Olmsted | Prospect Heights, BK

Olmsted is a glorious, unpretentious celebration of everything there is to love about “neighborhood” restaurants. It has that feel-good factor, adventurous and memorable cuisine, relaxed service, and the price is right by NYC fine-dining standards. I have no doubt you’ll leave with a smile on your face and a happy belly if you’re lucky enough to score a reservation. Pro tip: Mondays are walk-ins only.

Did I mention Olmsted is home to a dreamy backyard filled with flowers, fresh herbs, and cocktail menus? You can cozy up on one of the benches, order a few bar snacks and sip a cocktail while you inevitably wait for your table. The best part about Olmsted’s backyard is that it can be enjoyed year-round — heat lamps and blankets included.

Olmsted’s backyard | Evan Sung for the New York Times

Let’s talk food & drink:

Rosemary” — Mezcal, Aperol, Chipotle, Lemon, Black Lava Salt. Think smoky goodness, served up in a coupe glass. If you can handle the heat and subtle smoke from the mezcal then order this immediately. If not, Olmsted has an extensive bar program to satisfy your boozy needs.

Gobi Pakora Cauliflower — Are you one of those humans who only orders Chicken Tikka Masala from Indian restaurants? If so, I implore you to branch out and order this cauliflower. It’s a marriage of Indian spices and that vegetable you’ve been avoiding at all costs since childhood. Olmsted garnishes this dish with pickled onions and jalapeños for a true winner.

Grilled Scallops — To be honest, I think scallops are boring. They seemingly dominate every menu and are as inventive as a “roasted chicken” entree. Olmsted changes this narrative by GRILLING the scallops instead of searing them, and then serving them on kabob sticks above a sensational Thai-inspired salad. Think spicy peanuts, tart apple, and a punch of XO dipping sauce to bring it all together.

Guinea Hen Roasted & Confit — This dish blew my socks off. The guinea hen is served two ways, but the confit version is out-of-this-world-finger-licking-good. The thigh meat is sliced thin and then covered in the freshest ramp hollandaise sauce I’ve ever tasted. None of that questionable crap you get on your eggs benedict at brunch — this is the real deal.

Caramel Apple Donuts — Who doesn’t love a sugar bomb to end a delicious meal? Olmsted’s donuts are light, airy balls of perfection accompanied by a dynamite caramel apple dipping sauce. My only beef is that they don’t serve this with a spoon to devour the remaining sauce. It’s truly that good.

The heavenly donuts in the flesh | Jemma Hinkly for New York Magazine

Believe me when I say that Olmsted is worth the trip, even if you’re one of those Manhattanites who usually refuses to leave the island. Hop on the subway, grab drinks at Weather Up before, and thank me later for enjoying one of the best meals NYC currently has to offer.

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