Just wanted to share my thoughts on the dinner we had last night at Chestnut. I had been wanting to go there for a while so I was really looking forward to it. I started with an appetizer of haystack shrimp that was the best part of the meal, having said this, it was incredibly oily and the cilantro sauce that it came with had no taste at all. For entrees, my husband had one of the specials which was a wild bass. The bass was pretty good but not delicious, but the real dissapointment was the skate. The menu said it came with a savory caper sauce but the fish was almost dry. It really tasted like something I would have gotten at a fish and chip place. It was just fried and not seasoned at all. I asked the waitress about the sauce and she told me the green bits on top of the fish were the sauce, so I asked for more sauce. She came out with a little dish with sauce that I swear looked and tasted just like the sauce of the shimp, ie, tastless. Then came more dissapointment with the dessert. First of all, their options are very limited but we ordered the chocolate budin and it was again, just ok. The other high point of the dinner was the tea, beautifuly served and excellent quality tea. I am just baffled at the amount of wonderful and creative restaurants in Park Slope ( Al-di-la, Applewood, Flatbush Farm ) and the boring mediocre options on Smith ( Chestnut, Provence en Boite) We need a creative chef around here. My advice is, go somewhere else if you are looking for a memorable dining experience.
I'm sorry you had a bad experience but one disappointing meal is probably a bit soon to write off a well-regarded restaurant as boring and mediocre.
I've probably had 8 meals or so at Chestnut in the last couple of years and the only time I was disappointed was when we went a couple days before they were to close for a few weeks and they were out of virtually everything (and should have just closed in my opinion).
That said, Chestnut doesnt really aspire to be Applewood. It's a solid neighborhood spot built around well prepared local ingredients and at a very reasonable price. And I would argue that Smith St does have plenty of higher end to offer too with the likes of Saul (brooklyn's only michelin star), Grocery, and soon there will be Po.
Just wanted to add that I had brunch at Chestnut for the first time this past Sunday and found it delicious. I had the poached eggs & mushrooms over toast. This was a higher caliber brunch than I'm used to. Real thought and effort went into planning it. And I must say I appreciated it.
re: gangly handful
While eating another excellent dinner tonite at Chestnut, I found out that they make everything except the pasta skins for the ravioli in-house. That not only includes the pickles, but the breads, the cakes/pastries & the ice creams (tonite's sampling included pineapple/passion fruit, a tart orange and the return of dolce de leche... all damn good). Although we never do brunch, we've been convinced to return and try it, especially since Daniel makes savory and sweet scones. By the way, they're doing the same basic pre-fixe for the entire restaurant weeks at an even lower priced $21.12. Best bargain in town.