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Mar 22, 2007 06:21 AM

a chestnut for your thoughts

ok, i've been twice now, and i love the staff, the atmosphere, and the prix fixe menu deal cannot be beat. but i have to say, after hearing so much buzz on these boards -- that it's on par with saul, and better than grocery -- i'm underwhelmed. i prefer the space and indeed the atmosphere of chestnut to both of these places, but their food isn't nearly as good as applewood in the slope, good fork in red hook, or grocery down the street. i wish it was. the pork was tough and chewy and the chicken and parsnip gratin was so salty i could barely taste it. same with the cavatelli. i was so heartbroken: i really wanted to love this place. anyone else feel this way? we had the best waitress both times, and a great bartender as we waited for our table (though we waited over a half hour even though we had a reservation) the most recent visit, and in general a lovely experience, but, sigh, well, what can i say? we went midweek once, and once on a saturday.

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  1. I am one of many who have raved about Chestnut. That being said, I need to speak up on a couple things. Consider that when comparing to Saul, Applewood and Grocery that Chestnut is -considerably- cheaper than all 3 and their portions are also considerably bigger. As well, the atmosphere at Chestnut is far more casual.

    I can't speak on the food; I've been many times and will return many more...

    1. I consider Chestnut a notch below Applewood, The Grocery and Saul. Mainly because the atmosphere is more casual. We had a great experience on our one visit.

      I definitely consider it a notch above the Good Fork when it comes to the food and service. Our dishes at The Good Fork were mostly good (not spectacular) and the service was a bit off.

      1. wow, i'm sad to hear you had that experience. we are regulars at chestnut and adore it. however, there have been an off-nights from time to time. it sounds like you got an off-night. i would recommend trying it once more. brunch is great too.

        of the fifteen times we've been, we've had two off experiences....usually involving overcooked meat or oversalted something. not michelin-star, i'd say, but not serious grounds for dismissing.

        also, we find midweek to ALWAYS be better than weekend.

        if it makes you feel better, we had the same experience at Crave last night. so wanted to love it, so couldn't.

        2 Replies
        1. re: goumandette

          i definitely want to give it another try. it's such a cozy spot, and good service, well, that's a rarity. it is so welcoming in there. i rarely want to give a place more than a few tries, but this is a place that i would love to keep giving another shot to if only because it's so lovely in there, and the staff is, too. gotta encourage good ambiance and good times. it's not that the food wasn't good -- just wasn't as good as i'd expected. i will say that the beet salad totally rocked and so did the cheesecake.

          1. re: kraw

            i couldn't agree more. the service had me oozing praises the first time we ate there. the owner, michael, is also the sommelier. he came over and introduced himself to us when we were inquiring about a wine on the menu. he actually hand-picks the list. consistently, if i read a great review about a new, reasonable stunner, it turns up on their list -- by the glass.

            ahem, sorry for the tangent. but i think the ambiance does bring that out in you once you've been "chestnuted". you're right, the beet salad and cheesecake are great. if you're into chocolate and it's available, try the budino. my boyfriend now uses "budino" exclusively to denote desserts-that-make-your-toes-curl.

            i'm a biggggg fan of the salt cod brandade....yummy salty fish potato dip goodness.
            for brunch, the oatmeal pancakes and mushroom benedict are divine.