Duck Pastrami ($9)
Well worth an order: its pepper and coriander rub is gentle so the duck remains sweet, with creamy fat against bracing beer mustard. Were it stacked on rye and served as a sandwich by day, I'd call it lunch on every trip to the Gowanus.
Food and restaurant photos were taken later at an arranged photo shoot.
Escarole Salad ($7)
Escarole with fried cannellini beans and a sharp and earthy cumin vinaigrette. "I'm frying all my beans from now on," a dining companion said, and after a taste of their crackly skins and creamy innards, one could see them becoming the new crouton.
Grano Arso Fettucine ($14)
Fresh pasta made with "burnt" flour achieves a greater depth of flavor than the other pasta dishes on the menu, backed by earthy mushrooms and duck sausage. But it does so with overcooked pasta and a thin sauce that verges on broth. (Pro-tip: use that bread basket.)
Runner & Stone has a full bar with a short cocktail list and a selection of Italian and French wines. Though most of the cocktails ($10) are variations on classics—a negroni; a Cocchi-fied Vesper with Plymouth gin and Tito's vodka—the Base Stone Winter Sangria stands out. The blend of Lambrusco, Beefeater gin, limoncello, clove, and cinnamon is warming and delicately effervescent, though fairly dry. It's a drink I'd happily return for.
Front Dining Area
Pancetta-Wrapped Fish (MP)
The fish, pollock on our visit, is perfectly tender beneath its crisp pork casing, though perhaps over-reliant on the cured meat for its flavor. It sits over a cauliflower risotto.
Roasted Chicken ($16)
With sweet flesh and salty crisp skin, though accompanying buckwheat dumplings are gummy and underseasoned. There's more of the mushroom broth again, threatening to sog up the skin with every turn of the knife.
Ginger Glazed Carrots ($5)
Candy-sweet but surprisingly refreshing, though also more brothy than "glazed" would suggest.
Downstairs Dining Area
Past the bulk of the restaurant's seating is a semi-private dining area good for a larger group. The restaurant boasts high ceilings and clean, open spaces, though it keeps individual areas intimate.
Rye Brownie ($3 each, $8 for composed dessert)
I'd order the rye brownie again for its crisp edges and caraway-flavored fudgey center. You can order it at the bakery counter for $3 each, or as a composed dessert for dinner topped with creamy rye whiskey ice cream and caramel sauce.