Had a late dinner at this new joint on Carlton at St. Marks in Prospect Heights.
It's located in an old bodega, but the room is clean (perhaps too much so) and airy. Air conditioner had a hard time keeping up with the heat, but whose didn't?
My fiancée opted for the $25 fixed price, while I chose three appetizers.
I started with the summer corn soup served cold ($5). It was very refreshing, very chilled, and perfectly captured the essence of corn. When I saw it, I feared that it would taste too much like creamed corn, but the cream base, while very heavy, carried itself well. She had the sautéed snails with spaetzle, which was like the classic escargot re-constructed. Wonderfully plump snails, a garlic/olive oil pesto, and the spaetzel, which took the place of the bread normally used to sop up that extra garlic butter.
Her main was a roast chicken breast with Israeli couscous and baby bok choy. Very tasty, but much more of a fall dish than a summer one. I had the pickled herring with potatoes and watermelon ($6), which was outstanding. The sweet, sour, and starchy all worked very well together in this dish. I would order this again in a heartbeat. I also ordered the beef tartare ($7), which was a rather large serving of good quality beef. A nice touch was the use of togarishi pepper to give it a good kick. However, it was a bit heavy on the capers, which made it a little too much. It was served with three toast points (griddled with olive oil) and a caperberry on top. A lighter hand with the capers and this dish would be very good.
For dessert I had a couple spoonfuls of her cold melon soup, which was a beautiful presentation of honeydew "soup" on one side, canteloupe "soup" on the other, with a sprinkling of blueberries in the middle. Perfectly captured the essence of the melons, and it was served not too cold so it didn't seem like melted sorbet.
All of this, plus a glass of the Gruner Veltliner and a forgotten French varietal (which was really nice), came to about $70 with tax and tip.
It wasn't quite as good as 360, where the chef had previously worked, but I can see the promise in this place. And since the menu changes daily, and a nice meal can be constructed from two or three apps and a glass of wine, I'll definitely be returning.
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