Evan Sung

Pete Wells Awards Brooklyn's Olmstead Two Stars

Is Greg Baxtrom's new spot the beginning of a new restaurant elite?

One of the newest restaurants to open up in Brooklyn is about to give the upper echelons of the restaurant world a run for their money― at least in some way, shape, or form. Olmstead is an eatery far from the typical neighborhood restaurant that many are used to. It’s a part of what New York Times critic Pete Wells describes as, “the birth of a new restaurant elite that is even more exclusive than the old guard.”

Equipped with its own version of an urban farm, this recently opened restaurant is home to a bird coop, beds of radishes and produce, and live crayfish running around (to name a few interesting things). With a high degree of innovation, Olmstead is challenging the pricier, elite restaurants such as Per Se and Atera (of which he used to cook at), in terms of fine dining.

Wells writes, “You can see the influence of those kitchens in the way he treats falafel as a showcase for vegetables and carrots as a backdrop for clams.” He continues, “At least as impressive is one thing that Mr. Baxtrom didn’t take from those restaurants. He hasn’t locked up his thoughtful and original food inside a hourslong tasting menu.”

Greg Baxtrom’s Olmstead is offering highly inventive, sophisticated cooking. Its menu has obviously been influenced by the previous dining establishments Mr. Baxtrom has worked at; however, the selection isn’t insanely expensive. Moreover, it doesn’t have to be:

“Torn scallops, bought at a discount, are threaded on skewers and charcoal grilled. They are as good and fresh as if they were whole, and I love how the pasilla chile in their dry rub nips at the sweetness of the creamed corn they rest on.

There is no $100 roast chicken but there is guinea hen two ways for $24. The breast meat is shot through with a fat green vein of ramp mousse; even more appealing is the second installment, a braised confit of the legs under morels and a lush ramp hollandaise. (If you’re there when the hen’s liver has been made into a honey-topped terrine, order it.)”

Wells explains that, “Olmsted is no competition to Atera and the other elite restaurants like it. But it is, in some ways, a challenge to those places, or at least to their notion that the best stage for a chef’s talent is the most expensive one.”

Though not everything on the menu wowed the New York Times critic, Wells awards Olmstead two stars.

For the complete review, click here.

For more New York City dining and travel news, click here.

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