Last week, I finally made it to the Red Dog, the new restaurant from il Cane Rosso’s Lauren Kiino. Anyone who reads this column knows I have a certain weakness for iCR, so it was a relief to discover that the Red Dog in no way compromised my longstanding crush. If anything, it reaffirmed it: it is to il Cane Rosso what adult Tom Hanks was to teenage Tom Hanks in Big: all grown up, with freedom to bust out and explore. I pretty much loved everything I ate, but dessert fiend that I am, it’s the butterscotch pot de creme that continues to wreak havoc on my memory. Crowned with a puff of vanilla whipped cream and a little log of shortbread, it was the kind of dessert whose supreme goodness renders everything that came before it, no matter how good, more or less irrelevant. It basically short-circuited my dopamine receptors, and they—and I—are still recovering.—R.F.M.
On Monday night I checked out Gaspar Brasserie. Atmosphere-wise, it felt like a ménage a trois between a gentleman’s club, a French prop studio, and a stack of money. But the food was resolutely solid—while traditional brasserie grub doesn’t inflame a great many passions these days, there’s something to be said for simple food done very well and without pretension. Case in point: a platter of 12 oysters, each fantastically cold, plump, and creamy. Naked save for a squeeze of lemon juice, they took me to a very happy, calm place, one I hope to revisit soon.—R.F.M.
Sunday was dinner at Outerlands. In truth, it was a mixed bag—there’s a very fine line between creative innovation and just trying too hard to convince everyone of your culinary brilliance. But let’s focus on the positive, namely the halibut that comes floating serenely in a big white bowl of bean stew. Accompanied by a chunk of seared cabbage and sporting a crunchy tan of its own, the fish is soft, flakey, and sweet, and surrenders willingly to the intrusions of a fork. The beans, which appeared to be of the wax and elephant variety, contributed nice textural contrast, as did the cabbage. An ostensibly simple dish, it invoked equally simple pleasure. —R.F.M.
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