Thistle Hill Tavern is a Park Slope bar and restaurant serving a menu of seasonally inspired, Mediterranean-influenced food; it's been steadily growing in popularity ever since chef/owner Rebecca Weitzman opened the restaurant last year. But how would it do for a diner on a budget? I stopped in last week to find out.
With an order of Bruschette ($12), toasted ciabatta comes with three different spreads: cashew olive tapenade, ricotta fresca with honey, thyme and citrus, and a white bean hummus with roasted garlic. You wouldn't know that from reading the menu, which just specifies "three seasonal spreads," so we had to flag our waitress down to figure out for sure what we were eating. I could have done with a bit more of each spread for the price, but each one was tasty, and the toasted bread accompanying them was crisp without being too tough or hard to eat. An order of Salt and Pepper Fries ($4) wanted for both salt and pepper. They weren't bad, though—crisp on the outside with a soft interior. Also, a great deal, with a sizable portion for four bucks.
Fried Fennel ($5) comes to the table looking like an oversized portion of fried calamari, complete with lemon wedge. It's lightly battered and fried until crisp. Tasty, if a bit oversalted, this dish called out for some kind of aioli or other dip to accompany it—the lemon wedge only got us so far.
The highlight of our meal was a plate of Charred Endive ($12), Belgian endive leaves cooked until their bitterness subsided; they gained a ton of flavor from the grill. Capers added a salty punch and a creamy gorgonzola dressing pulled everything together.
It's hard to put together a standout meal at Thistle Hill without delving into the pricier items—their snacks and appetizers menu is sparing, while their entrees seem to shine brightest. That said, we found plenty to please us; what the restaurant really needs to work on is their service, which was lacking enough impair our meal. The restaurant seemed greatly understaffed on the night we dined; our waitress did her best, but there were just too many demands on her attention in the crowded dining room. Thistle Hill Tavern has the makings of a great neighborhood restaurant—judging by the food we tried—but service is a part of that, too.
Thistle Hill Tavern
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