Many new restaurants opt for the shotgun approach: tome-like menu and interminable cocktail list, in a setting as thoughtlessly cluttered as the generic nostalgi-copias of TGI Fridays. For a spot that's culled the wheat from the chaff, try Back Forty, open Wednesday
Chef-owned by the trio behind Savoy, 40's narrow, two-roomed space is pleasingly spare, with white walls ceremoniously adorned with farm tools, not unlike a samurai's armory (so the chef can commit sheep-shear seppuku if his food's exposed as regionless and nonseasonal). The menu focuses only on a handful of dishes, including Blue Crab Rolls, Grass Fed Burgers, and Red Maine Shrimp & Lobster Beignets -- as if a donut and a raw bar made sweet, briny love. Favored hooches are six specialty drinks (eponymous signature: Dickel whiskey w/ maple syrup and orange bitters) and four beers on tap, most notably Sly Fox O'Reilly's Irish Stout -- a last-minute replacement for the somewhat bitter Wily Fox Hannity's Red State Ale.
Should the weather hold, you can enjoy a backyard patio abutting a small Alphabet City park -- thoughtlessly cluttered with cats and produce so scraggly, you'll pray Back 40's not focused on the regional theme.