Small plates, sandwiches, salads and desserts in a new joint opened by Michael MacKay, who's worked at Patti's, the Sample Room, Chez Paul and the Loring Cafe.
MacKay isn't reinventing the wheel, but he's obviously cooking from scratch, and his hard work shows. His attention to detail is evident in many of the small-plate starters ($4 to $8), especially a rough pork pâté with a searing mustard, plush house-cured gravlax over toasted pumpernickel triangles, robust sausages and perky pickled carrots and cauliflower. True to his serve-the-proletariat ethos, MacKay assembles nearly a dozen sandwiches (most $7 or $8), including pulled pork on ciabatta, grilled ham and cheddar on brioche and a fried shrimp po' boy. Entrees ($12 to $17) include grilled chicken with a savory pan sauce, a slow-cooked pork roast, a center-cut strip steak, short ribs braised in a shallot broth and a few full-meal salads ($6 to $12), such as pan-seared scallops with smoked tomatoes and brioche croutons, and greens with golden beets, candied walnuts and blue cheese crumbles. The back-to-basics desserts start with MacKay's rich vanilla ice cream crowned with a thick caramel sauce. Breakfast options (most prices under $7) include everything from a fruit smoothie of the day, a fried egg sandwich and a quartet of stick-to-your-ribs hashes to buttermilk pancakes and cheddar-chive biscuits smothered in pork sausage gravy. (Rick Nelson)
2403 E. 38th St.
Tue.-Thu.: 4-9:30; Fri.-Sat: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun.: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.