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Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Two Fridays ago, wifey & I had an early dinner at Olmsted. I expected to dislike Olmsted. Restaurants with this amount of buzz, that required 22-days advance notice to get a reservation usually feel like a letdown (Cosme - I'm looking at you.) And yet there at the end, we were finished and completely blown away by the quality and conceit of each and every dish. Olmsted – in our one experience – is a winner.

We sat in front of the tiny kitchen quickly befriending the cooks (Jenny and Kyle) as we watched them work on dish after dish. There’s no need for me to go into long detail (mostly because this blog is primarily for myself) as each dish was excellent and it looks like the menu turns over frequently enough that the same dish won’t be found a month or two later. Out of all the dishes we ate, we both thought the ballotine component of the duck entrée to be most delicious. I have memories of ballotines from the 90s being really lackluster chicken thigh meat filled with a unappealing goo (nee Pate). The whole thing just a vacuous attempt at fancy food. This was something wholly different; more like a perfectly executed duck forcemeat, sliced like pancetta.

We enjoyed a bottle of Slovenian white with our meal and left having spent just shy of $200. For what’s prepared, I would not call that expensive, but it’s definitely not a monthly indulgence.

Le Garage

On the eve of a new school year and willing to try out our children’s patience for a semi-formal meal, I took the family to Le Garage in Bushwick. Le Garage is a glorious place in late summer. It’s a former garage that’s been designed to be open, airy, and carefree. We didn’t feel crowded or confined on a bustling Friday evening. And in true bistro fashion, the owner, Rachel, came and sat with us for some time. Her ethereal movements and sincere interest pair perfectly with the place. 

We ordered like hungry soldiers (all meats) and each entrée was very good. Our biggest issue was the service. Nobody was rude. No real scandals; it was simply a meal that they paced poorly. Our entrees took a long time to arrive, with our chicken clearly completed before our lamb and steak (the chicken was warm; the others screaming hot). My kids are pretty patient and willing to talk about the paint color (yellow), the sidewalk seating (5 tables or so), and the cutlery (sharp steak knife) for a long time. But they needed some pencils and paper to help with the wait. Two other tables (both two-tops) sat and ordered after us, but received entrees before us. Our waitress (seemingly the only one) appeared uninterested and overwhelmed.

Overall, Le Garage is a nice restaurant if you’re in the neighborhood. Unlike, BK Jani, it’s not worth travelling for.