Recette: American Small Plates in a Small Space

When I heard about “American small plates”, a description of Recette’s dishes, I was utterly confused. What does that look like? Do they serve small portions of burgers, fries, pulled pork? After hearing that Recette got nominated for the James Beard New Restaurant award, this prompted me to check it out…and luckily I gathered a few friends to come with me. So, here are the dishes:

Pictured above is the berkshire pork belly served with rock shrimp, turnips, romesco, and sherry caramel. You can’t go wrong with braising pork belly, though I actually felt that the meat was a little tougher than I liked. The flavors were good though, right amount of salty and sweet.

Their sea scallops with cauliflower, braised celery, celery root, and coconut broth was very good. The cauliflower was a highlight for me because it was nicely cooked and soaked up the flavors of the broth. The scallops were cooked nicely but were very small; they just didn’t feel meaty enough for me.

Duck breast with leg and foie gras terrine, chard, chanterelles, and walnuts is as intense as it sounds…and not necessarily in a bad way. The duck breast was cooked very well, and I enjoyed dabbing it in the little bit of balsamic. I didn’t touch the foie gras terrine because I actually don’t like foie gras (yes, don’t kill me for not).

I definitely wanted to try their fresh cut spaghetti with sweet shrimp, stewed tomato, chili, and sea urchin. This was actually the saddest part of the meal because I felt like it was too salty, and had three bites of it. I’m not sure what was over-salted, or they didn’t take under consideration the saltiness of the seafood, but it was just not a good combination. On paper it sounded so great but I was quite disappointed in its execution. The pasta itself wasn’t anything outstanding, and oddly enough wasn’t cooked al dente.

The duck fat fingerlings weren’t anything to die for and in fact, I wouldn’t be able to tell between normal and duck fat fingerlings. Originally they actually sent out the wrong dish to us, but was willing to take it back and give us this side dish. However, I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a dish that wow’ed me either.

We also ordered dessert (not pictured anywhere) and it was pretty good too…and more impressive than some of their savory dishes.

I would say my time at Recette was a bit mixed. It was freezing and they couldn’t turn down the AC so I actually ended up wearing my coat the whole time which puts a damper to my experience there. I understand – it is a very small space there isn’t much that can be done about it. I suppose that is just how it is at a typical romantic West Village restaurant where there’s dim lighting, intimate space (aka. extremely small), and can amount to quite an expensive meal.

Well, I’m just glad that I know what American small plates are.

328 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 414-3000

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