Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday; dinner: seven days
Sleek "modern speakeasy" from Emmanuel Nony; chef Andrew Zimmerman is sailing right along.
Losing a talented chef is cause for concern, but Sepia couldnt have found a better replacement for Kendal Duque than Andrew Zimmerman (Mod, Del Toro, NoMi). On my visit his subtly playful seasonal menu brought the familiar litany of natural, organic, sustainable, local to life in an appetizer of a gently poached and crisply fried duck egg, the essence of spring on a bed of sauteed asparagus, ramps, and morels. The charcuterie combo, perfect for sharing, featured a rich country-style duck paté, fine-textured rabbit rillettes, and a house-made pistachio-studded mortadella that put store-bought to shame. And it was hard to pass up the English-pea-and-mascarpone agnolotti or the sea scallops with sunchoke so highly touted by our proficient waitress. She also raved about the Gunthorp Farms pork porterhouse, which almost everyone in her station obligingly orderedand she was right. Given a southern slant with bourbon, a salad of greens and cherries on top, and smooth cheese grits underneath, the thick steak was perfectly grilled, moist and delicious. Panfried rainbow trout strewn with black-eyed peas, candied bacon, pecan bits, red onions, and skinny green beans also sang Dixie, as did a takeoff on chicken and buttermilk biscuits that subbed in rabbit. Warm flatbreads still head the lineup, but though the one with merguez sausage, eggplant puree, and fresh mint was fine, it paled in comparison to the rest of the meal. First-rate desserts ranged from light cornmeal cookies sandwiching sweet goat cheese cream set off by blueberry compote and coconut sorbet to a gooey pan brownie with almond toffee, brandied cherries, chocolate caramel sauce, and chai ice cream. Fancy cocktails, interesting beers, and well-chosen wines are among the beverages, but I wish there were some more-affordable by-the-glass selections. I also wish the stylish room—decorated with mirrors and dominated by Mylar-shaded chandeliers—werent so damn noisy.
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Fancy cocktails, interesting beers, and well-chosen wines are available under the direction of former Scofflaw barkeep Griffin Elliott, but I wish there were some more-affordable by-the-glass selections. I also wish the stylish room—decorated with mirrors and dominated by Mylar-shaded chandeliers—weren’t so damn noisy. —Anne Spiselman