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Nom City: Battersby

2013 January 3


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Every year, my parents ask me where I’d like to go for my birthday, and every year, I usually suggest someplace I know will be rejected–previous denials have included Maze and Nobu (3 years in a row before it happened!). After reading reviews from the Times, NY Mag, and absolute raves from Bon Appetit, I asked for Battersby, in Carroll Gardens–to my surprise…they agreed!

Battersby is a tiny restaurant that only holds 18 people. We arrived promptly at 5:30…to a line. After being informed that the wait would be roughly 2 hours, we put in our name and went to a nearby bar (Battersby texts you when your table is good to go). After getting the text–and feeling like I had won the lottery–we were seated around 8pm.

Let’s start this review!

Ambiance: A+. Dim lighting with a laidback, sweet hipster vibe and nice music choices. The kitchen is right in the restaurant, so yo ucan see the chefs going through their paces. Close seating but not too crowded and the noise level is just right. Pretty awesome.

Of course, it’s really about the food, isn’t it?

Ricotta (1 of 1)

Dinner started with an amuse-bouche–a rutabaga and apple bisque–and an incredible rosemary flatbread with homemade ricotta (pictured). The ricotta had a wildly creamy, whipped texture and was simply delicious. Well, everything was delicious, really.

First (1 of 1)

For our first course we split the crisp kale salad and duck pate–both were superb. The kale has an almost chip-like quality to it, which I’m guessing is from flash-frying it. Reviews informed me that the loud crackling noises heard throughout dinner were, in fact, the kale being “crisped.” Flavors were spectacular–I got a mixture of fennel, apple and peppercorn, with a light vinaigrette. It’ll be in my head for a while.

We ordered the short rib ragu for our second course–sadly, I forgot to put the flash on so no pictures for this one. The short ribs were braised, served over a pasta whose name I can’t pronounce, and the dish was a perfect combination of tomato, cracked pepper, and parmesan. Even my father, a self-proclaimed parmesan hater, had no problem eating the dish. I think the most apt word here is probably “foodgasm.” Honestly, that really describes the entire meal.

lobster (1 of 1)

There were four dishes offered under the main course section of the menu, and as there were four of us–we each ordered one. What’s pictured above is the poached lobster, ordered by my brother. Served with leeks, a couple vegetables I can’t pronounce, and served in a coconut-milk (maybe?) sauce, the flavors were superb. When food gets as complex as it does at Battersby, it becomes somewhat difficult to pick out specific flavors–I was definitely having trouble. I had no trouble eating, though. Un-fucking-believable food.

fish (1 of 1)

My mom ordered the striped bass, served in a cream sauce over a bed of spinach. Again, an unbelievable dish. Mine is the one pictured at the beginning of this post–an incredibly well-cooked duck breast, served with various vegetables (rutabaga, radish, turnips and potato, I think). The duck had a reduced pan sauce that was to die for. And hell, check out the plating! The chefs at Battersby take a lot of pride in their food, and it showed on each plate.

pork (1 of 1)

My father got the Berkshire pork, pictured above. Again, perfectly cooked with more vegetables, incredible flavor combinations, etc. Yes, this review is getting redundant, but I think I need to keep reiterating how incredible this meal was. What isn’t pictured–and probably should be, as it may have been the best part of the meal–was dessert. We all split (dinner was riiiiiiiiiiiiich) dessert, a grapefruit tart with a dollop of crème fraîche and shaved tarragon ice. The flavors? Spectacular. Essentially a foodgasm in my mouth. Make your jokes. I can take it.

It’s also worth noting–this is the best service I’ve ever had in a restaurant, bar-none. Friendly, unobtrusive and wonderfully attentive. Our waitress just intuitively knew when we needed a refill or were done eating. No constant questions, few words. She was wonderful. Battersby was wonderful.

Battersby is easily the best meal I had in 2012…maybe the best in my entire life. This is fine dining with an overly-casual atmosphere and little-to-no snobbery (well, from the staff…perhaps not the patrons!). It is a prime example of the farm-to-table movement taken to the extreme–amazing food, amazing ingredients, and of course–an incredible culinary experience. If there is one place in NY that you want to go to eat, and you’re willing to spend the money–make the trip across the Brooklyn Bridge and dine at Battersby. It’s more than worth the trip.

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