Resto—A Breath of Fresh Air.

| September 19, 2012

The unique Belgian Restaurant, Resto, on 111 E. 29th St. left me tantalized and excited about this new find. Resto chef Ryan Skeen is serving up the most interesting Belgian food in New York. The unpretentious surroundings and thoughtfully executed food define this one-of-a-kind neighborhood restaurant.

The oblong room, with a charming outdoor patio, is a few steps below street level.  It is cozy but not cramped, with an ample marble bar that screams out to pull up a chair and try one of the many unique libations being served. This night, I enjoyed a Mandarin Old Fashioned. For the beer lovers, there is a plethora of Belgian beers being offered, as well as an assortment of European wines.

The laid-back atmosphere, coupled with the well seasoned skills of Chef Skeen, who has graced the likes of Café Boulud in New York and Elisabeth Daniel in San Francisco, assured a good time and a wonderful meal.

Those with vegetarian inclinations may want to find another path, as this is a meat lover’s paradise. The Crispy Pig’s Ear Salad with chicory, coco beans, soft egg, tomato confit & fine herbs was an absolute delight, as was the Short Rib Carbonnade with mustard spiced carrots.

Skeen’s devotion to high quality ingredients started to become more and more apparent as I ventured through the menu. The Moules & Frites with parsley, orange zest, debal curry, coconut milk and cilantro is not to be missed. Noteworthy is the fact that the Frites come with an option of nine different dipping sauces ranging from Lime Pickle to Lemon & Smoked Paprika.

I would be remiss in not including my effusive love, for the trophy of this menu, that nearly knocked me off of my bar stool. That would be the simply named Burger. But simple, this is not. This is a world class, two handed meal, made from beef cheek, hangar steak and fatback. It is served with a Vermont gruyere cheese, red onion, pickle and frites and in my opinion is the best burger in the world.  I would recommend a trip to Resto just to indulge in this masterpiece.

With everything considered, Resto can be appreciated as a date location, with a group of friends, or dare I say, alone at the bar. The energy level is very high and a lot of fun. It is a sophisticated environment that does not take itself too seriously. Don’t miss it!

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