If anyone could get me to eat Brussels sprouts, I’m not surprised it’s Laura Adrian and Braden Perkins, the owners of Ellsworth, their new small-plate canteen located a block from their mega-successful wine bar and gastronomic tasting table Verjus. Since they opened in early March, I’ve gone for brunch and lunch four times, tasting different dishes with each visit and it has quickly climbed up the list of my favorite, reliably good restaurants. Here’s the rundown:
Ambience: casual (read: yes, you can come straight from an afternoon of traversing the city by foot), unpretentious, lively in the evening when the place fills up with a more international crowd, quieter at lunch when it leans Parisian.
In the kitchen: While Braden holds firmly to his position in the Verjus kitchen, Ellsworth brings on board his former second in command, Canadian chef Hannah Kowalenko who handles vegetables masterfully. She is also the brains behind the to-die-for apple beignets
What to expect: Nouveau Americana fare and the same fine provenance one has come to expect and appreciate at Verjus. Beautiful produce, high quality fish and meats, homemade Sourdough bread, homemade butter, homemade ricotta, yogurt and sausage and an accommodating kitchen for shareable small plates. Coffee brewed: Coutume.
Strengths: everything from nose-to-tail dishes to terrific vegetable salads (like the Brussels sprouts). Surprises: gussied up corn dogs. Fixtures: the addicting buttermilk fried chicken everyone loved at the Verjus wine bar and an excellent selection of wines, some natural.
Penalty point: Only a small gripe but one that may likely be tainted by my seemingly endless appetite (and expanded stomach) and my overall feeling about small plate establishments. They are indeed meant for sharing but I almost always end up hungry within a couple of hours. Perhaps I’m not hitting the bread basket enough?
Overall: reserve online, go with friends at lunch, dinner or brunch and plan to order three dishes each to compose a full meal.
34 rue de Richelieu, 75001
Métro: Palais Royal