Braeburn came quietly to the West Village last October, where it was important enough to be reviewed by all of the major critics, but dull enough to be greeted with yawns. Bruni and Platt awarded one star apiece. Restaurant Girl awarded two, which in her quirky system amounts to the same thing.
In a way, I can see what they mean. Its faux-farmhouse décor reminds you very much of places you’ve seen before. Or maybe a dozen of them. The menu, too, seems like the highlight reel from other farm-to-table restaurants. The chef, Brian Bistrong, won raves at The Harrison, but like so many in the business, he has moved on to something less ambitious.
But there’s something to be said for a restaurant that does a lovely job with simple things, and makes them just exciting enough that you’re happy you dropped in. Such was the case with a Poached and Panko Crusted Farm Egg ($10) with artichoke hash and parmesan foam. So too a tender Almond Crusted Flounder ($22) with cherry tomato salad, basil, and shallots.
The rest of the menu is along similar lines. There are seven appetizers ($9–13), four sides ($6), and six entrées ($22–28). There’s also a daily special, usually some kind of comfort food; Monday’s was Chicken Fried Steak ($18). The three-course prix fixe is $30, with a couple of choices for each course.
The occasion was a catch-up meal with a distant cousin whom I’d not seen since childhood. I figured Braeburn would be comfortable and quiet. At 6:15 p.m., we had the dining room to ourselves. Our timing was perfect. About two hours later, as we were getting up to leave, the tables had started to fill up, and it wasn’t so quiet any more.
The server seemed to realize that we wanted to talk. She stayed out of the way, but circled back frequently enough to keep track of us. We took our time before ordering and never felt rushed.
Braeburn (117 Perry Street at Greenwich Street, West Village)