Farm-to-table Brooklyn is such an overdone trend that when yet another new restaurant bills itself as such it seems like a joke. There’s only so many ways you can prepare a locally sourced carrot, I would think, but I was proven wrong when I had dinner at Olmsted, a Brooklyn restaurant recently opened by a former alum of Alinea and Blue Hill. The best carrot I’ve had in my life came on a plate from this restaurant, in the form of a carrot crepe with little neck clams and sunflower. Carrot, that humble root that seems to make its way into many juice cleanses, suddenly became a pivotal anchor in an open-faced ravioli-like dish that will without a doubt make a debut on some sort of “best-of” list in the near future.
Most restaurants are lucky if they have a signature dish or two that truly floors their guests, but the whole menu at Olmsted might be full of them. It’s one of the few menus where every single dish sounds so enticing and lives up to their potential. Oysters yam yam, watermelon sushi, spring onion chawanmushi? Yes to all three please! I was having such a hard time deciding, and it didn’t help that we sat at the bar directly across from the open kitchen watching every single mouth-watering creation come our way. We managed to narrow it down to the chawanmushi, an extremely savory and textured rendition that made a case for complicating our egg custards, a seared pollock with hazelnuts and cherry, and the dry rubbed scallops, which arrived yakitori style on top of the most amazing concoction of polenta-like green garlic and creamed corn. A third entree arrived by accident, a mistake we hope the kitchen makes again, because we were given a fabulous spread of english pea falafels, pita and cardamom labneh.
If you can, draw out your meal by taking your drinks and dessert in the outdoor garden. I’d suggest the chocolate mousse, which tastes like a whipped brownie batter and comes with a side of cream. It’s such a pretty, whimsical setting that makes you realize how wonderful the city can be in the summer. Eating farm-to-table never looked so good.
659 Vanderbilt Ave (between Park Pl and Prospect Pl)
Brooklyn, NY 11238