It was big news - among people that actually consider a restaurant review news - when the New York Times dropped two stars on this tiny West Village restaurant back in 2010. Few had even heard of Recette at that point, including us. But instantly, a million Dining Section loyalists put this place at the top of their hit list. And so did we.
Over the last twelve months, we've been to Recette three separate times, none as a result of careful planning, but rather because we were hungry and frantically fleeing the Meatpacking District and whatever evil thing forced us to step foot there. Two dinners and one brunch in, we have it figured out. And we're not quite as impressed as some others seem to be.
It makes sense that Sam Sifton and the Times liked it here. It also makes sense that those Dining Section loyalists like it too. Recette is perfect for the kind of person that gets excited when the New York Times refers to a restaurant's "parlance" or calls a piece of ham "unimpeachable" instead of "good." This place is made for someone who still buys a Zagat guide every year. The food is expensive, interesting, complex and probably very exciting for people who call themselves "foodies" to talk about at a dinner party. But for us, meals here have yet to leave a lasting impression. Dishes are very hit or miss, and we always find ourselves wishing we had gone to Barbuto or The Spotted Pig instead. It's not a bad restaurant, but it's just not our kind of restaurant. I guess that's why we don't get our recommendations from the New York Times. Well, that and we don't feel like paying to read things on the internet. Good thing they don't have any free competition...right?
Marinated Hamachi, Uni, Sea Beans, Harissa
This is an impressive little cup of food, and is probably our favorite thing to eat here. The uni and the hamachi sit in a white creamy foam of sorts, and it's all delicious together.
These too are very good. Three fritters served in a little iron pot with lamb ragu and some delicious aioli. Order this and your meal will start strong.Buffalo Sweetbreads
We're down to eat anything that's supposed to taste like buffalo wings, even animal glands. But we found these a bit soggy and generally unsatisfying.Pork Belly
Another one that left us wanting more. This cut of belly is lean and a little bit sweet, but for some reason we didn't finish it. I think it lacked that crunchy + fatty contrast that usually = awesome.Roasted Foie Gras, Peppercorn Biscuit, Chicken Skin, Spiced Honey
A good one, but you need to be down with the foie, obviously. This isn't a big plate of food either - a lobe with some honey drizzled on it. It's tasty nonetheless.Burrata Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Shame on everyone else who didn't think of this before now. This sandwich is gluttony at it's best, and should be the thing you order if you find yourself at brunch here. Good lord. Imagine the richest grilled cheese you've ever had.PB&J "Pain Perdue," Earl Grey Milk Jam, Fresh Strawberries
A full on brunch disaster. This is basically stuffed French toast, but it's been stuffed with crunchy peanut butter that acts as spackle for two pieces of bread that might as well be drywall. The whole thing is really hard to eat and will make you wish you had actual French toast. The American kind.