The young artichokes ($16) at Meadowsweet—with crisp, golden edges peeping out from under a pile of generously dressed leaves and fat pieces of Parmesan—might remind you of a lovely artichoke heart dish you could order here when the restaurant was Dressler.
Polo Dobkin, who cooked at Dressler for years before it closed last summer, is the chef. He's a co-owner of the place now too, along with Stephanie Lempert, his wife. The couple has given the place a makeover, naming the restaurant after a weedy old herb with a faintly sweet flavor. Though it's not yet growing in the indoor herb garden that's been planted with basil, cilantro and rosemary just above the entrance, the meadowsweet is on its way from Dobkin's family farm upstate.
The food might sound a little snoozy, but you won't find too much to complain about when you've got hot fried crab cakes on avocado purée ($12) or cod pil pil: a big piece of pleasingly salty cod on even more cod, a smooth mash of brandade running with olive oil ($26).
There's also the cuscino ($15) or pillow—a giant ricotta-stuffed bundle folded from a sheet of pasta. It's delightfully simple, swimming in a thin but silky Parmesan broth, bobbing with fresh peas. And a fine roasted chicken ($24) with a crisp, lacy skin, on a bed of wilty escarole and mushrooms. It's good, but after a massive cuscino, the itty-bitty gnocchi-like dumplings do seem a bit stingy.
Order a couple of Jared Rubin's handsomely composed desserts. The lemon tart with chamomile-flavored meringues and a quenelle of strawberry sorbet ($9) is an inviting little fruit bomb that does just what summer desserts ought to do; it sparkles with acidity and freshness and texture.
It seems like the only real mistake you could make is arriving a few minutes early. On a recent sweltering evening, the host told my very pregnant friend to please stand outside and wait until the clock actually struck six. That's when they welcome you in with smiles—not a moment before.
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