Olmsted has been receiving unanimous praise ever since its opening, being one of the most talked about restaurants of 2016.
Olmsted’s hype comes from several factors. First, the location: in the heart of Prospect Heights, Olmsted’s opening was a new “experimental Brooklyn” restaurant to look forward to, and a welcome to the neighborhood. Second, its tasteful space and more precisely, its beautiful back garden where many of the kitchen ingredients come from, make it feel like a true farm-to-table dining experience. And finally, the restaurant’s core concept to serve refined, elaborate food at a low(ish) price is what caused all the stir.
Mondays walk-in only
Olmsted was opened by an ex alum of the country’s top high-end establishments (Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Per Se and Alinea to name a humble few!) along with his farmer partner, hence the gourmet-meets-farm-to-table-meets-hipster element. The duo’s intent was to be and remain a neighborhood restaurant (it’s named after Frederik Law Olmsted, the architect behind nearby Prospect Park – that was for the free trivia 😀 ). Although the overall atmosphere is relaxed and casual, Olmsted is more than a simple “local spot”. It showcases a stylishly Brooklyn woodsy interior covered in leafy plants, a trendy vibe and extremely hard reservations! The 50-seat restaurant also has a 12-stool bar and a chef’s counter, but the standout is the backyard garden. Pre-dinner cocktails in this super cute outdoor patio is a must and the best part about a visit to Olmsted. The full dinner menu is only served in the main dining room but a limited snack menu is available outdoors.
Garden closes at 10pm
Olmsted’s menu tries to make “refined” food accessible, with all plates priced under $25. Rather than refined, I’d qualify the food as creative and intriguing. Dishes are prepared with an unpredictable mix of ingredients and flavors, colorfully plated in small, but satisfying portions. Although some menu items look and taste great, other flavors aren’t overall that harmonious, and many dishes are way too salty – and this comes from someone who loves her sodium! I feel like the assault of salt somewhat ruined my dining experience at a place that had me anticipatingly drooling over the veggie-centric menu.
Caters well to vegetarians
Olmsted does, however, deserve its praise for its approachable wine selection. The restaurant serves an impressive range of wines, not so much for the appellations (winos won’t be impressed) but for its affordability. Two-thirds of their bottles are priced under $60, and many under $40. Their in-house cocktails are great as well, especially for outdoor patio drinks. And if you’re staying sober, Olmsted also has a standout tea program, with a wide selection of hot and cold teas from various countries.
Best dinner seats are at the Chef’s counter
So yeah, I’ll be my picky self and say that Olmsted doesn’t deserved its raving reviews, all the stellar accolades that it’s gotten… But it’s still one of the best spots in Prospect Heights, great for casual drinks & nibbles in their garden with a cozy date or a small group of friends.
Open 7 days a week for dinner 5pm- 10:30pm / Mondays walk-in only