So this past Friday, three friends and I went to dinner at Resto.
For the appetizers we ordered the Tete du Cochon, Shrimp and Grits, the Deviled Eggs, and a Charcuterie plate of the Duck Sausage, Pork Sausage, and Country Pate. Th table unanimously agreed that the best dish was the deviled eggs. The Pork toast that the eggs rested on was crispy on the outside and filled with porky goodness. The Shrimp and grits were satisfactory, nothing special and I would probably skip them the next time. The Tete du Cochon was served between wedges of toast and filled with pickled onions and carrots. The inclusion of the pickles lent the dish an almost Banh Mi flavor which was quite nice as the sourness of the pickles helped cut the richness of the pork. The menu claimed that the sandwiches contained Sriracha, however I was unable to detect any hint of it. Out of the three choices on the Charcuterie, the Duck sausage was the most flavorful.
For our main courses, I had the Brasied Short rib, while my friends got the Moules Frites, the Double Cooked Veal, and the Hangar Steak. We also got three sides of Polenta, Brussel Sprouts, and Frites.
I enjoyed my Short rib, it had a sweet, slightly sour flavor that reminded me of the Chinese braised Pork shoulder dish called "Ti Pan" or "Ren Ti". The ribs were tender and perhaps the only complaint was that it was a little too sweet.
My friend S got the Double Cooked Veal with the Polenta. The veal was tender and buttery but the best part according to my friend was the bed of mushrooms underneath the veal. They had soaked up all the juices and sauce from the veal and in her oh so descriptive terminology, she described them as "soaked in YUM!" The Polenta that she ordered as a side dish was rich with butter and cream. In fact.. it tasted of nothing BUT butter and cream. Maybe some people like the richness but I prefer my polenta more coarsely cut and less like I was eating a butter/cream soup.
Friend F got the Hangar Steak and Friend R got the Moules Frites with a side of Brussels Sprouts. The Hangar steak was straightforward, well executed. It was tender, well balanced but nothing particularly creative. Likewise for the Moules Frites with Strattu broth, tasty, but not mind blowing. The Frites were thick cut and crispy. Nothing more was asked of
them as we dunked them into the various sauces. The table had so many sauces that I honestly forgot which one I liked the most. The majority of the them were mayo based. The Brussels Sprouts however, were a disappointment. Cooked in bacon along with
some sort of pea, they tasted entirely of pork fat. Now, this is normally a good thing, but this was overdoing it. I wished they had gone easier with the oil on the sprouts.
For Dessert we got the Tropical fruits with Coconut ice cream, the Peanut Butter Mousse with house made Marshmallow Fluff, the Apple Tart with homemade Maple Crunch ice cream, a Chocolate cake sandwich thing with espresso cream and the Waffle Ice
cream sandwich. (We were celebrating so we sorta went overboard on the dessert.)
The Apple Tart was the best of the dessert plates followed closely by the very refreshing Tropical Fruit sundae. The Coconut Ice cream actually tasted like pureed
Coconuts and was just sweet enough to offset the tartness of the diced mangos and other fruits. I am not a chocolate fan but was impressed at how dense yet light the Chocolate cake thing was. It was the first time I had seen such a dense cake texture,yet when you ate it, it somehow felt extremely light, almost mousse like. The Peanut butter mousse and Waffle Sandwich were good, but not extraordinary.
All in all, we enjoyed our dinner and would definitely go back. However, next time we might just skip the main courses and split a wider selection of appetizers.
Thanks for posting such a great and detailled report. I've always liked Resto and am happy to read a positive review; unfortunately, not everyone thinks Resto is the greatest. One thing I've noticed (and after living in Belgium, I can't help it) is that the frites (fries) are inconsistent. When they're crispy and good, they're great, but other times, well, let's say they've been kind of wilted. I would also suggest ordering the chocolate plate for the table. Delicious.
Nice report! Thanks for taking the time to write it up. I also live near Resto and happen to pop in there occasionally.
Typically I don't order full main courses, but normally put together a nice sharing menu from apps, moules, sides and maybe a main if we're hungry. Obviously their beer list is extensive and the staff there know their brew.
For dessert, instead of going for something from their list, another fun option is their "chocolate plate." You order it the same way you would a cheese menu, and it's a lot of fun to have "flights" of chocolate to share with your table.
Thanks for posting, I usually like resto, and go there every two to three months, but on my last visit I had a truely wierd experience.
The gentleman who waited on us was aloof as he handed out the menus. Gave us an unabashed hard sell on the large format beers, and was downright condescending (sighed, shook his head, and said 'ok then' as he walked back to the bar) when we didn't order one of their imported bottles or large formats. I was so taken aback that I blurted out "then why do you have leffe on tap if you don't want people to drink it?"
It just went from bad to worse. We were going to share some plates (appetizers, chacuterie, and mains) and he informed us that "No you can't do it that way" because everything comes out at a set time and the chef would be upset. I didn't even understand what this meant. He said that appetizers needed to come out separate from mains... Again I was surprised because I've done that in the past and no problems. The whole thing was really wierd. I was ready to ask for a new server/ let this guy have it, but my dining companion convinced me to just roll with it.
The food there is very good (I love the tete de couchon) and the service is usually great, (relaxed, informal, friendly) I'm not sure where they got the guy who waited on us (I've never seen him there before) but he is really bad at what he does.
So I've stayed away the past few months. Anyone else run into this?
Thanks for posting this. I was going to write up a review myself because I have panned this place in the past. However, I had a lovely dinner over the past weekend. Was kind of a last minute thing and many places we were interested in were already booked. Well, Resto was near where we lived and had availability so we decided to give it another shot.
The deviled eggs were indeed awesome. The tete de cochon was good, but I was wishing for more meat to bread ratio. The tete de cochon is on the larger side if you order it as an appetizer -- would probably fill some people up as a main course.
The Resto burger was good. Very juicy and probably super fatty. I asked the waitress how large the burger was. As she said 7 oz, I was picturing a pretty large patty. I was a bit surprised when the burger looked more like a quarter-pounder -- all the fat probably cooked off. The fries were good this time -- last time I was there, the fries weren't even cooked through as it was still raw in the middle. The roast poulet was very moist and juicy. Cooked perfectly, it was accompanied by chicken liver and potato salad, which was good, but would have benefited from a little more liver IMO. The side order of brussel sprouts with bacon were good. My only complaint was that it was served lukewarm, not hot. We ended the evening with the peanut butter mousse. Like you, I thought it was OK but not great. Way too sweet and needed a bittersweet component to balance the peanut butter, bananas foster and marshmallow fluff. I think if they drizzled it with some extra dark chocolate sauce it would have made the dish a lot better. And more crunchies would have been nice to balance out the smoothness of the dessert. I would have got it more if they kept it completely smooth -- but they didn't. I wish I had ordered the apple tart, but the waitress steered me toward the peanut butter.
I would definitely go back. I don't feel it's quite a destination restaurant (unless you're specifically looking to eat at a Belgian gastropub), but a good option if you're in the area.
re: Miss Needle
This was my first time having the burger so I can't say if it has changed. But if you didn't like it before, I still think you won't like it as it's dense and medium well. The only reason it worked was that it was really fatty. The juices that dribbled down kept it easy to chew and swallow. Any less fat and it would be an unpleasant experience.
Remember when NY Magazine profiled Resto's opening and proclaimed it the best burger in the city? What a joke.. the power of a PR agency and in my opinion compromises most of whatever integrity NY Magazine had.. I remember the hocky puck.. I was pissed for having donated my $ so unnecessarily.
I am glad to hear the burger has improved though. And may check it out again given the positive reviews on this board. Lack of vegetarian options has also been a problem in past.
The burger is good but it's a thick patty so any fans of the thin patty (like shake shack) probably won't love it regardless of how it has changed.
I don't think Resto caters much to vegetarians, so if you are eating with a non-meat eater it wouldn't be the place to go. A pescatarian can have mussels or fish but I can't think of any strictly vegetarian dishes.
I don't discriminate against burger types and i'm okay with non-all beef burgers, like the lamb/beef burger at Prune. The problem I had was Resto's burger was (1) the requirement for it to be cooked medium well due to the pork fat in it, (2) it was so finely ground and dense that it was more like a salty porky meatloaf than what i'd call a burger and (3) the stale bun which was the final insult.