Perhaps it is a new thing. Or maybe I was just oblivious last year? Whichever the case, it seems countless restaurants have deemed this week their official “summer vacation” week. Fret not. They’ll be back up and running in time for the weekend, which I have to agree is smarter than shuttering for a long weekend. I pulled up the menu for Battersby last Friday and was relieved we’d been planning on going that same day, rather than a few days later where we’d have found them on break. My friend M and I were both very curious to try this unassuming place that many publications speak so highly of.
I got there at 5:15, just a bit ahead of their 5:30 opening, and watched as groups slowly filed in behind me to form a line trailing down Smith Street. Wow. No wonder it usually looks like a sea of faces when I walk by. We sat in the back patio area, which was nice and open and had about 6-7 tables. We enjoyed a bit of their complimentary rosemary bread and ricotta spread and enjoyed some of their fabulous cocktails as we perused the menu. Their red currant infusion, pictured here, was refreshing.
To start, we had to try the much discussed crispy kale salad. After reading so much about it, I worried I’d be underwhelmed. I find it intriguing though that kale, a winter veggie, is such a staple dish on their menu. The light crunchy preparation of it along with the light citrus vinagrette and crunchy radish slices make it one to cross seasonal borders effectively.
We were tempted to try the tasting menu but ended up just going with an assortment of dishes instead. The tasting menu looked good (we seemed to be the only table in the back who didn’t opt in). The only drawback is you don’t really know what you’re signing on for. It’s a “spontaneous tasting menu”, which is flowery code for “surprise!”.
We did a couple of pasta starters for our second course. The pork tortellini was good, but the flavor of the pork was so subtle you almost couldn’t taste it at all. It was served with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and a pesto sauce. The flavors were great. I think a bit more pork inside the tortellini would have done it.
Our other first course was the fettuccine, which had a short rib ragu, Parmesan and tomato. This was so good. The noodles were wider than you typically find with fettuccine. The short rib was noticeable in flavor but the dish wasn’t heavy at all. Recommend this one!
Finally for the main course, we did the Berkshire pork belly parmigiana, prepared with ricotta gnudi and artichoke. I didn’t think it would – but this dish tasted exactly how you’d think it would. It was eggplant or chicken parmigiana but with pork belly. It’s very different from other pork belly dishes I’ve had. It was nicely cooked so that the pork belly was not too charred. The cheese layer was nice and generous. Warning – this is on the heavy side. Tasty, but be prepared!
We didn’t get a chance to try dessert, so in my mind there’s no option of whether I’m headed back. Though will have to wait until at least next week…
Battersby – 255 Smith Street (b/w Douglass and Degraw) – 718.852.8321
No Reservations / Closed Mondays