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Even though I've been eating out A LOT lately, I haven't been writing much up.  Not because I believe restaurants shouldn't be evaluated as they struggle back from closure.  Just because I've gotten out of the habit.  (And also because my nominally remunerative writing [THAT'S a hot one] has been taking up a lot of time and writing energy lately.  And as my mother almost certainly would have tried to teach me if I were a girl [based on the stupid reactionary stuff she did teach me as a non-girl], why buy the cow . . . ?)

But it's time to get back.  Most reviews will be of fairly old meals and so will be based on faulty recollection.  Sort of addled after-the-fact syntheses of what the meals were like.

I couldn't be more excited about Fradei.  I think I'd be this excited even if the place hadn't emerged after a year-long restaurant dead zone.

What this is, is bistronomie in Brooklyn (Fort Greene, to be exact).  Like, for real.  The two (American) chefs worked together at Septime.

It's a set five-course menu surprise (for $80).  The menu changes every three or four weeks, to accommodate changes in available produce.  It always begins with some fancied-up kind of potato chip (that alone would make this one of my favorite restaurants in New York).  It always includes a pasta (but not a very Italian-seeming one).  I guess there's always a fish course and a meat course and, probably, a vegetable course.  With dessert, that would make five.

The stuff is great.  It's in the current Parisian style, which means it isn't explicitly "French"-seeming.  Except that it's clearly French food, contemporary division.  And it's all delicious, interesting, wonderful.

You may be wondering how they handle wine, since you have to order it having no idea what you'll be drinking it with.  They swear that the rather extensive wine list changes with each new menu, and that every bottle on the list could conceivably accompany every course.  If you take that as meaning that the list changes incrementally with each new menu rather than entirely, that might be true.  And if you take their assurance that every bottle would at least not be flagrantly inappropriate with any course as advice not to sweat the pairings too much, that becomes sort of plausible as well.  Obviously, the list is entirely Natural.

This tiny restaurant -- locals like me will know the space as the old Cafe Lafayette -- has a staff of four:  the two chefs in the kitchen, and the two highly personable owners (one from Brittany and the other from, I think, the Veneto) comprising the entire FOH.  It could not be more charming.  It could not be more EXACTLY what I like.

Well, it could in one way:  they have not yet opened their bar, and table reservations are available only for groups of two or more.  Which is incredibly frustrating for me:  I can WALK to this place.  With luck my constant nagging about opening the bar will bear fruit.

COMP DISCLOSURE:  If you stay late enough, they will ply you with a long succession of drinks of various kinds:  whatever they're feeling like having.  When my date and I finally decided to leave, they seemed disappointed.

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These posts are really useful to me as I am strangely blank about where I want to be eating. I also “connect with” writing less on forums (or blogs like the Pink Pig) once one’s day “job” is writ

As I was sitting there last night, I kept focusing on something I don’t think quite registered the first time:  $80.  This splendid five-course dinner costs $80.  (The wine isn't that expensive, eithe

I love how absolutely unhinged this post is even if I agree with the general sentiment. As for Gotham, according to the online menu the lamb costs (a still quite high) $58, not $80. Like the bogu

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These posts are really useful to me as I am strangely blank about where I want to be eating.

I also “connect with” writing less on forums (or blogs like the Pink Pig) once one’s day “job” is writing. I think we both wrote like Proust on a good day when we had law jobs. 😆

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1 hour ago, Sneakeater said:

Well, it could in one way:  they have not yet reopened their bar, and table reservations are available only for groups of two or more.  Which is incredibly frustrating for me:  I can WALK to this place.  With luck my constant nagging about reopening the bar will eventually bear fruit.

 

The solution is to go on more dates. There. I solved it for you.

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14 hours ago, sweatshorts said:

The NYT review made this place sound awesome, and yours makes it sound even better. Now to get a reservation...

You have to get into dinner at Septime to get the secret reservation number. 

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I don't have much to add to sneak's description - a very good, very friendly place solidly in the l'arpege -> septime lineage. Of course part of the surprise was chicken!!! , but that's always a risk with French places. 

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I concur with sneak's and ori's. Opinions. There was agretti! And good, well-placed  acid.

I don't know what my risk tolerance is, but the chicken dish last night was made with my favorite bird to cook with at home; and he acted only a little surprised when I named the farm/bird. The only caveat in my opinion is, if you're gonna serve chicken, cook it right...and this was perfect.

Favas and garden peas - great. Enjoyed the smoked mussels and this pasta dish, garganelli with fresh sheep's cheese. And other stuff...

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Finally, I could eat a lot this...

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The honeycomb crunch (if that's what it was called)...wow.

I only imagine it will be more impossible to get in as things lighten up; compared to the few other meals we've indulged in "out," the entire experience here was better by a mile. 

COMP DISCLOSURE:  Something nice and peaty and smokey.  

 

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As I was sitting there last night, I kept focusing on something I don’t think quite registered the first time:  $80.  This splendid five-course dinner costs $80.  (The wine isn't that expensive, either.)  This isn't going to last.

As joe indicated, midway through our meal we both noticed the same thing at about the same time:  each dish was employing a noticeable but subtly deployed kick of acid.  I didn't notice that last time.  Pete Wells remarked in his review that if you think hard about their menus afterward, you can detect a hidden subtext in each.  I think that kind of analysis leads to madness myself.  But this is apparently their acid menu.  As a huge fan of acid ingestion in all senses, I can only applaud.

($80!)

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12 hours ago, joethefoodie said:

I only imagine it will be more impossible to get in as things lighten up; compared to the few other meals we've indulged in "out," the entire experience here was better by a mile. 

To put this in a different way, it made me feel as if I were in a truly enjoyable restaurant, run by capable people, trying their darndest to make it all work. Not a ton of these places exist, either now or pre.

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