Magazine article The New Yorker

LUNETTA; Tables for Two

Magazine article The New Yorker

LUNETTA; Tables for Two

Article excerpt

Smith Street has been celebrated as Brooklyn's restaurant row for almost a decade, but this mostly amounts to a profusion of bistros that aim no higher than acceptable steak frites during the week and eggs Benedict on the weekend. There are a couple of award-winning exceptions to the rule (The Grocery and Saul), but other attempts to increase the ambition--and price point--of Smith Street meals have tended to founder. Adam Shepard learned this lesson the hard way: despite encouraging reviews, his Japanese-inspired restaurant, Taku, remained stubbornly empty.

In reconfiguring the place into a low-key but stylish Italian restaurant, Shepard caters to the local tendency to prefer catching a bite. Diners can mix and match the small- or medium-sized plates at will--sitting at the bar with a glass of wine and some cheese or bruschetta (the grilled tomato is the best; all are fiercely garlicky), or opting for more traditionally substantial combinations (panzanella, say, followed by steak grilled with mushrooms). At the finger-food end of things, a dish of fried artichokes is superb: fried more or less to the consistency of potato chips and drizzled with lemon. Of the main courses, a wild bass over grilled leeks is unchallenging but prepared with real care, while the chicken provides unexpected excitement. …

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