246 DeKalb Avenue at Vanderbilt, Fort Greene, Brooklyn
about $70 for two, with two drinks, without tip
A lot of my friends live in Brooklyn and they’ve been encouraging me to check out the restaurants in their borough. I’m slowly making my way down the list but iCi has always been the one that comes up whenever I talk food to Brooklyn residents. I was already in the area for a birthday party so we decided to walk over and get dinner afterwards. It took a while for us tourists to find the streets because we’re not familiar with the Fort Greene landscape, but we were seated right away even though we didn’t have reservations–and it was 9pm on a Saturday night! I love Brooklyn already!
iCi has a short menu but it was still hard to make a decision between the wild dandelions or arugula. We ended up picking both and sharing a main course. We were already set with the scallops until our waitress told us that the special for the night was a rack of lamb with ProvenÃ§al vegetables. Because a rack of lamb is something we never skip as long as it’s on the menu, we immediately changed our order.
We started with the duck confit salad with frisÃ©e and the dandelions with bacon. Maybe the confit should have been called shredded duck meat salad instead because I missed the texture and the jam-like consistency. The dandelions fared much better. The saltiness of the bacon held the bitterness of the greens at bay, creating a well-balanced taste.
As soon as our lamb was served, we looked at each other because we both knew it wasn’t a rack in front of us. We ate it anyway but we couldn’t help but let our waitress know that our lamb was clearly meat from either the shoulder or the leg. She went back to the kitchen, confirmed that the specials board indeed said “leg of” and not “rack of” and apologized for her mistake. She obviously didn’t like that we pointed out an error on her part because whenever she informed us about something on the menu again, whether it was wine or dessert, she said “this time it’s not a mistake”.
The possibility of eating a good rack of lamb can make some diners’ hearts palpitate and serving them a leg in its place is like taking away a Christmas present after it’s already been opened. It was cooked just right but if we knew we were going to eat the leg, we would really have chosen the scallops.
We ended with the arugula with the pear slices and parmesan cheese–a simple palate cleanser before moving on to the warm apple tart for dessert. A nice pot of citrus tea made of lemongrass, lemon and kaffir limes made us forget our disappointing lamb experience. iCi needs a little bit of sharpening but with our bill coming out at less than $85 with two glasses of wine, tax and tip, it’s another reason to love Brooklyn.