Last night was the opening night for this new DuMont outpost in Williamsburg (on Broadway, near Driggs, opposite Lugers). We went at 8 and place was doing good business - more than half full. Interior is ornate with lots of iron work and frosted glass that is lit from behind. it almost feels like you are in a very detailed wood print. the whole place still has that "new restaurant" smell.
anyway, to the food (all prices approximated). i started with a glass of zweigelt rose, which was fine ($9) and the "spring pea soup with lobster salad" ($9) which was also fine. the lobster was in the soup, in small cubes, and there was a drizzle of some sort of oil on the soup and some green garnish. the soup wasn't thick pea soup, but was lighter with actual peas sprinkled throughout. No epiphanies here - the dish was pretty straightforward without much cleverness - but perfectly acceptable.
my date had the endive/pear/maytag blue/walnut salad ($10) which was much better conceived and executed. flavoring in this was much more sophisticated and it was difficult to tell where the endive ended and the pear began - a nice subtle blending of flavors and texture in each bite, with small bits of cheese, rather than large chunks. the only downside was that the portion of nuts was skimpy and ran out halfway through the salad - i'd make smaller pieces of the nuts and so they'd last longer, even without adding more of them.
i switched to a glass of the schiava ($10) to go with my second course of grilled pork rib with fresh bacon, cabbage, white beans and preserved lemon ($20). the thing that still stands out for me is the veg accompaniment - really tasty - lots of butter and cream taste with the sweet, mild cabbage and bean mixture and the subtle but perfect kick of the preserved lemon. very smart. the fresh bacon was good in the way that fried pig meat and fat is good, but no more so. the chop was cooked correctly and seasoned inoffensively, but didn't provide more. However, while it would have been nice for these items to have blown me away, simply to meet expectations is a pretty good achievment for a place on its first night.
my date had the schiava too with her main course: roast chicken ($18). in this dish too, the vegetable mixture was most notable - fiddlehead ferns, wild mushrooms, some type of greens (sorry, wasn't taking notes at the time) cooked together were a standout! i'd be a very happy vegetarian eating these sides! chicken itself was good - like the pork chop, but, like the pork chop, didn't provoke eyes rolling in pleasure or demands for a second taste (although i did demand another fork-ful of the veg).
we split the milk chocolate cheesecake ($9) and the chocolate/peanut butter parfait ($8) for dessert. cheesecake's best feature was the dollop of barely sweetened fresh whipped cream - this didn't do a lot for me, i think the chocolate overpowered the cheesecake (ymmv). the parfait was fun though - delicious and lots of textural surprises - crunchy little bits sprinkled throughout the creaminess that seemed to pop when you bit down. i liked them (don't know what they were, but liked it).
all in all, a promising opening - and one welcome in the neighborhood. we will definitely be back to try some of the other things we didn't get around to on this first visit (scallops, quail and sturgeon each had my eye as potential apps; and the duck breast and various fish dishes looked good as mains)
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