As a restaurant lover in New York City, it is hard not to be intrigued by the Sifty Fifty. But while I trust Sam Sifton as a leading voice in the review world, I by no means feel the need to conquer his list. Now, I am not going to pretend like I haven't counted how many I have tried. In fact, I am currently up to 18. But, with a list that can change every few months where some of my favorites have already fallen right off (no more Babbo!), I like to go on about my business, scouring and selecting restaurants from all kinds of lists, sites, reviews, and storefronts. And, when a restaurant I visit happens to be on the Sifty Fifty, I do smile and think, check! That's another one down - at least, for now, until his list changes yet again.
And now look at me. Two of my last four posts come from THE list! Well, my most recent Sifty stop was over in Carroll Gardens at Prime Meats. Having visited and loved Franky's Spuntino many years ago, it was time to pay a visit to its sister restaurant. Plus, I couldn't pass up accompanying a friend who is in fact determined to cover the entire Sifty Fifty (always happy to help a friend on a culinary mission)! And as with a good number of restaurants on any kind of list, more often than not, be prepared to place your name on a list upon arrival. Unless, of course, you manage to skip out of work and hop a subway in time to beat the rush.
Either way, whether you are waiting for a table or you have managed the early bird special, I encourage you to take a load off and quench your thirst by enjoying their cocktail list. The daily punch is adorable, delicious, and affordable. I am also a big fan of the Aviation made with gin, maraschine liquer, creme de violette and lemon juice as it wasn't too sweet, but still bursting with flavor (and I really just love anything to do with aviators these days). Before you know it, it will be time to decide which meat(s) will soon satisfy your hunger. And not to worry, no matter the time of year, you will not be deprived of greens as the menu is inspired by the freshest, local ingredients in the area. At this farm to table cozy and romantic stop, be prepared to go home full and happy.
The menu is a mix of new American and the best of the German cuisine (hence, the meats). No matter the time of year, I recommend starting off with fresh oysters. This is the kind of place where you know they are going to be the freshest and the best - and yes, I still crave them in the winter as they actually transport me to warmer, sunnier places. You can't go wrong with the warm mushrooms and poached egg served with parsley and garlic. The combination melts in your mouth. We also started with the absolutely delicious celery salad made with celery, celeriac, radish, parsley and topped with cider vinegar and sunflower oil. And for the adventuresome or not, I urge you to order the roasted bone marrow. Forget what you are eating and think about the taste - this is buttery perfection. This dish is served with radish, gremolata, roasted garlic, and toast, so you are free to tailor it to your liking - although it even shines on its own.
For main courses, I highly recommend the roasted La Belle Rouge Chicken breast brined in pickle juice with sauteed greens, pulled thigh meat & mashed potatoes. It is absolutely delicious. Even reading this description makes my mouth water. If you are in the mood for a burger, you cannot go wrong with the black angus patty served on a house-made sesame roll with a fermented dill pickle, lettuce, tomato, onion and hand cut french fries. For more hearty meat options, the slow braised beef brisket in red wine, vinegar and juniper berries with braised cabbage and pretzel dumplings will warm you right up. And while this is no steak house, the steak options are worthy of it. Don't be shy and pass up on the steak-frites. We rounded out all of this lovely meat and produce with the most basic dessert of all - an apple tart. And while it was simple, by the end of the night, it was exactly what we wanted and needed.
Ok, I'll admit it. Mr. Sifton has yet to lead me astray. But, I do still give myself credit for being selective from his list and so far, only picking spots worthy of my review!
465 Court Street
FOOD RATING (Out of 5):