3620 Northeast 2nd Ave
This compact, recent opening from Michael Schwartz hits every comforting note on your palate by extolling the virtues of local, focusing on fresh, simple ingredients. Located on a less populated area of Second Avenue in the Design District, the room sports a clubby atmosphere; at once cozy and congenial, while a bit retro. Matching deer heads line one wall facing a bar on the other. Toile de jouy wall covering festooned with animals is further embellished with old Florida photos and mismatched china of grandma’s era sits atop starched napery. The decor is offbeat in every sense of the word. The hostess is warm and accommodating and the service on several occasions was perfect.
Starters are all excellent but don’t miss the delicate slivers of royal red Cape Canaveral shrimp, commingling with coconut milk, lime and puffed rice added for a bit of crackle and a touch of humor. The heirloom beet assortment, smoked, raw and roasted, makes a stunning presentation when sharing the plate with ribiola and pistachios. Marrow bones, frogs legs and classic onion soup round out the retro feel and were equally well prepared.
The Pre-Theatre menu ($49 until 7 pm) is an excellent way to sample Chef de Cuisine, Roel Alcudia’s risotto with lump crab and stinging nettle pesto which was offered on one occasion. The full tasting menu offers five courses at $95 with selected wine pourings at $155. On the a la carte, rack of lamb perfectly crisped at the edges was mouthwatering and every bit a taste sensation. Bean ragout and eggplant caviar served as perfect accompaniments.
A vegetarian dish of wild mushrooms, asparagus and a napoleon of chevre are also included on the menu.
The wine list is extensive with a well balanced list of wines by the glass. Not to be outdone in the resurgence of house made specialty cocktails, the “Nicknack” with Death’s Door gin, Ardbeg scotch, damson plum, and herbs, or a “Calle Ocho”, a mix of Rum, JM Agricole, hibiscus, lime, tonic ,egg white and coconut water are standouts. The neighborhood is changing for the best thanks to the rapid expansion of the District, but, prices are high here even though the customers don’t seem to mind.
Monday – Friday: 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Monday – Thursday: 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Saturday: 5;30 pm – 12:00 am