We've heard a lot about Runner & Stone. First it was from much of the New York food media, declaring this little bakery by day/restaurant by night one of the better things to open in 2013. Then it was from friends who live near Gowanus (nobody lives in Gowanus), swearing by their baked goods, coffee, and lunch. After that it was from a few other vocal individuals, telling us that the place is completely overhyped, even going so far as to use the word "garbaggio." Eventually, we decided to see for ourselves, because all of these people can't be right at the same time. Here's where we stand.
First things first, Runner & Stone is not a destination restaurant. If you don't live nearby, you don't need to make a weekend trek into Brooklyn just to check this place out, unless you also happen to be dying to see what a brand new Whole Foods or a
toxic river beautiful canal looks like. Second, no matter where you live, you shouldn't be coming to Runner & Stone for the Brooklyn dinner of your dreams. There are way too many other places that will better serve that purpose, many of them in close proximity. Really, what you want to be coming to Runner & Stone for is a decent meal from a neighborhood restaurant. The people here are friendly, it's generally pretty good for dinner, it's great for a weekday lunch or weekend brunch, and the baked goods will blow your tits off. Just try eating one of their chocolate almond croissants and tell me you aren't permanently affected.
I guess what we're trying to say is that regardless of what you've heard, Runner & Stone is really just that one reliable place that opens up in a neighborhood that desperately needs something reliable, then and everyone that lives there goes "f*cking finally." They do a few things really well, and honestly, that's enough. But somewhere along the line, "f*cking finally" turned into, "EVERYBODY EAT HERE IMMEDIATELY" and that's when things got confusing. Good thing you have us to help you sort it out.
Pretty much everything baked at Runner & Stone is going to be incredible, but the Chocolate Almond Croissant is what you really want to be eating. It's flaky, buttery, and full of dark chocolate and almondy goodness. I don't care what time of day you're here, you want one of these on your table. Baguettes, brioche, and all other available breads are pretty damn good too.
Grilled Chicken on Durum Ciabatta
Pretty good as far as grilled chicken sandwiches go, thanks mostly to the excellent bread. You could do worse.
Broccoli Fritter on Pita
This thing is sort of like a weird artisanal hot pocket, filled with broccoli. Sound good? Didn't think so. It's not something we'd order again.
Duck Pastrami Sandwich
This is your go-to move for lunch. Runner & Stone cures their duck pastrami in house, and here it's diced up and tossed over greens like delicious bird bacon. Order it.
The dinner order of duck pastrami arrives at your table sliced and served with beer mustard, pickled onions, and rye bread. Still bird bacon, still awesome. A must order.
I can't say we've been crazy about any of the pastas we've had here, but we haven't necessarily disliked them either. This orecchiette is pretty standard - sausage, broccoli rabe, etc.
This is fine in a pinch, but don't expect it to compete with the great restaurant chickens of present day New York City. Go to Brucie nearby if you're looking for a next level roast bird.