Contra, modeled after the neo-bistros of Paris, offers a $55, five-course nightly changing prix fixe rooted in local ingredients with New American influences. Chefs Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske coax nuanced flavors from their market haul to go with an impressive selection of young and often natural wines. Bread’s an additional $3, but the warm, lardo-brushed wheat loaves could command double and still be worth the price. Throughout the year, the duo invite likeminded guest chefs from around the world (Ben Sukle of Birch in Providence, James Henry of Paris’s Bones) to cook limited-run dinners in an effort to trade techniques and ideas, and to help define this particular style of progressive cuisine. A Johnny Iuzzini disciple, von Hauske also puts out a $20 three-course dessert prix fixe, but don’t expect whimsical kid stuff. Flavors and textures venture into uncharted territory, pairing blueberries with toasted potato mousse and chamomile ice cream with strawberries and olive oil.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2014