BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
Perched on an unsuspecting block in Fort Greene, with an unsuspecting facade (I nearly passed right by it!) stands abistro. An unassuming open kitchen manned by two chefs stands at the back of the tiny restaurant. The small size of the restaurant only lends a hand to the cozy, homey feel that not only the surroundings, but the staff and food exude.
To start, my guest and I chose to share the calamari and escargot appetizer off the specials menu, a spicy tomato based stew of calamari and escargot served with a helping of freshly grilled rye bread. The charred bread added a wonderfully smoky and crunchy dimension to the melt-in-your-mouth- tender escargot. Following our waitress’s recommendation, we also ordered the what she claimed was the most popular item on the menu: Senegalese Fried Chicken ($17 for a half order that was more than enough for one person) and the Moules Frites (mussels and fries, $16/half order). The breast of chicken was served atop a sweet rice cake and wilted vegetables and topped with a slightly salty dijonnaise sauce. The mussels arrived in a bath of broth similar to that of our appetizer and were a pleasant and unexpected accompaniment to the lightly seasoned fresh cut fries which turned out to be the perfect thing to soak up the left over broth.
Abistro was a great find and I will definitely be back. The BYOB policy adds to its charm and friendly, comfortable atmosphere. As I have heard in the past, and now agree with whole-heartedly, this is the kind of place where you order off the specials menu. This is a kitchen to be trusted.