Jack Lamb's the king of miniscule, top-tier restaurants: the 26 seat Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar, which may have NYC's most generous tasting menu, Jewel Bako Makimono, and the slightly larger Jewel Bako, whose octopus is so fresh it'll wriggle across your plate. Tomorrow, Jack's expanding his empire of tininess with Degustation, a classy Spanish small plates grotto that's muscled in on the East 5th Street space formerly occupied by Bako's robato grill.
Degustation's only got 16 seats, all at the bar, but Jack might expand to 19 seats, magnanimously fulfilling the gastronomic dreams of three additional New Yorkers. Behind the bar is the open kitchen, headed up by Spanish-born Wesley Genovart -- who looks young enough to have just graduated from culinary middle school, but has nonetheless created a cutting-edge menu. Highlights include Fried Baby Artichokes in Mussel Broth, Roast Beef Sandwich with Foie Gras Mayonnaise, and Squid Stuffed with Short Ribs, the overconsumption of which can result in Man Stuffed with Squid Stuffed with Short Ribs
All this comes at a reasonable price, as does Degustation's five-course tasting menu ($50) and its booze: $6-$12 glasses of wine, $5 Yeunglings, and $8 Black Velvets (Guinness and champagne). So grab yourself a stool, or if you're agoraphobic, wait 'til Jack's next endeavor -- a single-seat clambake bistro stuffed into a repurposed East Village phone booth.