As much as we’d like to laud Belgian newcomer Resto for the things it does right—the beer selection, the delectably fatty pork toasts with deviled eggs, and the pommes frites—Gothamist left late on a recent Tuesday night feeling disgruntled and reluctant to return. An hour and fifteen minute wait for the table became an hour and a half, but we took the busyness to be an indication of a worthy wait. After passing some time at a nearby bar, we headed back to Resto where the hostess noted the weekdays were consistently this busy.

Upon sitting, we scanned the meat-heavy menu and decided on the pork toast appetizer, the best and most timely part of the meal. Three fatty, 2x2” slabs of pork were topped with sliced hard boiled egg and a creamy whipped yolk, every greasy crumble worth savoring. Then the wait began.

We chatted and observed the acoustics: loud (tin ceilings), and lighting: pleasant (neither too bright nor too dark). We took note of the adorable bathrooms, the marble bar counter, and the otherwise rustic décor, though burnished wall sconces seemed more appropriate for a baroque hotel lobby than a Belgian bistro.

Nearly an hour passed before we called on our waiter to do a food check. He declared it would be just a few more minutes. Fifteen minutes later he came back with apologies, but didn’t explain what had gone wrong. The manager visited. The food was reportedly being plated. We joked perhaps preference had been give to the $100 orders of cote de boeuf. Ten minutes later—an hour and fifteen minutes after ordering—a burger, steak frites, and poularde with corn bread pudding, chanterelles, and snap peas arrived at our table.

The pommes frites were delicious. Hot, meaty, perfectly crisped, and served with ramekins of ketchup (sweet chili, lime pickle, cocktail sauce, mayo, or gribiche available at request, $1). The hamburger, recently rated one of New York’s best, was fatty and tender, albeit medium-well when requested medium-rare. Our dining companion, a hamburger expert, still lauded this trifecta of meats: beef cheek, hanger steak, and fatback on a slightly too crumbly Rockland Bakery bun. The steak frites was underwhelming—the meat too rare for our favor, needing a heavy coating off béarnaise. The poularde (another name for “big fat chicken”) was actually a dainty dish, but a tasty one. Sweet roasted corn and fatty pork flavored a savory pudding and complimented tender morsels of chicken.


Dessert—on the house—arrived before we even ordered it. A berry rich parfait with crème fraiche and pieces of waffle was tart, refreshing, and savory all at once. A dense (Belgian) waffle was came with crème fraiche and Belgian chocolate dipping sauces we couldn’t help but finish.

Subtract the three and a half hour dinner time and add a more forthcoming apology, and we suspect the food would have tasted a whole lot better. We’re reluctant, but curious to go back for another stab, on a calmer night or for brunch because our night's service may well have been an anomaly. For now we're going to go on what we know: stick to the pommes frites.

Resto is located at 111 E. 29th Street (near Park Avenue South). 212-685-5585