Beautiful, one-of-a-kind spaces rarely serve good food, for the simple reason that they don’t have to. But in bringing in former Savoy and Porcupine chef Matt Weingarten, the new owners of Café St. Bart’s have put in more effort than anyone had a right to expect. The place is already doing boffo business with its lunch menu, which consists of typically simple but potent Weingarten dishes like linguine and clams with pancetta lardons, summer savory, and wild ramps; pan-braised hake in a spring herb nage; and his signature grilled-lamb-and-prune-hyssop-butter sandwich.
Service is still slow, thanks to a cramped and overworked kitchen. As of June 4, though, Weingarten will add a large wood-burning oven to the place. “It’ll all be very simple,” the chef says, describing the dishes he will be cooking in it. “Seasonal fish, some salt and good olive oil, maybe a heritage-pork T-bone. Very understated.” The new menu will available during lunch hours throughout the summer, with a limited version served until 7:30. And even more relief is on the horizon: In the fall the place plans on having a brand-new 2,000-square-foot kitchen installed and a full dinner menu ready to roll out.