At the top is the view from my table--early on, before customers jammed every corner of the restaurant. You may not be able to spot it, but a portrait of Charlie Chaplin, who once owned the building, is high up on one of the shelves.
What to order: Even a Brussels sprouts hater at the table changed his mind after tasting wood oven Brussels sprouts with Applewood smoked bacon and frisée (above). The salty, smoky flavor of the bacon did wonders for the sprouts. I'm not so sure about the soft egg in the mix, but then I'm not a soft egg fan. The frisée was there to signal that this was a salad.
Even better was charcoal-grilled Mediterranean octopus--another salad (above). The delicate char taste and sweetness of the octopus stood out in what was essentially a fruit salad, a toss-up of fuyu persimmons, pomegranate seeds, shredded cabbage and pistachios with lime and chile.
What you see above gives no idea how lavish the charcuterie board was. So many things covered the board that I couldn't keep them straight--pâtés, silky duck liver mousse, duck prosciutto, rillettes, tiny tastes of extraordinary cheeses, a sweet fig, chutney, honey, two kinds of bread and incredibly intense pickled vegetables. Those aren't limes in the photo. They're olives.
And then came this black pot of succulent chicken, not a bit of it overcooked and dry. On the menu, it's Mary's Organic Rotisserie Chicken. The mixture underneath is beans and black kale--the kale to make you feel healthy while dipping your bread in a side pot of hot, meaty, devilishly rich pan drippings.
And here's the birthday plate, a caramel apple and persimmon crisp with vanilla ice cream, brought quietly to the table without an embarrassing chorus of singers. Getting older is definitely not a bad thing--if you get to celebrate with a dinner like this.