Thanks to staying in an apartment down on Horatio Street, merely two blocks from Recette, it was about the tenth time we walked past it that we decided to stop and check out the menu. Why wouldn’t we when there was a board out the front promoting a summer supper worth $40? 1 snack, 2 plates and 1 dessert. Sounds like a good deal, right?
To the soundtrack of Guns N’ Roses and Willie Nelson, we cool down over a couple of drinks – a Pennsylvanian pilsner for me and muddled gin, cucumber, basil & ginger syrup for him – sussing out the New American/Mediterranean menu that’s categorised with snacks, charcuterie & cheese and plates. It’s all about sharing at this cramped establishment.
When there’s marrow on any menu I tend to bump it up to first choice, unless there’s something equally exciting to decide on. They may have been two tiny mouthfuls, but the bone marrow toast was the ideal way to season my palate with its fatty richness. The small medallion of toast is crunchy to the bite, quickly softening with the rich marrow, sweet onion marmalade and briny trout roe.
Our other snack plate of salt cod fritters is served in a small cast iron pot. The crunchy little orbs sit on lamb sausage ragù with a squiggle of curry aioli over the top. A great couple of bites, but I found the ragù stood way above the fritters in the flavour department.
Moving on to the plates, a perfect little fillet of dorade (sea bream) teeters over a cherry tomato and a thyme & espelette (chilli) panna cotta. Some tomato water is poured into the bowl once it’s set before you, adding a delicate sweetness to the crispy-skinned fish. There are a few mushrooms in there as well, plus an olive tapenade. Very tasty.
We also have a fregola with braised rabbit, wild mushrooms, shaved fennel and parmesan. The few pieces of rabbit were very tender, matching well with the meaty trumpet mushrooms and savoury fregola.
The winning dish had to be the slab of glistening Berkshire pork belly. With skin that was caramelised and beautifully chewy, the meat and fat beneath oozed rich and sweet sherry caramel juices when you took to it with cutlery. A lone rock shrimp sits on top and to the side is a wedge of turnip and sweet romesco.
The final savoury plate is seared duck breast with beluga lentils and maitake mushrooms. The flavours are very simple, as is the presentation. Pink duck meat, very soft and tender, with the earthy lentils and mushrooms.
Desserts don’t disappoint either. There may have been a lot of soft-on-soft when it came to the texture of the chocolate custard, but the combination of malt ice cream, vanilla egg cream and toffee sauce worked. Nice to have a cocoa wafer to give the dish another texture.
One of the house signatures is the s’mores dessert. A torched smear of marshmallow shoots across the bowl with a dollop of chocolate ganache laced with cayenne, Grayham cracker ice cream and a chocolate tuile. Stunning dessert, especially the sensation of the spicy cayenne as it creeps through the chocolate sweetness.
This is one restaurant I’d happily have I’m my own neighbourhood.
Recette – 328 W 12th Street, West Village