A friend and I made our way to General Greene (229 Dekalb Avenue at Clermont Avenue, 718-222-1510) the other night for dinner, and had a most interesting time. The menu is made up of a variety of small plates in categories such as "Bar Snacks", "Hot" and "Cold". The front room is a classic space, all white and robin's egg blue, pressed tin and tiled floor. The lighting is lovely, with a smattering of styles that all seem to go together. The kitchen sits in between the front room and the back dining area, which felt odd to us, like there were two separate restaurants sharing a prep area; kind of disconnected. The host and wait staff were all friendly though and most helpful when it came to figuring out how many dishes to order to make a full meal.
We started with a Bar Snack of Radishes with Sea Salt and Anchovies. We were both expecting whole radishes, rubbed in sea salt with anchovy fillets, but what we got was much more delicate. Large slices of shaved radish were HUGE and mixed with an anchovy paste, seasoned with sea salt and garnished with halved smaller radishes. It was delicious - crisp, strong flavors and textures mingled and got better as the dish sat in its juices. In an effort to prevent a washed out photo, the resulting picture is a bit dark, but shows the beauty of the dish nonetheless.
We ended up choosing mostly veggies, which made for a yummy if not cohesive dinner. The Quinoa was amazing, and I never eat quinoa after a bad experience with it on a camping trip in college! It was moist and crunchy and seasoned with salt and mint, and butter? Something made this so smooth. It gave me a whole new way to think about this most nutritious grain.
The Beets with Yoghurt and Mint were also really good. Roasted beets, just this side of soft, lightly covered with yoghurt were sweet and savory and tangy.
The Roasted Turnips were my least favorite dish. Some of the pieces were too hard, and overall it didn't have a very turnip-y flavor. The leeks and butter overpowered the earthy, root-ness of the vegetable. There were also pieces of bacon which made it a little better, but not enough for me to really enjoy this dish.
Another favorite was the Pork Meatballs, served in a bowl covered with sauce and melted cheese, somewhat like French Onion Soup. The sauce was great, hearty and tomato-y and not sweet, the meatballs were nicely flavored and slightly juicy, and the toasted slices of bread were perfect for sopping up the extra 'gravy' as my grandfather calls Marinara Sauce. Wonderful.
Unfortunately, we were too stuffed for dessert, which is a real shame since the owner of General Greene is a pastry chef and has become well known for his pastries. Next time I'll get one or two fewer small plates and save room for something sweet to finish my meal with.