Smith Street Dining
by Julie Besonen, 10/22/2013
Beets with goat cheese ravioli. Photo: Will Steacy
288 Smith St., 718-596-3335, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Five nights a week, year after year, The Grocery is at the top of its game. The only time partners Charles Kiely and Sharon Pachter aren't in the kitchen are when they're at your table presenting a tasty morsel. Despite astronomical Zagat ratings, they haven't gone the celebrity route or branched out to Vegas, just staying with the program of lovingly, meticulously made seasonal American food. The swiss chard pancake, warm farro salad with seared tofu and black-eyed peas, and the goat cheese ravioli with beets are all gems. The menu leans more heavily on vegetables than in years past, but meat is still done beautifully, such as slow rendered duck breast with caramelized red wine sauce, and guinea hen tagine with Moroccan spices. Dessert is unfailingly dreamy. Fall weather permitting, the back patio is romantic and designed for spontaneity (no reservations). Otherwise, book ahead.