Dining

Au Contra(ire)

Let the kitchen take the lead at Contra

There aren't many decisions to make at Contra, the month-old much-anticipated restaurant on the Lower East Side.

Let us help you out with one of them: You want the bread.

Shallots roasted on a bed of salt | Husk cherries, cream and olive oil
The $3 bread supplement brings you two hot rolls and a swath of goat's milk butter, excellent companions to tide you over while you peruse the impressive wine list and wait for the five-course prix fixe $55 menu (the only menu option offered) to begin.

Chef-owners Fabian von Hauske and Jeremiah Stone take care of the rest. Relax, you're in capable hands.

Jeremiah Stone | Fabian von Hauske
The two young chefs (von Hauske is 23, Stone is 29) have been in each other's circles for years. They kept in touch when they both moved across the Atlantic to cook, Stone at various spots around Paris, and von Hauske at Fäviken and Noma.

Although they both describe their food as "simple," their dishes are as impressive as they are clever: sunchokes served with soured milk; slow-roasted chicken, deboned and crisped in chicken fat; a dessert where dried beet chips meet up with a hazelnut crémeux and yogurt sorbet and good things happen.

Kohlrabi, walnut and lemon
About that bread: Von Hauske, who takes care of the pastry side of things, describes the bread as, "sort of like a baguette" with one important difference. He brushes the rolls with beef fat while they bake. That "fries the outside," von Hauske says, and explains the roll's alluring dark crust.

Like we said: You want the bread.

Contra 138 Orchard St. New York NY 10002 212-466-4633

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