Had an absolutely super dinner at Recette on Sunday night for my BF's birthday. I waffled over the reservation for some time, debating whether or not to go with a "standby"—EMP, wd-50, etc.—but eventually stuck with Recette since it's in our neighborhood. And I'm so, so glad I did!
There were several dishes on the regular menu that we wanted to try, but we wanted to do the tasting too, so our server (Suzy, who had a kick-ass sense of humor and was a joy) told us we were welcome to request dishes we'd like to see as part of our tasting. Perfect. The kitchen flawlessly adapted these dishes in portion sizes appropriate for the tasting. We loved their flexibility and willingness to do so. We received seven courses of some of the best food I've had in the city (plus a few extras courtesy of the kitchen).
After an amuse of hamachi (which I can't remember more details about!), we started with the bigeye tuna, clementine, soy, caviar, bonito, and ice. The citrus was an unexpected burst of flavor over the smooth slice of tuna, which was dressed perfectly not overwhelmed by any other component. A winner to start.
It's also worth mentioning at this point, that the rustic housemade rolls and butter were very good.
The second course was a ramp soup with chorizo, pickled ramps, and olive oil. This was beautifully presented—a bowl with little cubes of chorizo artfully arranged with pickled ramps and a drizzle of olive oil. The bright green ramp soup was poured table side. Another star. By this point, we knew that we were in for something special.
Next up was a delicately roasted scallop with beets, asparagus and a caviar beurre blanc. My BF loves caviar in all its forms, so to have it pop up twice so early in the meal was a real treat to him. It's hard to go wrong with scallops, but this dish was a great representation of the season.
We requested foie gras be added to our menu ($18 supp.) and were treated with one of the biggest piece of seared foie I've been served anywhere. It was layered over a monkfish liver terrine, served with a mushroom glaze, and a chicharron. The monkfish liver terrine was a really unique and unexpected pairing with the foie.
This was followed by a crispy sweetbread, perfectly breaded, with escarole, brown butter, lemon, capers and parsley. The sweetbread's batter had a little bit of spice too it. This dish was simple and let the quality of the sweetbread shine through. Not much to say, other than it was very good!
Our final (or so we thought) savory was a berkshire pork belly, topped with a fried piece of rock shrimp, served with baby turnips, romesco and a sherry caramel. Perfectly portioned and prepared, this was yet another winner. I typically don't care for romesco, but chef's version was amazing.
Our final course was sent out compliments of the kitchen—it was a tender leg of quail stuffed with couscous and served with trumpet royale mushrooms and some spring greens (can't remember what, but they were beautiful and delicate). Another winner in execution, presentation and flavor.
For dessert, we had the s'mores—graham cracker ice cream, toasted marshmallow, and "hot" chocolate ganache. The chocolate ganache was spiced with cayenne, which was unexpected and totally awesome. We also were treated to the chocolate "affogato"—ginger ice cream, feulletine, coffee cake and a warm chocolate "soup".
We didn't drink much because we had a bottle of wine waiting at home, but we loved the blood orange margarita (Hornitos añejo, blood orange, lime juice and espelette) and the jardin d'eden (Hendricks, Cucumber, simple syrup and lemon).
The room is simply decorated, but it is cozy and intimate without being ridiculously loud or cramped. Service was friendly and unpretentious and we thought the pacing throughout was excellent—just when we began to think about our next course, it was there like clockwork. This is a restaurant that is executing at a level comparable to many of the city's bests, and we are so thrilled to have it in our neighborhood! At $100, the 7-course tasting is a steal. (Also, the brunch menu which consists of larger plates, looks to be well worth a return visit.)