Here's a spring snapshot from Recette, a seasonal small-plates hideaway that has lured hounds to the West Village since it first opened two years ago. Based on her recent chef's tasting, loratliff says this restaurant "is executing at a level comparable to many of the city's best." Some highlights of her dinner:
Bigeye Tuna: Seasoned with clementine and soy and served with caviar and bonito. "The citrus was an unexpected burst of flavor over the smooth slice of tuna, which was dressed perfectly and not overwhelmed by any other component."
Ramp Soup: The bright green soup was poured tableside into bowls artfully arrayed with chorizo and pickled ramps, then drizzled with olive oil. "By this point, we knew that we were in for something special."
Roasted Scallop: Delicately cooked and served with beets, asparagus, and caviar beurre blanc, this course was "a great representation of the season."
Foie Gras: An $18 supplement bought a huge piece of seared foie with a mushroom glaze, layered over a monkfish-liver terrine and served with a fried pork rind. The monkfish liver was "a really unique and unexpected pairing with the foie."
Sweetbread: Perfectly breaded and fried crisp, it came with escarole, brown butter, lemon, capers, and parsley. "This dish was simple and let the quality of the sweetbread shine through."
Berkshire Pork Belly: Topped with fried rock shrimp and served with baby turnips, romesco, and sherry caramel, this course was another winner.
Couscous-Stuffed Quail Leg: A lagniappe from the kitchen, this extra plate included trumpet royale mushrooms and delicate spring greens.
S'mores: A signature dessert, made with graham-cracker ice cream, toasted marshmallow, and chocolate ganache spiced with cayenne ("unexpected and totally awesome"). And finally, one last extra: chocolate "affogato"—ginger ice cream, feulletine, coffee cake, and warm chocolate "soup."
Service was friendly, and pacing excellent: "just when we began to think about our next course, it was there like clockwork." At $100, loratliff says, the seven-course tasting is "a steal" (a five-course tasting costs $75). It's also a mix-and-match affair; at her request, the dinner included several dishes from the regular menu. "The kitchen flawlessly adapted these dishes in portion sizes appropriate for the tasting," she says. "We loved their flexibility and willingness to do so."
Recette [West Village]
328 W. 12th Street (at Greenwich Street), Manhattan