I have recently realized that after investing as much energy and thought into restaurants as I do, I often regard them in the same light as I do people. If I didn't have as many amazing friends as I do, this might be a little sad. Thankfully, I am not lacking in that department! While friendships have always been top priority for me, I actually feel like I have had to make room for my relationships with restaurants. There are some that take warming up to, some that I immediately know I can do without, and then there are those others that sweep me right off of my feet. It's an instant connection - where I feel like they get me almost as much as I get them. A recent night at Recette reminded me of this great feeling and thus began my latest West Village friendship.
I have walked by this charming space on Greenwich and 12th street for years. Each time I would pass by, I would stop and stare at the empty tables inside, its mediocre menu outside only verifying my disappointment. And each time, I would secretly hope for the day when a new restaurant would take over - knowing that day was not too far away. The location and adorable space was just too good to go to waste. And with the recent opening of Recette, I may have gotten my wish and more. It is already a challenge to secure a spot at one of the few coveted tables at this New American gem. While the concept is based around small, sharing plates, many of the dishes are quite substantial. All are simple, yet elegant at the same time - an extremely appealing combination. And that rings true for food as well as a friendship. As I said, I am sold!
I highly recommend starting with the salt cod fritters. These are served with a lamb sausage ragu and a curry aioli. The meat ragu is the perfect flavor pairing with the crispy fish, creating a decadent starter. The wild arugula salad is an excellent lighter option. It is served with kumquats, mint, lemon, hazelnuts, and ricotta salata cheese. I can never get enough of arugula especially when it is topped with such unique ingredients. This was one of the dishes where I honestly felt like the chef knew me. It was as if he picked out everything that would suit me and put it into one salad without even having to ask.
For entree-like dishes, I highly recommend the Berkshire pork belly served with rock shrimp, baby turnips, romesco, and sherry caramel. The pork was the perfect texture and consistency. The one dish that fell short was the roasted foie gras served with fig jam. This had the makings of great flavor combinations, but unlike the pork, the texture was off. The highlight of the night, on the other hand, was the halibut served with morel mushrooms, baby artichokes, and asparagus in a saffron beurre blanc. With the use of so many of my favorite spring vegetables, this dish was the epitome of Recette's unique, simple elegance. But, it was the dessert that truly set me over the edge, leading me to declare my new best friend in a place. The ice cream club sandwich is served with cinnamon ice cream, rhubarb gelee, and bacon bark. Cinnamon ice cream AND bacon (chocolate bark shavings). I repeat: cinnamon ice cream and bacon! Most of you probably already know about my love affair with bacon, but most of you probably do not know that my all-time favorite ice cream flavor is cinnamon. Need I say more? Recette, you truly are a great new friend.
328 W. 12th Street (at Greenwich St.)
New York, NY 10014
FOOD RATING (Out of 5):