Remember the lasagna bolo that took Instagram by tomato-entrenched storm? The headlining dish is no longer, but before you enter existential crisis mode, let’s take a little dive into the refreshed, elevated, and low-key Asian-inspired menu driven by former New York Sushi Ko chef Ricardo Arias. (Though, if you sit at his counter, he’ll insist you call him Ricky.)
Oysters are always a reliable place to start, and that’s the first thing you’ll see on the 13-item menu —small, but it packs a punch (not unlike the restaurant itself). Back to the oysters: they’re East Coast, $3 apiece, and served in trios at most on a tiny wooden boat, each dressed in yuzu mignonette. If you’re into heavier and less raw starters, there’s a crispy uni paella ball (Chef likes his seafood), baby shrimp wasabi, beef tartare with onion four ways, bluefin tuna zuke, and pork and clams, which comes highly recommended from everyone in front and back of house. Two salads—a root-based melange with baby turnips, beets, tofu, and black garlic celery and a light, punchy cucumber edition with trout two ways and sesame yogurt—are also excellent preludes to meat-forward mains.
In limbo between start and finish is the ham hock terrine, which for those unfamiliar with the various cousins of foie gras is basically a rougher, more coarsely composed pâté commonly made with pork or game meat versus duck liver. Chef Ricky’s version is is one of pork shank, served with braised daikon (a white winter radish), poached egg, and pickled mushrooms.
If you’re wondering whether or not the lasagna bolo has a comparable and equally Instagrammable/buzzworthy replacement, the answer is yes. Enter the Dinnertable Dog, a massive miso sausage on a fluffy potato bun served with wasabi pea salt, two delicately inter-drizzled sauces, and a side of house-pickled veggies. Those who dine at the counter again will be met with an anecdote from Ricky detailing the origin of the sausage, which comes straight from Chelsea Market fresh daily and rings in at $17. (Don’t worry, it’s substantial). The charred mackerel, $20, is accompanied by sweet and sour cabbage, roasted kohlrabi, and edamame while the braised short rib (also quite substantial) is of a more simple presentation, served atop a rotund smear of sweet potato and orange purée and whose focus is kept on the cut’s tenderness, no knife required.
Lest we forget the dessert and cocktails. Though Dinnertable shares a roof with The Garret East, it’s a separate collection of bottled cocktails that serves as one third of the restaurant’s wine/beer, cocktail, and sake list. For the tropical palate, there’s “The Gloria Clemente” (coconut and Sansho Puerto Rican rum, lime, Japanese sugar), and for the more adventurous, the “Aww, You Guys…” with Japanese whiskey, passionfruit, sesame, and black garlic. You’ve got several options for dessert, including a sundae and an epic mochi situation.
A word of advice: go forth and with a healthy appetite. And if you’re not among those lucky enough to nab a front row seat to Ricky’s operating theatre, make sure to say hi on the way out. He’ll make your night (if the hot dog didn’t on its own).
Dinnertable is open Tuesday-Saturday, 5:30-11pm. Reservations can be made on Resy for parties of 4 of less.
Written by Céline Bossart
Photography by Dillon Burke