Has anyone been? It's the one that replaced Ernesto's 1521 Cafe.
I saw some good comments on Yelp, but I trust Chowhound.
Also - got a weird notice from Chow. Is it ending? Where do we migrate?
I checked it out last week and got try a lot of dishes on the menu. From the quality of the service and preparations you would never know they just opened. I didn't love every single dish but I liked everything. Everything had a lot of flavor, was well prepared, and the ingredients were very high quality, especially the beef, which is aged ultra-prime from a local farm. Definitely check it out.
My husband and I made a last minute reservation yesterday for dinner. We were really impressed. The menu seems to change daily, and they updated it on their website. My husband had the house cured lomo to start and the sea bass for his main dish. The lomo was incredible and I thought the plate and serving size were a good value. The sea bass was lovely, under cooked just enough to make it meaty and the perfect texture. I started with the homemade penne with mushrooms in a cream sauce. The penne was really dense, but perfectly cooked. The cream sauce wasn't too heavy and the mushrooms were divine. I went with the scallops for my main, there were three large scallops, turnips, mushrooms and mustard greens that were just barely wilted from the heat of the scallops. Scallops were perfectly under cooked with a good sear. The turnips and mushrooms weren't overly fussed with, so their earthly flavor came across strongly. The only thing that was odd was the use of lime (I think) segments. They were so tart it was hard for them to not dominate a bite, so I eventually just dipped bites in the juice and left the segments on the plate. The rest of the dish was wonderful.
We skipped dessert, although there were a lot of good looking choices. Dinner for two, two courses each, before tip was $83. I thought the main courses were maybe a dollar or two more than I would have expected. But, the quality of ingredients and their preparation seems to warrant the price. The service was good, maybe still trying to get it together a bit, but overall no complaints. Took about an hour and 15 minutes for dinner.
I went to Russet last night and had a decent experience. I loved the space; high ceilings with big windows. The menu is small but everything looked pretty good. My husband and I split the gnocchi which was delicious but a bit salty. Then, we shared the beef daube and red snapper. I would have enjoyed the entrees more if they weren't so salty. No complaints about the waitstaff; they were very attentive.
When the food is too salty, do you usually complain? I don't cook with a lot of salt so I don't know if I'm just overly sensitive?
I don't think I'll go back since I wasn't crazy about the food and it seems like there's so many chi-chi American byobs out there like Bistro 7, Farm and Fisherman, and Fond. But, the place is new and deserves a visit from people.
We had dinner at Russet on Saturday, so I thought that I would report back.
Overall it was an excellent meal.
The menu is extremely limited, and varies quite a bit (i.e. there were only one or two items that had stayed on the menu from only a week prior … so don't do too much menu dreaming more than a couple of days before your visit, as your apt to be disappointed by a dish that's been retired!). I guess this is the essence of the farm to table concept, and in this case it left nothing to be desired. We were a little bit nervous about both the limited menu and the inability to have any idea what would be on the menu until we got there, as we have some dietary restrictions. Even with our restrictions there were still plenty of items too choose from, and that was never an issue in our order.
We ended up splitting a salad, two pastas, a main, and a desert. Our waiter was great and let us dictate the order and grouping of our dishes (given the limited order, I'd have otherwise felt like kind of a heel asking for them as four courses: salad, pastas, main, desert). All were very well prepared, the pastas were all clearly made in house, and the flavor combinations were all simple but well considered and harmonious.
As I mentioned, our specific dishes probably aren't terribly relevant given that they'll probably be gone by Wednesday, but I'll lay them out briefly for the sake of posterity:
Radicchio-Frisee Salad with bagna cauda and croutons. The hot dressing did a wonderful job of just slightly wilting the lettuces, and I am a sucker for anchovies so this was among my favorite salads I've had in a very long time. The croutons were so hard that it was impossible to spear them with a fork, and that's about the worst criticism I can pay the meal.
Pici with pesto and peas. Quite delicious. They claim to have used almonds instead of pine nuts. Can't say that I noticed the switch, as the dish was exploding with a clean basil flavor and wasn't missing anything. The peas were also a nice touch. Quite simple, but when it is made this good I don't see much reason to complicate things.
Cuttlefish ink farfelle with poached oysters and pernod. I really can't say enough about this dish. The pasta and oysters were in a broth similar to what you'd expect with mussels. Absolutely delicious, and briny! I don't like Pernod but it was perfect in this dish (so I guess I should say that I like Pernod, when it's used perfectly). These two pasta plates were wonderful. The menu offers a limited selection of pastas, but these two were both very memorable, and I can see myself returning here when the pasta craving kicks up (as it often does). I did not expect that going in.
Our entree was the Berkshire pork chop with cannelli beans and fava leaves. It was a gorgeous pork chop cooked perfectly to my liking, and was dressed in a chili oil that gave the broth that the beans and greens were swimming in a very pleasant heat.
We also had a desert, gianduja marquise, that I hadn't hear of before, but it was effectively a nearly-dairy free chocolate mousse (there is some butter) with hazelnuts. The menu referenced a caramel sabayon (though the caramel flavor didn't come through for me), and some delicious macerated cherries. It was a great finish to the meal as we have dairy issues and didn't expect to have desert.
Firsts were priced at $10-15, and seconds were typically $22-30 (the vegetarian option was only $18). All of that food and we only ran a bill of $75 before tip. I was very pleasantly surprised by that and we think that it was a great value for what we got. The pasta portions are definitely on the small side (I wouldn't call it a meal by any means), but I think the intent is to include them as a part of a meal and the most expensive one was our oyster pasta which clocked in at $15, so you're not paying for it like it's a meal.
The space is quite attractive (Ernesto's was always one of my favorite rooms in the city), but the noise was an issue. I am ordinarily not put off by noise level at a restaurant (you are out to dinner after all), but it was very noticeable and didn't let up even as the restaurant was only 15-20% full near 11:00pm when we left. This wouldn't be a disincentive for me to return, but if you are sensitive to a noisy place it is something to be aware of going in. I would also be curious about others' experiences, since we had several large tables that were in rather high spirits; it may have been an isolated experience. Service was excellent, very attentive but in no way over-bearing.