMBO to get it.

 

I can't remember my dessert. I remember thinking it was pleasant.

 

The wine list is the usual at a place like this: some interesting bottles, some of what you'd expect, nothing startling, but happily not overpriced.

 

Cocktails are OK.

 

This is a fine enough restaurant. But it isn't as good as its owners want it to be. It'll do fine: there's not a lot of local competition. I wish it were better.

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I should note that our waitress kept repeating to us how important it is for them to appeal to people in their neighborhood (which we weren't -- but she didn't know that).

 

They've got that right. This would be a good neighborhood place. It doesn't make it as a destination.

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Went to Governor and I think it was more than decent food.

The expectations are quite high for a chef with that background, but at least it is a different type of menu ( ie: the ISA standard menu )

The beef tartare with mussels juice was outstanding, along with the beef tongue.

I would go back!

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I don't disagree for a minute that the food is more than decent. It's good, even.

 

But my problem is that New Nordic influences apparently don't guaranty interesting food. I just didn't find this stuff particularly compelling. Nothing wrong with it. But nothing that jumped off the plate, either. (Figuratively.) (Well, literally, too. But in that sense, it's a good thing.)

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Also, I'm getting suspicious when everyone opening a restaurant in New York has Noma on their resume. (Mads Refslund escapes this skepticism, obviously.)

 

I'm beginning to think I should tell everyone I've eaten at Noma because I was on the same island as it when I was in Copenhagen.

 

(At least I had Chef Redzepi's food when he cooked one night at Corton.)

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Quite possible.

 

He has packed a lot in:

 

Right now I'm the Executive Chef at Crabtree's Kittle House in Chappaqua, Westchester County. I spent four years in the city before moving up there. I worked for Ducasse, I worked at Per Se for Thomas Keller, went to Copenhagen and worked at Noma.

 

Eater, 2009

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  • 2 months later...

The relentless pushing of the CV pays off:

 

Mr. McDonald, it turns out, was a cook at Noma, in Copenhagen, and before that a chef de partie at Per Se for a year. He came into his own as the executive chef at a less attention-grabbing restaurant, Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua, N.Y.

 

Wells

 

Chef Brad McDonald, who’s spent more than a few weeks at Noma in Denmark and at Thomas Keller’s Per Se, offers a menu that, like the venue, is eclectic in the extreme.

 

Cheshes

 

Why report when you can reproduce a hand-out?

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