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youngho | Feb 26, 202005:10 PM     3

We used to live around the corner from Brasserie Jo, which was a sentimental favorite. We stopped by Luc!e for dinner on Sunday. Given that they'd only opened on Thursday, please take anything I say with that in consideration.

The entire space has been redone with a much darker, sleeker feel, using every possible type of lighting--recessed, track, pendant, surface, and cove. The bar area, now U-shaped, has been expanded and moved closer to the center of the room. The front area by the windows is a lounge area. As per current custom, it's an acoustically louder, visually dimmer space (as with Rochambeau, we observed other customers using their iPhone flashlight to read their typographically smaller menus). The only visible trace of Brasserie Jo was the clock, which used to anchor the center of the bar. We did not recognize any of the previous staff, but we were treated well by service throughout, including our waitress on her first day.

You can find the adult menu here: https://static1.squarespace.com/stati.... In contrast to Brasserie Jo, the kids menu is very limited (no salmon or steak frite options). I ordered a Blue Pine Lodge, which was surprisingly sweet given the abbreviated description of "gin, mastiha, dry vermouth, lemon"--perhaps this is a result of my complete unfamiliarity with mastiha. This portion was more typical in contrast, with the birdbath-sized Brasserie Jo martinis. However, the following Trappist ale was a full pint. The bread was in the style of Parker House rolls, rather than the warm baguette from Brasserie Joe or Rochambeau. The butter could have been softer and perhaps salted a touch more, but the bread was warm enough to melt it.

Our children enjoyed the steak frites (I added an additional order of more steak to my salad, being unsure of portion adequacy). The "wagyu" skirt steak was cooked perfectly to medium-rare, with some exterior char but juicy and red-to-a little pink on the inside. The steak sauce was well-balanced between sweet and piquant with some citrus. The fries, which did not have much visible skin, could have been cooked more for a bit of browning and persistent crispiness.

My wife and I were pleasantly surprised by the chopped salad (with its finely shaved blizzard of smoked gouda) and the brown rice bowl, which was perfectly balanced to our tastes with its various elements, including the crunch from shallots and radish, acid from the pickle and pesto, umami or savoriness, and creaminess from feta, egg, and avocado. The tofu was firm with char marks--it's possible that there was some smoke, but my palate was dulled by that point.

I'm a little sorry to say that the make-your-own-sundae used soft-serve ice cream (yes, I'm somewhat biased). Basically, choose your ice cream, three toppings, and sauce. Our children enjoyed it greatly, but I finished their portion and found that the chocolate ice cream had some lumpy icy elements. My wife and I had the lemon icebox cake, which was an interesting hybrid of lemon custard, lemon-poppyseed muffin, and pound cake with a mango sauce.

We'll go back again, especially for the steak, chopped salad, and brown rice bowl, but previous fans of Brasserie Jo should approach it with tempered or dashed expectations, instead treating it as its own new space.

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