Last year, Zagat's gave Grocery a 28 food rating, which is crazy for a 30-seat Brooklyn restaurant. Grocery is a mere 15 minute walk from my place in Brooklyn. Knowing these two facts, I knew it was only a matter of time before I tried it out. Last night, Jori took me for my birthday.
The restaurant is completely unassuming. The outside is painted gray and the sign is slightly difficult to read. The decor inside is equally tame. Even the dishes aren't anything completely crazy. The quality of the food, on the other hand, is outstanding. It has as much to do with the preparation as it does the quality of the ingredients. And now, the blow by blow.
The meal starting out with a taste of their excellent potato leek soup. It was dense and had poignant flavors. Jori and I shared two appetizers. She had an asparagus salad topped with a poached egg, creamy lemon vinaigrette and shaved parmesean. I would never have thought to include a poached egg there, but it was delicious. I had grilled cuttlefish with fingerling potatoes on a bed of romaine lettuce. I had never tried cuttlefish before; it's like a fleshier version of squid. Jori thought it tasted like shark, which I've never had. Either way, it was tasty but nothing special.
For our entrees, Jori had a striped bass with crispy potatoes and assorted vegetables. She said, "it was very good; light and not too fishy tasting." I had the special, which was pan-fried chicken with ramps*, spetzl and romaine lettuce. The chicken was amazing and the spetzl, which I'd never had before, was a salty delight.
For dessert, we decided on a rhubarb cobbler that had a walnut-centric topping and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Being a big rhubarb fan, I loved it. It was like a rhubarb stew. The best part about it was the candle and the birthday message on the plate. Very sweet (get it!?!).
As I've made abundently clear, the dinner was fantastic. The co-owner, Charles Kiely, said in the NYT piece, "I don't think we're doing earth-shattering food. We're just a really good neighborhood restaurant." That hits it right on the head. If you like eating delicious food without all the frills, this is your place.
To see more blurry photos from the meal, check out my flickr gallery.
*As you'll read if you follow the link I posted, ramps are only in season for two weeks a year and are fairly unusual. They also took part in the best meal I've had in my life.