Contra

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86 Very Good

What looks at first like an ad for precious, utilitarian New York dining trends is really a refined, stripped-down tasting-menu destination.

138 Orchard St., New York, NY, 10002

212-466-4633

http://www.contranyc.com/

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The lowdown

Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske’s little Orchard Street venture has grown over years, from a quirky offbeat tasting venture, to the flagship of an increasingly influential downtown dining colony, which includes a steady stream of influential out-of-town guest chefs, one of the city’s best natural-wine bars, in Wildair, a couple of doors down on the street, and, most recently, a Neapolitan-pizza joint. The two menus — one is vegetarian — are varied, always interesting, and a relative bargain. The natural-wine selection is exceptional for those of you who are into that sort of thing, and the famous house bread might actually be worth a special trip.

Adam Platt

What you need to know

Insider Tips The restaurant only serves a constantly changing set menu, but you can eat similarly at the owners’ à la carte wine bar, Wildair, next door.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized