Friday, May 29, 2009

James - Fresh and Inventive (mostly)

Restaurant Name: James
Location: 605 Carleton Avenue (Prospect Heights), Brooklyn, NY

James, a relatively new spot in Brooklyn, offers a smallish seasonal menu of what I guess I would call New American (they call it "European-influenced American"). I've eaten here twice and am now satisfied that James has quality offerings and is worthy of repeat visits.

The menu has about 6-7 offerings each for appetizers, entrees, and desserts. There is a nice range of vegetarian, fish, and meat choices and most are creatively but simply prepared.

I've sampled the Sauteed Skate with Capers in a Sherry-reduction (the skate was perfectly cooked but its delicate flavor was slightly overwhelmed by the assertive sherry reduction) and I've also had the Pressed Young Chicken with Napa Cabbage and Morels (the chicken was amazingly tender and flavorful - no mean feat with breast meat - and paired beautifully with the cabbage, but the morels seemed to re-hydrated, which was a little disappointing for a spring dish). My conclusions here are that most entrees are good but may have one or two off-notes.

Of the appetizer's I've tried, they seem more hit-and-miss dish by dish. I've tried the North Fork Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese Fondue (absolutely amazing - the silky fondue drizzled over the perfectly cooked asparagus was indulgent and decadent) and the Seared East Coast Tuna with Shaved Fennel (nothing was off, but nothing jumped out and said EAT MORE to me either - just a bit blah).

For desserts, I've only sampled one: the Fresh Berry Crostada. It was great (in fact, I've only had that one because I ordered it again the second time I ate there...I know, I know, not good reviewer behavior, but what can I say, it was great).

The wine offerings are nice here too, with good selections from both the bottle and by the glass.

James is a small, elegant space and does not take reservations for parties of less than 6 people. You should have no trouble getting a table before 7pm, but on weekend nights there might be a good long wait...but one that is worth it.

Bon Appetit!

James on Urbanspoon

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