No noise on The Grocery lately - what is the destination restaurant on Smith?
I'm deciding on a dinner place for this weekend. It's been years since I last visited The Grocery, but I loved it when I did go. I've heard great things about Saul and Patois but nothing lately about The Grocery. Anyone have an opinion on what restaurant, if any, is the destination place along Smith?
I have to agree with "fmogul", Grocery comes out on top in my experience.
There are a couple of tables at Grocery that can feel tight, but it's still wonderful.
I've only been to Saul twice, the first time was amazing, Food was wonderful, scene was chill, etc. The second time was not good. Very loud (bad luck on my part that there were 2 loud tables, 1 on each side), several mistakes by our waiter, and decent food. Not "bad" by any means, but not incredible. I still recommend Saul when people ask, but I suggest they stay away from Friday and Saturday nights. I will go back, though, I hope to have more meals like the first one.
Okay, I have no business claiming authority here. I've eaten at Saul and Grocery one time each. But based on this admittedly limited sample, there is no contest: Grocery managed to be simple and creative and un-attitude-y in ways that grabbed and held my attention. I went in plenty skeptical -- doubting the hype and inclined to believe the dissing that Grocery often gets here. But it was a flawless experience. The justifiably famous beet and goat cheese ravioli burst with flavors both predictable and surprising. I initially declined to share my fiance's roasted artichoke with poached egg appetizer -- and then regretted not jumping in sooner to claim more. The striped bass was one of the better prepared pieces of fish I've had in a while. The desserts (sorbet and rhubarb crisp) were great, but not knock-your-socks-off material -- but, then, those weren't very adventurous orders. The service was friendly, attentive and accomodating. We had two bottles of wine for four people and came out at $70 each, which is more than I usually spend, but not the end of the world.
As for Saul...well, it was a while ago, and I need to give it another chance, but it didn't wow me. It's a much louder, trendier place, and I recall the food being good, but not good enough to justify the cost or the 'tude.
One man's opinion...
"As for Saul...well, it was a while ago, and I need to give it another chance, but it didn't wow me. It's a much louder, trendier place, and I recall the food being good, but not good enough to justify the cost or the 'tude."
Funny - I had the exact opposite opinion. Grocery is in love with it's own Zagat ratings and seems to think they're doing you a favor letting you eat there. Saul has always been very welcoming with great food and zero attitude.
I would argue that Taku is a destination restaurant for anyone who likes innovative, inspired Asian food. I've been for dinner twice in the past month and was rewarded with two of the more memorable meals I've had in a long time. The quality of the raw ingredients, ingenuity of the menu offerings, and simple elegance of the preparation/ presentation are remarkable. Not to be missed are the tuna handrolls, black cod (served with some of the more succulent eggplant i've ever had, which can also be had in a good, but not stellar handroll), and the berkshire pork (which definitely reviles the pork at Grocery and Chestnut, but I can't speak for Saul since I've never been). As has been duly noted by others, the omakase is an incredible experience - tho i would advise that the 3-course tasting menu might make for a more comfortable walk home in this heat.
Taku is good, but not on the level of "destination"
It's an excellent neighborhood restaurant.
In my book, Grocery is still top dog on Smith.
Applewood in Park Slope is its closest rival.
1) Grocery (so simple and good and consistent)
4) Brooklyn Social Club (for liquid dinner)
5) Frankie's 457 (on Court St. And only if
you are sitting in the garden or Carriage hse)
Outside of Smith:
3) Al di La
Saul and Chestnut are places to go. That's not to say that The Grocery isn't lovely, but these are my go-to places in the neighborhood. Also, Taku, for upscale non-sushi Japanese food. (They've recently expanded their offering to include more half-portions.)