Fairsted Kitchen is now open in Washington Square. No sign out, not taking reservations, but open for business. It's right next to Barcelona and may be getting some overflow. Predictions of wait times were a little inaccurate, but generally erred on the longer side. We didn't have to wait more than a half hour on a weekend night (compared to 1 hour or more at Barcelona, go figure.)
We checked it out last week and liked it a lot. The menu is eclectic, billed as North African/Israeli flavors, but there's some Eastern European thrown in, apparently in recognition of the flavors of Washington Square.
The room is on the smaller, but not crowded, side. Very pleasant, a bit loud. The menu is divided into snacks, small plates, large plates, and items to share. We tried a bit of each on 2 visits. (Full disclosure: a friend is the father of one of the owners.)
From the snacks, we had the cod beignets, very nicely fried with a brandade filling. Tasty and fresh. During a slightly long wait for our next courses, we were given a free sample of the croquettes, which were also well-fried but a little bland.
Of the small plates we had the lamb ribs, which were fantastic, perfectly cooked, with a light middle-eastern spice rub, served with an Asian dipping sauce. I know it sounds odd, but it worked.
The spaetzle with rabbit was delicious comfort food. The stuffed cabbage was terrific, with a ground veal filling. What a great idea! It turned what is usually a heavy dish into something much more delicate.
We were stuffed at that point, so didn't have dessert. Decaf was good French-press.
On our return trip, we had the carrot salad with chickpeas (good, but not spectacular), wilted kale with apples (delicious), and the lamb riblets again (still fantastic). I had the sturgeon (one of the large plates) on the recommendation of our server. It was perfectly cooked, but the flavors (sunchokes and olives) were a little strong for such a light fish.
My 3 DC's shared the chateaubriand, which would have been enough for 4. My teenage son polished off the left-overs at home. The meat was very flavorful, tender, and perfectly cooked, served with mashed potatoes, a lovely gravy, and more of the kale.
We were given complimentary desserts (only 2 were on the menu) a pumpkin custard and a chocolate mousse. Both were very good and went quickly.
Wines by the glass were well-chosen and interesting. The pinot noir is a good value at $10 and there was a very nice Croatian(!) red.
Especially given the fact that the restaurant opened within the past week, service was smooth. We did have to ask several times for bread on our second visit and there was a bit of a wait for our food the first night. The chateaubriand was a bit cool when it was served, perhaps due to the fact that it is first presented to the table uncarved first, then taken to the kitchen to be sliced. It was a gorgeous piece of meat either way.
I'm looking to a return trip in the near future. Definitely worth checking out. Who knew that Washington Square would become such a dining destination?
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