Stone Soup 










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Stonehome Wine Bar 87 Lafayette St, 718-624-9446
Fort Greene
Price Range: $20-$30
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Friends are always telling me that Fort Greene is great, and that I should do my next review there. “What’s there?” I asked. “It’s really great!” they answered. I was sold.

After bribing my girlfriend to join me with a cocktail or eight (poor girl is scared of crossing the river), we were off to Stonehome Wine Bar, a romantic little bôite two blocks from Fort Greene’s second most important monument (after BAM): the neon taco truck parked in a semi-abandoned lot edged with seafoam-green razor wire.

The daily specials scrawled on a chalkboard outside the restaurant sounded amazing, even though until recently the kitchen was secondary, serving snacks to go along with wine tasting from the 130-bottle list. The new head chef, I’m sure, is extremely talented. That much is clear from dishes like house-cured Striped Bass Tartare with shaved fennel, pomegranate seeds, and peppercress ($9), and Cervena Venison Loin with roasted Brussels sprouts and cranberry jus ($22). But the execution just didn’t match the menu’s ambition, not to mention the stellar wine list, knowledgeable service, artful presentation, lively — if elderly by L Mag standards (mid-late 30s) — crowd, or comfy-modern-rustic-Italian décor from co-owner/designer Rose Hermann. The bass was stiff and fishy around the edges; lovely rare venison sat on a bed of potato puree that had been sitting long enough to develop a thick skin; a pleasant seasonally-inspired Squash Bisque ($6) was ruined by torrents of sweet maple crème.

If the head chef had cooked my meal, I have no doubt that it would have been great. But he didn’t, his staff did. Perhaps he hired the wrong people, perhaps he didn’t hire enough… And of course it’s not that the most talented cooks work in Manhattan. Even they know that Brooklyn is better.

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