Note: Recette closed in April 2016. The chef, Jesse Schenker, cited escalating rents and the limitations of the space: he could not open for lunch, because the dining room was needed for dinner prep. Schenker moved the entire staff over to his other restaurant, The Gander, which remains open, and which (in my view) is a more fully-formed restaurant. Schenker seems to agree, as he told The Times: “Recette was not a failure. It was a steppingstone to where I am today.”
Recette opened about two months ago in the cute West Village corner lot formerly occupied by Jarnac, which closed in mid-2009. The chef, Jesse Schenker, was a chef de partie at Gordon Ramsay, then ran a catering operation in Harlem (also called Recette).
It’s hard to avoid the feeling that you’ve seen this before. Doesn’t the photo of the 56-seat dining room (above) look like a hundred others that have opened in the last decade?
The menu format seems tired too, with its arrangement of “snacks” ($6–9), assorted cheese and charcuterie ($6–20), “plates” of indeterminate size ($10–23), and side dishes ($5–6).
The server recommended two to three plates (don’t they always?), but when I requested the charcuterie assortment, two other plates, and a side dish, she said that would probably be too much. So I jettisoned one plate and had the right amount of food, though someone with a heartier appetite might well have eaten more.
The concept may be derivative, but everything I had was good.
That charcuterie assortment ($20) consisted of tête de cochon, cacciatore, jambon de Bayonne, and a wonderful foie gras terrine.
Crispy Sweetbreads ($16) worked beautifully with escarole, brown butter, lemon, capers, and parsley. I didn’t take note of the plates served at other tables, but this one was perfect for sharing—as the “plates” at such an establishment should be, but often aren’t. Duck Fat Fingerlings ($6) were also on target.
Recette has been filling up, at least on weekends (always good to see). Service is about right for this type of place. The wine list is short, and in the right price range. None of the by-the-glass options floated my boat, so (unusually for me) I ordered a full bottle of a young Bordeaux ($35) for myself. I wasn’t going to finish it, so it was effectively bottomless.
If the restaurants opening these days aren’t exactly ground-breaking, it’s at least nice to find a place that delivers well made food at an affordable price. Recette does that.
Recette (328 W. 12th Street at Greenwich Street, West Village)