246 Dekalb Ave., Fort Greene, Brooklyn
After a short spell of notoriety he’d sooner forget-as the smirking generalmanager on NBC’s The Restaurant-Laurent Saillard is perfectly content tostay out of the spotlight. That’s probably why he and his wife, Catherine, choseto open Ici, a sweet seasonal American restaurant, in their own Fort Greeneneighborhood, where locals are the lucky beneficiaries of lusty pennoni pastawith lamb shoulder, crispy chicken-liver schnitzel, and buttery skate peltedwith toasted hazelnuts. But perhaps its remove is what keeps the placecivilized-that, and the Saillards’ watchful stewardship. Laurent and his chef,Julie Farias, let the ingredients shine: Salad greens come from a Red Hookgreenhouse. Moist, snowy-white roast chicken began its life on a small upstatefarm. Wines all belong to that cryptic category called “natural,” meaningorganic, biodynamic, unfiltered, or any combination thereof. Ici is not thefirst restaurant to use Greenmarket sheep’s-milk yogurt in its panna cotta, orserve intriguing, unfamiliar wines at proper cellar temperature, or gratify itsguests with a fireplace in winter and a peaceful garden in summer. But thecombination of all its fine points makes it an unassuming star, reluctant or otherwise.