In a perfect world we’d all be seated immediately. In reality, waits, especially for the city’s trendiest tables, are usually inevitable. Yet look around Olmsted’s backyard on any given night and, weather permitting, you’ll find a sea of smiling faces. That’s because farmer Ian Rothman and chef Greg Baxtrom turned their small outdoor space into one of the lushest and most serene waiting areas in the city. Surrounded by looming plants, diners sit around a U-shaped wooden planter blooming with radishes and meticulously tended herbs, part of the restaurant’s effort to highlight sustainable, closed-system agriculture. A tub near the entrance bubbles away with swimming crawfish, and the elevated coop affixed to the fenced-in garden’s back corner is home to a pair of quails. Minutes melt away as you sip bartender Mike Bohn’s “garden-to-glass” cocktails, which center on a single ingredient, like tarragon or sassafras. Baxtrom’s garden menu, meanwhile, offers a proper taste of his experimental New American cooking, including bites like fluke sashimi folded around watermelon, and a gooey Harbison cheese fondue served with croutons and pickled garden radishes.
659 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn