Restaurants, Contemporary American Prospect Heights
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
Paul WagtouiczCarrot crepe at Olmsted
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
Paul WagtouiczChawanmushi at Olmsted
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
Paul WagtouiczFalafel at Olmsted
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
Paul WagtouiczWatermelon sushi at Olmsted
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
Paul WagtouiczGuinea hen at Olmsted
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
Paul WagtouiczChef Greg Baxtrom at Olmsted
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
Paul WagtouiczOlmsted
 (Paul Wagtouicz)
Paul WagtouiczOlmsted

“What the fuck?” It’s not the sort of language you’d think you’d hear over an exceptionally beautiful carrot crepe, but the expletive is not one of anger or aggression; it’s of sheer exasperation. How does Greg Baxtrom, coiled over the kitchen pass like a fiddlehead fern, possibly render a root crepe as soft and supple as fresh ravioli? Hidden beneath that tender pancake ($15) lie littleneck clams, plump with brine and butter, their own pliability offset with the earthy crunch of scattered sunflower seeds. Sure, with its ribboned carrot and sunflower petals, it initially smacks of veg-forward fussiness, but plumb its expertly balanced depths and—surprise! You’ll find one of the best dishes of 2016.

That’s the case with much of Olmsted, the Prospect Heights blow-in from Baxtrom (Per Se, Blue Hill at Stone Barns) and farmer Ian Rothman, who met while working together at haute-forage dining room, Atera. (Baxtrom was a chef; Rothman was the restaurant’s horticulturist.) On paper, Olmsted’s partiality for hyperfresh produce isn’t exactly a distinctive quality, but its sheer dedication to freshness sets it apart. Rothman oversees an urban minifarm behind the modestly dressed restaurant: garden beds provide Baxtrom’s kitchen with radishes and lovage; a bird coop coos with quails laying eggs; and a repurposed claw-foot bathtub sloshes with crayfish. Servers ask if you want to wait for a table on a cushioned bench in the backyard, with a cocktail and crayfish crackers, say, beneath strung lights—answer yes when they do.

Only snacks are available outside; the real good stuff is within, like a gorgeous bowl of charred-fennel chawanmushi ($16). Baxtrom levels the dreamy, delicate egg custard with a crush of crispy artichokes and the umami punch of Burgundy truffle. Torn scallops ($22)—often discounted, usually discarded—are dry-rubbed, skewered and grilled until tender, the charcoal singe and pop of pasilla chile in the rub acting as a smoky foil to the summery pool of creamed corn and stewed blueberry that accompanies the mollusks, the pool itself a balancing act between savory and sweet. Sometimes that balance can register as uniformity—rounds of English-pea falafel are a touch one-note, served with minted peas and pea-flour pitas ($20)—but elsewhere, it yields a duo of duck ($24), the breast juicy and crispy-skinned over a husky medley of Fairy Tale eggplant, olive and apricot, and the leg serving as a thin-sliced ballotine with a light, refreshing frisée salad.

These are fine-dining ambitions wrapped in neighborhood-spot environs, where the most expensive entrée doesn’t exceed $25, impromptu happy birthday sing-alongs occur between strangers, and you can openly curse over just how fucking good a dish is. And it is.

By: Christina Izzo


Venue name: Olmsted
Address: 659 Vanderbilt Ave
Cross street: at Park Pl
Opening hours: Tue–Thu 5:30–11pm; Fri, Sat 5:30pm–midnight; Sun 5:30–10pm
Price: Average main course: $22
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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This place was SOOO GOOOD!! Wow we loved every plate. I went with one other person. We got the crawfish crackers to start. Tasted like a bite of a crawfish boil on a chip. The carrot crepe and the crab rangoons second. So fresh and delicious. The ingredients are grown in the garden out back. Then the schnitzel and the scallops as our mains. The tomato in the schnitzel was incredible. It also came with homemade ricotta that was awesome. The scallops came with this insane sauce over blueberries and corn. Never thought that combo would be so good and I loved it. It was incredibly hard to get a reservation, but worth the wait. I reccomend downloading the rezy app and setting alerts to let you know when tables open up. I was able to get a table at 7:30 on a Friday night by doing this! The decorations are so well thought out and cute. The backyard garden area is a perfect place to have a drink. Can't wait to go back.


:: FOOD ::

Sharing knowledge and experiences ... my favorite drug to survive in this city! 

If you get recommendations from a friend with a background in culinary art, it set high expectations for Olmsted.

One of my ART - friends was back in town so I decided to take him on a trip to Prospect Heights for dinner in Olmsted.

While sipping on my cocktail with Yuzu, Vermouth, Gin and Sherry, I started to observe the energy floating in this convivial neighborhood restaurant. Knowledgeable servers explaining the colorful dishes to the guests, an eccentric but very nice bartender stirring cocktails, the passion in the kitchen was more than enough to make sure all plates were looking amazing.

This was a vision that had came to life and everybody in the restaurant was being a part of it - even the planters on the wall.  

The Austrian Gruner Veltliner turned out not to be the only thing we had in our glass that night. 

Madeira and a sparkling wine made us forget about the time. 

The garden was the perfect setting for the infamous S'MORES to finish an amazing experience. 

Professionals run this place. Every single detail matters and contributes to the atmosphere. 

When in Brooklyn, visit Olmsted. 


Olmsted has a lot going for it, besides just the food. The people who work there are awesome and genuinely friendly (Kelvin who works the bar is awesome) and they put a lot of thought into their backyard where people are able to wait for a table or seat at the bar.

The food is inventive and, naturally (pun intended), farm to table. I don't think any dishes really blew me away or that I would need to order if I went back, but I do plan on going back eventually, even if I'm not chomping at the bit.