We ate at Journeyman again this past Saturday, one day short of three weeks since our visit on their opening weekend. Our neighbor suggested we return, but she didn’t have to do a lot of arm-twisting to get us to come along. We enjoyed the first meal, and I was eager to see how the restaurant functioned after a few weeks of service. What follows is more of a photo essay than a review.
The first thing we noticed was a chalkboard listing some specials, which included oysters, a rabbit dish, and a cheese course. In addition to a three- and five-course menu, on Fridays and Saturdays a seven-course menu is offered, which, on our visit, included the rabbit special and the cheese course served before the dessert course. We weren’t up to a seven-course meal, so we chose the five-course menu.
Oysters: jasmine tea, lime
Fresh cold oysters topped with a jasmine tea gelée and lime zest, a refreshing starter.
Ham rillettes with chives, served on a slice of Latvian rye. We learned that Diana, one of the chef/owners, bakes all of the bread.
Beets, radish, carrot, tomato foam, and buttermilk zucchini dressing.
Beet risotto: mushroom, corn
Risotto with beets, sautéed chicken mushrooms (almost certainly from Parker Farm at the Union Square Farmer’s Market), and corn milk foam.
Pollack: spaghetti squash, raspberry
At first I was thrown by the raspberry sauce, but after a bite of the fish and buttery squash, I realized that it contributed a necessary acid note, an improvement over the usual lemon juice.
From the oysters through the fish we shared a bottle of Perlage Riva Moretta Prosecco.
Lamb shank: beet greens, raisins, pine nuts
From right to left: cold sliced lamb shoulder, curried eggplant, warm lamb shank, a brick of beet greens with golden raisins and pine nuts, raisin purée.
Our wine with the lamb course:
Another change from our last visit was the addition of a sommelier, who was very helpful and informative when it came from choosing from the unusual wine list.
Once again, the fabulous gin and tonic gel with cucumber sorbet and mint. It’s very likely that customers will never allow this dish to be taken off the menu.
Apple: créme brulée, brown butter
Candied crabapple, apple sorbet, crème brulée (a freeform rectangle, not an easy feat), cookie crumble, and brown butter cake.
We had a glass of bubby rosé wth dessert:
Chocolate sablés, rose hip panna cotta, and red bean jellies infused with lapsang souchong tea, very reminiscent of Japanese yōkan.
A parting gift from the bar, this drink was quite a surprise. After one sip, I knew it was a Vesper, which the sommelier confirmed. We had a brief discussion about the preparation, which requires Kina Lillet (which is no longer made), and how Aperitivo Cocchi Americano is used as a substitute. It’s not often that I get to discuss James Bond drinks with an expert.
The service was greatly improved on this visit. It’s not that it was bad before, just a bit nervous, understandably so. But this time it was confident and friendly, just what I expect from a place I plan on returning to often.