Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: The Runner

Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: The Runner

Article excerpt

Open weekdays for lunch and dinner and weekends for brunch and dinner. Entrees $16-$24.

TABLES FOR TWO

THE RUNNER

458-460 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn (718-643-6500)

Following in the tradition of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is the Runner, another restaurant inspired by art. Time has not been kind to "Forrest Gump," the movie that spawned the seafood chain; Walt Whitman, who lived in Clinton Hill for a stint and wrote the short poem from which this excellent new neighborhood joint gets its name, is doing better. The chef, Andrew Burman, formerly of the cult sandwich shop Court Street Grocers, takes the connection beyond a volume of Whitman's poems in the bathroom--practically obligatory for a certain kind of Brooklyn restaurant anyhow--with a menu that looks back to the writer's era in New York. It's an elaborate, slightly twee conceit, but now there's another place to eat roasted oysters, and many of the other throwback preparations are also surprisingly delicious.

Much of Burman's menu makes use of a vestigial six-foot wooden oven in the corner of the dining room, installed for the Italian restaurant that was in the space before. In addition to superb wood-fired breads, including a tongue-shaped lavash-like loaf served with whipped walnut-raisin butter, there is a selection of "roasts," including an exceptionally crusty cube of braised short rib, topped with horseradish and julienned beets. That short rib is the Runner at its best: old-fashioned tastes, lightened up with vegetables, reconceived for people who sit at desks all day and want to share. …

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