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Recette review

I had a really nice dinner at Recette last night. Did the 5 course tasting with wine pairing ($50 addt'l). There was an amuse of hamachi with uni and harissa (wonderful flavor combo), a tomato with burrata (served with a bit of broccolli - fresh and bright and summery), the single best bowl of corn soup I've ever had (served with foie gras - what's NOT to love?), two perfectly cooked scallops,and some pork belly that thankfully was a bit too sweet for my taste -- I was too full. Dessert included a nicely made raspberry sorbet with peach, and "smores". The wine pairing was really nice and interesting, including a Ramsay Pinot and an Austrian Gewurztraminer, among others. I wish I paid better attention (and had not drunk as much...)

I have only two minor criticisms, other than the somewhat too sweet pork belly.....First, there are a couple of too many tables in the place. My companion was constantly bumped and jostled. Second, the room is loud that the runners serving some of the dishes had thick accents, making it really difficult to hear descriptions of the dishes.

Other than these two things, it's definitely a "go again." It was significantly better than my dinner at Nougatine last week (see my earlier review).

328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

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  1. Yes, another agreement of your assessment of Recette. We've enjoyed both our meals there and been lucky enough to get a table by the window on the side each time, so the bumping factor was not an issue. The small portions are a nice change and we like ordering different courses so we get a taste of everything.

    328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

    1. I had the corn soup recently too and it was the best! My favorite dish of the night though were the Buffalo Sweetbreads - totally blew any buffalo chicken wings I've had out of the water!

      1. Unfortunately, due to the treatment we received we were unable to try the food. Last night I called and made a reservation for 7:30. We are in town with our daughter who is returning to college and were going to have a last night dinner together. When we arrived we were told we would be seated shortly. Within minutes a woman came and told us that, because a party with a 7:00 reservation had arrived 35 minutes late, we could not be seated. She offered to let us sit at the (cramped) bar to eat. So we left and told some prospective diners outside why. And they did as well.

        I would understand if we did not have reservations, but I think it is rude and bad business to basically rescind our reservation in favor of someone who was 35 minutes late. If their policy is to hold reservations that long they should not have made a reservation for us and caused us to take a 35 minute trip.

        7 Replies
        1. re: dd65a

          What concerns me is that the hostess was obviously lying, as a 7:00 party would not have been leaving at 7:30, so it should have had no effect on your reservation.

          1. re: rrems

            rrems: You did not quite understand. The 7:00 party did not arrive until 7:35; they were 35 minutes late!

            1. re: ZaZa

              If I had a 7:30pm reservation, I would expect the restaurant to keep a table empty for me making sure that any parties at MY table would have ordered, eaten, and paid well before I got there.

              Hence a party who was late for a 7pm reservation should have no effect on me. It is unlikely that a party arriving at 7pm would been sat at the table meant for MY party, then have ordered, eaten, and paid in the 30 min. time frame.

              I assume the restaurant must have filled the table meant for the 7pm party with walk-in customers when the host assumed the 7pm party were no-shows, and then when the 7pm party arrived, extremely tardy, seated them at the table meant for the 7:30pm, therefore squeezing the 7:30pm party out completely even though the 7:30pm party were on time.

              1. re: ZaZa

                I understood perfectly. I hope kathryn's response clarified it for you.

                1. re: rrems

                  I had dinner the other night at Recette. I can't say anything bad about the food. The roasted corn soup and scallops were good. The deserts were great. But the service and attitude -- ugh! Our friends got there a little earlier than we did. The place was empty, but they insisted that "policy" dictated they could not be seated (presumably until we arrived -- why is that?). And when they did sit, the hostess insisted they push the table virtually up against the wall giving them barely enough room to breath. Bread came only after a couple requests. The waitress kept pushing us to order three plates -- even though two were fine and I have a healthy appetite. A request to substitute lentils from a dish was flatly refused. The waitress' suggestion was "just order something else". I can respect a chef's desire to deliver the taste and texture that was intended, but on a small menu, there ought to be Plan B for each dish. The bigger problem is the menu itself. The food just didn't sound exciting. Everything felt like I "had that before" -- even though the execution was perfectly good. Oh, and the place was "I can't hear you even though you are next to me" noisy. I had really high hopes for Recette, but don't need to go back.

                  328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

                  1. re: jcooper

                    I was there this week too. It was crowded and our table was a bit uncomfortable. I thought about asking to be moved as a more spacious table by a window became available shortly after we were seated, but my partner did not care to move. I loved the food, as I have in the past. My only complaint is that the waitress told us they had a special of fried oysters, and we ordered it a few minutes later, only to be told 15 minutes later that they were out of it. How many dishes you order really depends on which ones you order, as the portion sizes vary and are roughly related to price. We get 4 to 6 dishes for the 2 of us.

            2. re: dd65a

              After all these years, I still think: Sitting at the bar would have been a memorable experience for the family to cherish...always.

              Some of my best memories are due to spontaneity.

            3. loud, pretentious and overpriced...not a "recipe" for success...
              this is just another bad trendy restaurant in the west village.
              the size of most of the dishes were like an amuse bouche...
              but there's nothing amusing here...some of the dishes were truly
              they took what was a lovely dining room and made it
              noisy and uncomfortable...
              my "prescription" for hunger - visit another place!

              2 Replies
              1. re: k52

                Agreed. My husband and I went once in the fall and were not impressed. Overpriced small plates, pushy, unfriendly servers trying to get us to rack up our bill and a limited menu with 2 or 3 of the most appealing options out of stock. Really bad experience.

                1. re: mla19

                  That is too bad, mla. We've been a few times and have never had bad service. If anything, our waiter on this last visit was slightly too friendly and maybe not pushy enough, since I probably would've ordered another bottle of wine and a few more dishes with some encouragement. (I was with my parents and they're horribly polite.) I definitely understand about the issue with price, though. Probably, $30 or so for a "small plate" of steak is a bit excessive.

              2. Recette has, if anything, gotten better since opening. They've expanded the menu a lot, though many dishes include similar ingredients, so if you order a lot of items, make sure the dishes don't sound too similar or flavors will begin to run together. I understand complaints about prices. They do seem rather high for the quantity of food -- but you can't argue with the quality of the ingredients. It's very high.

                (1) Roasted sunchoke soup with Nantucket Bay scallops, pear and smoked bacon; (2) grilled pulpo with black garlic purée, fennel, preserved lemon and rosemary; and (3) bacon wrapped venison with parsnip, cabbage, apple, mustard beurre rouge were standout dishes on our recent visit.


                328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

                1. Had the same 5 course meal you did a few weeks later. I thought it was as good a meal as over the top Cyrus (28 Food Zagat and 2 Michelin stars), in Healdburg, Sonoma County, CA. which is similar to French Laundry, I am told. Very impressive. Wish they could handle my party of 6 two weeks from now but it's a small place.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: atievsky

                    I don't think Cyrus is anywhere near the caliber of French Laundry in Yountville. Nowhere near, imho.

                    1. re: RCC

                      Very few restaurants in the world are on the caliber of the French Laundry.
                      That being said, Recette aside from the cramped tables , it is a great find in a great location.
                      There is not many if any better places in the neighborhood. It is way better than Pastis, or Morimoto, or Paradou, etc etc. Wallse is better perhaps, but different type of food.

                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                        I've never been to Racette and was not commenting on Racette. My comment was clearly about Cyrus in Healdsburg and TFL in Yountville.

                        1. re: RCC

                          I know what your comment was. I was commenting on the French Laundry and shared your opinion as to the high caliber of the French Laundry. The Original Post here was about Recette. I felt I could respond to that also in the same reply.
                          The topic is Recette, regardless of the mention of Cyrus, where i have never been to. But no place compares to the French Laundry

                  2. I went back to Racette and had the 7 course tasting and my friend had the same but mostly different dishes , so we could taste more things. The hamachi amuse was very good. The bone marrow on little toasts were excellent. The codfish fritters on a bed of ground lamb tasted better than the combinations sounds. The roasted foie gras is perfect, however, there is a huge surcharge for it. You are better off not ordering it in the tasting menu and just order it extra ala carte. That way you get an extra course . It is $18 surcharge.
                    The scallop dish is very good , but the center of my scallop was cold. The dishes are meant to come coldest, then room temp, then warm then the hot dishes according to the waiter. The scallop should have been warm througout. The duck was exceptional. The sweetbreads were very good but I found them a bit dry. There was a little bit of sauce with it but not enough. The pork belly was very good, i didnt find it sweet at all. The Onion foam soup with oxtail was very good. The homade spaghetti with shrimp , uni and tomato sauce was very good. The pasta was excellent but the tomatoes were a bit too tangy. The shrimp were perfect. Dessert and the pre dessert were very good. The service was as good as it gets. My waiter was one of the best Ive had anywhere. The place was packed. The noise level was high but c'est la vie. The location is great and parking is easy.

                    328 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

                    1. This is not a "small plate" restaurant -- it's a micro-plate one, suitable for the wealthy who've had gastric bypasses and can consume only thimblefuls.

                      Our group of three ordered two plates each and two "sides." The waitress refused to say which of the plates were most substantial. "It's a progression," she said, meaning that the chef would decide the order the food came in, starting with the lightest (whether or not we wanted our wild arugula salad first or last ($12 for a handful of leaves overdressed with lemon and decorated with invisible kumquat, symbolic mint, plenty of hazelnuts, and a couple of matchbook-cover-sized shaves of ricotta salata.) The restaurant was out of both the duck and the lobster by 10 p.m., or we would have tried those.

                      We very much liked the large-tater-tot size salt cod fritters (three, for $12), with lamb ragu, though the curry aioli came off as harsh and uninflected. The Calamari, kale, cucumber, red chili, and white anchovy plate ($17) was a toss of shredded kale the size of a baby's hand, and six or seven vanishingly small calamari rings. No discernible cucumber, and only what appeared to be a sheer strip of anchovy. Orzo with peekytoe crab, spring peas, mint, lemon, parmesan" (at an insane $32) was maybe a cup and a half of orzo? with a few slender bits of what we assumed must be crab.

                      "Roasted scallops, local beets, asparagus, caviar beurre blanc" ($25 for four scallops) came with exactly two pinky-finger-length shaves of hard asparagus, but the scallops and bits of beet were delicious. Roasted cauliflower raviolo with sepia, guanciale, mascarpone, ocean broth ($19), the best dish of the night, was three or four ravioli. A palm-sized piece of Sea Bream ($25), with five or six tiny Manila clams and pieces of artichoke and potato, was also good, though nothing special. Had it not been for the very ordinary spring vegetables ($10) and under-seasoned duck fat fingerlings ($8), we would have gone away still hungry.