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Brunch at Resto

  •  Cuisine: Belgian
  •  Atmosphere:  casual, minimal 
  • Attire:  casual 
  • Ideal for:  brunch, dining w/ children, outdoor dining, small groups, 1x1, hearty grub
  •  Must try: Belgian Hangover Pasta
  •  Price: All brunch items under $20
  •  Reservations: Via phone or www.opentable.com
  • Phone: (212) 685-5585
  • Website: www.restonyc.com
  • Location: 111 E. 29th St., (btw Park & Lexington Avenue’s)
*All of the photos from my meal can be viewed on Flickr
What’s the space like?
Bright (via natural sunlight), casual, no-frills decor

How was the service?
Not memorable: neither outstanding nor horrendous  
What did you drink?
I enjoyed a splendid skim-milk latte that was made using Stumptown Coffee Roasters (a fabulous import from Portland, OR, which recently made its NYC debut)

How was the food?
Since the food menu appeared mouth-water provoking, Dana and I decided to order three plates and split everything down the middle. 
  • Belgian Hangover Pasta: Prior to placing our food order with the waitress, Dana pointed to where the menu described the Belgian Hangover Pasta.  “We must get that as an appetizer.  Must!” Dana exclaimed.  A large pasta bowl arrived with a tangle of spaghetti noodles that were tossed in a rich gruyere sauce.  Chunks of Vermont ham, coarsely-ground fresh black pepper and a perfectly cooked sunny-side-up egg topped the pasta.  Dana allowed me to christen the dish by puncturing the egg.  A river of yolk delicately spilled over the top of the noodles, seeping in to the crevices below.  We were so entranced, that Dana and I literally had a fork fight over the last few bites.  Aside from some gristle on the ham, I would return to Resto for the Belgian Hangover Pasta, alone.     
  • Burger: Dana was conflicted as to whether we should order the burger or the grilled cheese (Vermont cheddar, gruyere, bacon, pork belly, greens).  “I prefer the burger, D.  I’m so over ‘pork belly,’ I could literally scream.  Plus, apparently Resto is famous for their burger,” I added.  When we told the waitress how we liked our meat cooked, she told us that “it’s prepared to the chef’s liking, which happens to be medium well.”  Um, OK.  When the plate arrived, I was taken aback by the burger’s small size.  Served atop (what I’m guessing was) a potato roll, the patty was dressed with melted gruyere cheese, sliced red onion, a slather of mayo and a fried egg.  Accompanying the entrée was a mound of homemade, extra-thick frites dusted with sea salt.  When splitting the sandwich, I made sure that Dana and I each got equal amounts of fried egg.  While the burger was good, by no means did it deserve the amount of praise that I’d read and heard so much about.  Shouldn’t cooking a patty to anything beyond “medium” be considered a crime?  “Damn it,” I grumbled, “we should have canceled the order right when the waitress responded with ‘medium well.’”  Hey, at least the frites were good!      
  • Shrimp n’ Grits:  Here’s another example of “I shoulda’ known better.”  (Note to self: don’t order Southern food when dining at a Belgian restaurant.)  Aside from the grits, this dish was a complete bitch slap/insult to the South.  Four vein-in, shell-on cocktail shrimp were sadly rooted in a slop of yellow grits that were drizzled with a mysteriously sour, dark brown gelée.  The shellfish were crowned with a clump of steamed, wilted greens and placed next to two overly-battered fried green tomatoes.  ‘Twas a hot mess, indeed!              
What’s pricing like?
Here’s a snapshot of our bill:
  • Latte: $4
  • Belgian Hangover Pasta: $14
  • Burger: $15
  • Shrimp n’ Grits: n/a (this was a menu special)
Will you return to Resto?
Like I said before, I’d return solely for the Belgian Hangover Pasta.  Aside from that, I’m not in any rush.

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Reader Comments (1)

FYI...The burger is a mix of beef and pork so they have to cook it to that level. As a rare burger lover it really isn't for me either.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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