Pete Wells is blown away by chef Lisa Giffen’s pig head confit, which includes brain sauce coming out of the swine’s ear and some perfectly cooked white beans on the side. The critic notes: "I couldn’t get over how skillfully done it all was." Wells wishes that everything on the menu was this remarkable, but alas, there are a few misfires, including an improperly seasoned leek and clam terrine, and a pickled grape salad that "wasn’t worth the obvious trouble that had gone into making." The menu has enough dishes, though, for you to build a satisfying meal:
Ms. Giffen’s talents are best used when she abandons the miniaturist mode. There’s a full-throttle thrill to breaking open chilled snow crab legs and dunking their briny flesh in brown butter that’s reinforced with mashed crab liver. There’s undeniable pleasure in slicing open the malakoff, dough mixed with alpine-style cheese that’s lumped on a slice of sourdough and then deep fried. This bonanza of starch, cheese and oil comes with pickled vegetables. It should also come with a small mountain for you to you climb after you finish it.
The chicken pot-au-feu and pork porterhouse are also highlights, and Wells digs the drinks list and the dining room, which "seems to come from another era, but it’s hard to say which one the owners had in mind." Wells gives the restaurant one star. Earlier this year, Eater critic Robert Sietsema gave this restaurant three stars.
Also of note: This review contains a particularly astute observation about the Brooklyn dining scene. Pete writes: "For all the hype about Brooklyn restaurants, the ones that turn out to be most impressive often come together slowly. Before Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare and Roberta’s became national names, it was hard to tell whether they were following a grand, premeditated design or just making it up as they went along."