If you need a respite from the sometimes frenetic energy of the city, head to this oasis of civility and good tastes. The noise level is low, as is the lighting, and the décor so subtle it will take you a few minutes to realize that the huge vases of twigs are echoed by a twig and bird pattern subtly raised on the ochre plaster walls. The food is just inventive enough to keep things interesting (like octopus “pastrami” or crispy sweetbreads with lemon curd) but the chef is no showboat: he allows one or two tastes to shine on each plate, letting the fine quality ingredients (musky mushrooms, silky cuts of fish, rich duck breast) sparkle on their own merits. Bâtard has won a number of accolades in its short life including being named "best new restaurants in the United States" by the James Beard Association; you’ll understand why when you dine here.
- Pauline Frommer