Ho-hum, you think—another beet-and-goat-cheese dish. And then chef Cedric Maupillier’s clever twist arrives: a salad of razor-thin peppered beets and buttercrunch lettuce with a savory Pop-Tart on top, fashioned from white bread and oozing chèvre. The playfulness and precision bring to mind Michel Richard, under whom Maupillier apprenticed at Citronelle and Central. At the latter restaurant—which won a James Beard Award when Maupillier was chef de cuisine—he learned to ransack the globe for inspiration while producing dishes as accessible as any diner's.
The often offhand brilliance of the cooking is well matched to the room, a hodgepodge of antiques, repurposed wood, and dishtowel napkins, with John Denver’s tenor drowning out the political talk. Don’t miss: Steak tartare; bacon-and-onion tart; lamb-tongue moussaka; roasted pork with charcuterie sauce; tagliatelle Bolognese; cassoulet; apple pie; brownie sundae. Open: Tuesday through Friday for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.