I've been waiting for a while for this place to open as I've been a fan of Michael Schwartz since Nemo (but dropped my enthusiasm when he went to afterglo).
I went twice last week, once for dinner and once for bar snacks. Both times it met my expectations. The establishment is supposed to be a place for both casual and celebratory meals, but the menu tends to lean towards the former. Dishes are in one of 4 categories (small, medium, large and large enough to share). This is aside from the snacks menu which is where I think Michael's excels. Dinner included tuna tartar (passable), beef cheek on cauliflower mash with chocolate reduction (very good), roast pork shoulder with cheese grits (good) and the daily pizza of shrimp, manchego and chorizo (passable on the toppings, crust was good - thin, crispy and slightly burned on the edges). Two nights later we passed by for a late meal and decided to forgo the 20 minute wait (at 10:00) and have food at the bar. Chicken liver crostini was good (but no one is going to surpass those at Pizzeria Mozza in L.A.) and the crispy hominy was a good bar snack. The duck confit was good albeit a little salty, but the pureed celeraic that accompanied it was awesome. Dessert on both nights was chocolate cremoso which comes accompanied with an overly cold and insipid coffee concoction which should be left off the place for the olive-oil and sea salted cremoso. It's addicting.
There's a full bar and a small wine list with a few wines by the glass as well as imports and microbrews. Staff is extremely competent (saw an ex-waiter from Talula) and the place feels like it's been open for years. No kinks in service, delivery, etc. Only problem is getting a table.
The area was in desperate need of a place like this. When you're there, you have no idea that the rest of the DDistrict is almost entirely empty. Our waiter told us that Michael Eisman (Pacific Time) is opening a place where The District was and that Grass is reopening. Could it be that between Michy's, Michael's, etc. that people may actually go westbound on the causeway for dinner?
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