I watched the restaurant on 12th and Greenwich close and Recette move in.  I walk the dog past that corner every morning so I got to check daily.  Last night, we stopped over for a late night dinner.  Ok, not that late but 930. 

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Keep in mind that the restaurant has only been open for a few days but here are some observations.  The place is frenetic.  So many people in the kitchen and waiters running around like their heads were cut off.  I figure that will eventually work itself out.  There are a few things that need changing.  The noise level is deafening.  There is also no rhyme or reason on how they set up the tables.  It is as if they were just thrown in and pushed around.  Between the tables, the noise and the confusion, the place is vibe-less.  Is that a word?  We both felt as if Recette is a pop-up restaurant tossed into an open space for a few weeks to taste the chefs wares. 

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Some mornings I walk by and the place is set for the evenings.  Other mornings, the place is just cluttered with tables.  If they want new patrons to be drawn in from a walk by during the morning, they should have the place set up for the evening from the evening before.  Again, vibe-less.

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I will say, the food is really good.  A tad heavy handed but inventive and delicious.  Certainly the nuances of each dish will get better over time although not sure I am running back even though it is literally around the corner.  There is no warmth or feeling of community of patrons.  Weird.

We tried a few things.  Thinly sliced hamachi with a dollop of uni on top, sliced jalapeno and a squirt of blood orange and a leaf of miso.  The flavors all burst in your mouth at once but an interesting combo.  Everything comes at plates, not to big not too small and for sharing if you want.  Roasted ocean trout served over a mixture of cabbage and little bits of bacon and sauteed mushrooms.  Quite good and flavorful.  We also had the pork belly.  A long crispy piece of braised pork belly with 2 deep fried shrimp on top, turnips and a sherry caramel sauce.  We also had a small pot of brussel sprouts that weren't interesting.

Many wines by the glass which is nice too.  The food, really good.  The vibe, none. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. kirklove

    You’ve mentioned “vibe” a few times in your posts and we’ve discussed how it’s critical to a restaurant’s long-term health. I definitely agree that food is transformed by its surroundings (for the better or worse). Just curious what you classify/describe as the ideal vibe and a few places (**cough Joseph Leonard cough**) that have it.

    1. Gotham Gal

      There is no ideal vibe. But there are a few rules. Attentive service,sound control, a feeling when you walk in the door be it warm or hip butsomething, a method behind the madness. At Recette, they could fix it. Putthe tables in a methodical order, create some separation between them, addflowers to each table. Put some type of floor covering on the wooden floor.Put some fixtures in the ceiling. The space calls for that. Every space isdifferent just like every home. Different furniture works for differenthomes. A restaurant should have an intelligent well thought out décor thatcustomers can navigate that will speak to them once they walk in the door.Even if it is a bar. The Breslin sets the tone with the décor. Hipster barusing old school ideas, Joseph Leonard although small, the vibe iscommunity oriented because you feel like you are at a cocktail party, Babbois warm, inviting and the lighting is perfect. Nothing is ideal. When youwalk in, you want to stay and eat there. The minute we walked into Recette,I knew it wasn’t a place I wanted to stay and eat. Cold, frenetic with nothought to the how the patrons will enjoy the surroundings. It isn’t allabout the food.

      1. kirklove

        I agree. It’s a balance. A delicate one, but achievable IMO. I’d also add authenticity. Or more simply put – being true to what you are. Nothing worse than faux crap.Some stand outs for vibe/food/atmosphere/service that combine well would be Il Buco, Peasant, Gramcery Tavern, L’Artusi, Quartino, and Freemans to name a few. I agree I’ve yet to find ideal. Not sure if it exists. I’d put Peasant number one on my list in Manhattan and closest to perfection for my tastes (Italian) and my style (chill and hip without being hipster). And I’m not just saying that because I’m headed there tonight. ; )

        1. Gotham Gal

          I also love Peasant! Agreed, it is a total combo. So many restaurants inNYC have achieved that. You would have think that Recette would havelearned something from that.

  2. linnyjoyous

    I really disagree with a lot of your comments- the food is incredible- that’s what everyone keeps saying, and that is what will keep people coming back again and again. I can’t think of one criticism for chef Schenker and pastry chef Christina Lee.I think the place is beautiful. At 27 years old, this is Schenker’s very first restaurant- quite an accomplishment for such a young man. It’s interior is understated, cozy, and warm. Two of the four walls are lined by beautiful windows. There is only one wall that is possible to decorate, and that wall is adorned by antique mirrors. I live in the neighborhood, and I can tell you that there is a community and neighborhoody vibe. It was explained to me by the hostess that they block out a lot of reservations so they can accomodate walk-ins from the area.The focus is on the food. The wine. The service. It’s hip because it does not imitate. I guess if food is not the focus, JL is the place to be.

    1. Gotham Gal

      The food is incredible, totally agree. I love that there are tables leftavailable for the neighborhood, as they should. I will return but after theplace settles down. When I was there, it was so frenetic, that the mealwasn’t as enjoyable as it should have been. Also, the noise is deafening.The place really has very little décor to create a vibe which isunfortunate. A fantastic chef doesn’t always make the best restauranteur.I hope that they figure out how to create a warmer environment than the onethat I see every night when I walk by.

      1. linnyjoyous

        Didn’t seem frenetic to me. I think you must take into account the fact that they have been open a week and a half. That is a feat in itself. Also, the fact he is 27, im sure he didnt have a million dollar plus budget. I guess people look at things differently. I think it’s pretty incredible.

  3. jessica

    we just checked recette out on sunday night and while we’re happy something replaced jarnac so quickly, i couldn’t agree with your assessment more. the food is amazing, but the place has a long way to go in terms of atmosphere and decor.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Glad to hear someone in the neighborhood is backing me up.joanne [email protected]