Olive oil fried bread ($9)
Chef Rojo told us this dish was the work of sous-chef Katherine Youngblood; she fries a slice of Balthazar pain au levain in what must be a generous amount of olive oil until a uniform golden-brown and nicely crisped around the edges—when you bite in, it's mouth-coatingly olive-oily in a way that doesn't feel greasy, but just makes you appreciate how good that oil is.. It's topped with small bits of roasted zucchini as well as the vibrant blossoms, which are gently salted, lemoned, and olive-oiled, with Parmesan as a final accent. It manages to be hearty in the way of a good sandwich though its flavors are nothing but bright and clean.
Yellowfin tuna and anchovy dip ($9)
The dip starts with an olive oil–confited tuna, which is then blended with anchovies and egg yolks—"we essentially make a thick mayonnaise using the oil we cooked the tuna in," says chef Rojo. It's rich and unabashedly salty, but in the way of good anchovies rather than the way of too much salt; carrots and radishes are a smart pairing here, their fresh crunch balancing the intensity of the dip in a way that bread, say, might not.
Pan-seared local fluke ($26)
A fillet of the local fish is given a quick pan-sear, then served over green and yellow wax beans and snow peas ("Allison Plumer, our line cook and long time Greenmarket fixture scored from Maxwell farms"), chocolate mint ("from our friends at Project EATS"), and pistachios; ginger and lime serve as accents. It's a lovely plate of food but not, necessarily, more than the sum of its parts.
Cayuga Pure Organics polenta cake ($17)
Here, Rojo takes cooked Cayuga pure organics polenta, folds it with charred garlic scapes and both aged white and yellow cheddar, then allows it to set before it's pan-seared at service for a golden crisp. Polenta's least appealing feature, in my opinion, is its homogenous texture, but making it a cake preserves that creamy richness while adding a bit of a crust. It's backed up by sauteéd black kale and a fried egg, with the thinnest of lacy edges and a yolk poised to pop and drip all over.
Grass-fed burger ($15)
"It's an eight-ounce monster of alarming beefiness; honestly, if I could only have one thick-style cheffy burger for the rest of my life, it'd be this one," New York editor Max Falkowitz said about this guy. "What makes it so good? It's all about the intense mineral beefiness of fresh short rib and sirloin, which tastes a bit like if a cow kicked you in the mouth." It's blanketed in Grafton Village one-year aged cheddar and served with duck fat-brushed potato wedges.
Brownie ice cream sandwich ($6)
Chocolate ice cream (made by pastry chef Jen Shelbo) swirled with Skippy peanut butter and sandwiched between salted peanut brownies. It's "a recipe inspired by the fudge box mix brownies we all grew up loving," says Rojo.