Sun, noon-3pm and 5pm-11pm; Mon-Thu, 5pm-midnight; Fri, 5pm-1am; Sat, noon-3pm and 5pm-11pm
B, D, F, M at Broadway-Lafayette St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
The Musket Room, which opened a couple of months ago on Elizabeth Street, around the corner from Estela, is another small, sneakily sophisticated downtown establishment with a casual party atmosphere in the front of the house and an obsessive young cook in the kitchen. The two-room setup is owned and operated by veterans of the popular AvroKO hospitality empire (Public, Saxon + Parole), and it consists of a bar-café area (which tends to fill up with crowds of fashion-conscious revelers early in the evening) and a relatively peaceful dining room in the back, which looks out, through tall windows, over a boxed herb garden strung with lights. The garden is cultivated by the restaurant’s chef, Matt Lambert, and if you sit down early, you may see him bent over with his clippers, happily harvesting bunches of fresh microgreens for your dinner.
My meals at the Musket Room began with baskets of puffy, fresh-baked bread and a cool orange gazpacho dressed with buttons of dissolving olive-oil gel. Lambert is from New Zealand, and he has a deft touch with poultry and game dishes (roasted duck, quail with a delicious bread sauce, fillet of red New Zealand deer flavored gently with gin). The deconstructed version of steak-and-cheese pie we sampled was less successful (and at $31, overpriced), but no one had anything bad to say about the seafood entrée, which was Chatham cod that evening, plated over English peas. The desserts aren’t generally as satisfying as the savory dishes, so stick to the old favorites, like the decorative, Kiwi version of a classic Pavlova (built over passion fruit instead of cherries) and a slim chocolate torte so smooth and sinfully rich that chocolate addicts at the table persuaded me to order it twice.
The Kiwi-heavy wine list features a very nice Rippon Riesling, from the most southerly wine region in the world.Recommended Dishes
Gazpacho or quail; duck or red deer; chocolate torte.