My son and I greatly enjoyed our meal at Buttonwood yesterday. We walked in around 5:45 and were able to secure a two-top until 7:15, though we finished before then. The dining room was nearly full before then, except for a reserved table. We had been once before the fire, and the dining room was brighter than I remember with new wallpaper in front of the kitchen Ambiance tended towards lively, rather than intimate, in terms of volume level. Staff looked happy and trended towards Brooklyn.
The Salmon a la Fran (named for the chef, not short for Francais) was perfectly cooked with crackling skin (almost like bacon) and no extruding albumen. The accompanying barley was toothsome, and there were sugar snap and English peas, as well as a pea puree and roasted baby radishes. Each element of the sides was seasoned and crisp-tender, with an appropriate whisper of peppery heat from the radishes tamed by the roasting (I usually find raw radishes to overwhelm other flavors, like in salads).
My five-year-old enjoyed his pork schnitzel, which was also well-seasoned and pan-fried with butter, as well as the "cole slaw" ("shaved cabbage, creme fraiche" on the menu), which was lightly dressed, not soggy, and brightened with a little parsley. We packaged up the leftovers for a later dinner for my daughter after gymnastics practice, whose first comment on entering the house was how much she liked the salmon.
I limited myself to a Maine Beer Co. "Dinner," but I look forward to returning and trying some of the cocktails and draft beers. The overall impression I had was of attention paid to nearly every part of the dining experience, whether it was the obviously careful cooking and seasoning of individual components, the serrated blade brought without asking when I was cutting my son's pork, the leveling of the base of a corner two-top that I noticed as they were setting up for another party, and the check being brought right as I was pulling out my wallet and getting my card ready. If I had one quibble, and perhaps how minor this is shows that I'm stretching, perhaps each leaf of the parsley in the shaved cabbage could have been taken off the stem, which I only noticed because my son had pushed one parsley top with two or three leaves attached to the side. Also, I can imagine that some diners might find quiet conversation to be challenging. However, we'll be back with the rest of the family. The branzino and pork chop, each big enough to share, at the table next to us looked amazing!
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