Runner & Stone
Yes, I did the first weekend they opened for dinner. Definitely a nice addition to the Brooklyn dining scene as well as to what has been a fairly lonely stretch in the Gowanus area. I have foggy post-xmas dinner brain so this won't be the best description of the food but here's what I remember:
I recommend reservations as it was already fairly crowded. There is a nice long bar in the front and some high tables with high stools/chairs. A little past that front area is another small dining area with standard tables and chairs and a lovely dining area downstairs. And then there is what i would call "Siberia"- it is a little hall leading to the kitchen with two tall two-tops. That's where the manager - a very polished and pleasant fellow, seated us even though it was a 7:30 reservation made a few days before the opening AND there were other empty tables. My husband was immediately unhappy and basically told me he would leave if they didn't switch our table. We spoke to the polished manager who told us something about the other tables being taken blah blah and he would comp us drinks. All very nice but once he left my spouse remained very disgruntled and I knew this would not work. The area really does have a strange, claustrophobic feel as there are no windows or view of any sort except for the kitchen entry. Very unappealing! So, after a bit more discussion he graciously moved us downstairs and from there we proceeded to truly enjoy our meal.
The bread, as Cookbook Addict says, is truly amazing: buckwheat, baguette and a few others. True to the flavors of the grain used but not heavy at all as in the case of the buckwheat.
We each had a salad- I had an apple panzanella with apples and chestnuts dressing- mostly bright greens with little chunks of apples, more of that wonderful bread and a few tiny chunks of chestnut. Lovely. My husband's salad was also very good but post-xmas brain keeps me from remembering exactly what it was and he consumed it rather quickly (and with a good deal of relish) without wanting to really share.
I had braided cod ravioli kale pesto, citrus gremolata which was amazing- a wonderfully flavorful gremolata with just the right notes of citrus to complement the cod and its well constructed casing. I would eat it again. My husband's braised lamb breast in Moroccan spices and salsify was equally clean, flavorful and well-balanced. The portions were good as well. I looked around at other diners and everything looked quite yummy and all seemed happy with their meals. Dessert was ok but not special and the waiter actually asked if we had suggestions about it. Drinks nicely mixed and overall a really great meal.
We had 3 drinks and were compd for them all!!!! I was a bit surprised as they did move us- so that was much appreciated and said to me these people really want to do it right. Considering this was only their second night open the kitchen ran smoothly and wait staff already seemed as if they were on the floor for years not days. Impressive! The manager apologized to us yet again before we left and my husband walked out saying he enjoyed his meal and dining experience and would return soon. That is saying something since often when a meal starts out poorly the whole experience is tainted. Not so at Stone & Runner. Try it, I think you will be pleased!
For what will be my first of many times - Lunch -
Chicken Cacciatore sandwich on spelt
Love at second bite, a bit like pulled pork using chicken
on a fantastic bun. Nice use of vinegar and olives
wanted to keep eating longer than sandwich afforded.
Almond Croissant - Time to unleash those superlatives,
This is what they are for. Best I've had. Crisp and rich
great baked puff pastry filled with supper fresh roasted
coarse ground almonds in a light syrup. I was reminded
a little of baklava.
Palmiers - Fresh and crisp nice
Cheese Danish - Really good tart flavored cheese on a
substantial breadish base. I usually don't like heavier
doughs on pastry but this was a fine combo.
Miche Bread - Much flavor, a substantial loaf better than
Orwasher's which is something to better.
Great first visit. As was reported breads are fantastic. Diner report as soon as I can.
Regular Baguette - great, reminds me how wonderful
wheat tastes. Medium crisp crust. A daily bread for the
Pear Spice Bread - Wow Ripe pear with light hot spice in
dark rich chewy dough. Hard to get a fruit bread right
but this one is. With a glass of calvados the
no mess dessert, add a wedge of cheddar for the one
if you get stuck doing the dishes.
Financiers - pistachio babies. As small as they are
figure them out for three bites - flavor and richness
merits three. Again, seek out.
Chocolate Croissant and Apple Turnover - Excellent puff
but I have never loved either as much as a plain or
almond croissant. Give a try.
Back after a longish bout with the flu.
Brioche loaf - Another great bread. Lighter on the butter than most I've had, i.e. the butter loaded loaf at Bergamot is a successful example of richness on richness. These bakers show why an alergy to wheat would be a profound sadness for eaters. It's also a kind of nice to look at.
Out of almond croissant again.
I had a quarter of miche, and a regular bagauette which confirmed my first and second experiences.
Speaking of Bergamot (should be lower-case in this context), R & S served me a quality Earl Grey this morning + there was no shortage of almond croissants...on both my visits, they just seemed to keep on coming in fresh batches...takes a little patience.
Got one bagged to go and will 'investigate' it tonight...observe, dissect, ingest, digest.
BTW...anyone try the pretzels?
Have now gone for lunch, brunch and dinner and have to say it is all fantastic.
For lunch, the butternut squash fritters sandwich with ricotta is awesome. Hot crunchy creamy butternut squash with cool ricotta on awesome bread highly suggest it.
For brunch, the eggs are great, but the pastries are the star. Rye brownies, palmiers, and an ethereal chocolate croissant. So good.
Dinner last night was fantastic. Started with smoked scallops with arugula and I think clementines. Scallops were very sweet, perfectly cooked and delicious. My wife's main course of a half roasted chicken with buckwheat dumplings in a mushroom broth was great. But my lamb shank with ginger carrots blew it all away. The thing is bigger than your face and the meat melts off the bone. So good. We had a lemon trifle for dessert which was great, but be warned, you need to really like lemons.
Also, prices are stupidly low. The half chicken was $16; the massive lamb shank was $24. They could charge almost double for the amount of food you get.
And a note on service: it was awesome. First, I called around 6:30 or so and asked if there would be any tables around 7. Instead of being told that I had to come in and put my name down, they actually held a table for us even though it was slammed inside. I haven't seen that at a newish restaurant in a long time. And, when we asked if they had pastries at night to take home (for the babysitter), even though we were first told no, before we left, they brought us a brownie and a palmier hot from the kitchen and free of charge. Couldn't believe it.
Highly recommend this place, and by the looks of it, it is getting lots of love because it was packed when we were leaving a little after 9.
The style of the kitchens' food is make it seem easy, simple and get it right on the head, which they did for all but one dish.
And on to dinner. The menu is really small, roughly five ap soup and salad - four pastas - four mains - six sides. We had Grappa-Cured Striped Bass, Fettuccine with duck sausage and mushrooms, Braised Lamb Shank, and Buckwheat Dumplings - all but the lamb were stand outs, the kind of dishes I love to eat, close or equal to the level of the fantastic breads. On the lamb I couldn't find any spicing beyond salt, while the Ginger Glazed Carrots with it were full of life and zip.
Dessert was Lemon Trifle and a cookie plate. Trifle fantastic, and near as good cookies.
When I come again I'll try another main and hopefully the lamb stumble will prove to be a fluke.
A first try and I was impressed The almond croissant was rich, almondy and buttery - quite brown, which really brought out the butter flavor. Daughter and husband thought it was too rich, I thought it was extraordinary.
Walnut bread was profoundly walnutty, the walnuts themselves were very good, the bread perfect in its texture, a great bread for cheese.
The buckwheat/pear was just tasted so far - looks also to be excellent.
Really cool to have this happening here!
Been meaning to post about this place. Got the chocolate croissant and the buckwheat baguette one day. Croissant was good (but i like almost any chocolate croissant) but the buckwheat baguette was spectacular. great chewy crumb, well-developed flavor. I would go back for that if I were nearby more often.
Last week also had dinner there. The salads we had to start were very good. The fish special I had was so-so, but the steak and the pasta my dining companions had were both excellent. And dessert—the rye brownie sundae was good, the lemon trifle superb.