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Restaurant Review: FT33

Chef Matt McCallister still manages to surprise.
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FT33 has always felt like Matt McCallister’s personal laboratory. From the start, he did his own thing: foraged for herbs, plated with an eye for artistry, dared a tasting menu sparingly sprinkled with well-sourced meats. Each dish can feel like a story, an intriguing fable of flavor. One evening, a hamachi crudo unexpectedly took us to the South, with a surprise of cornbread crumbles and a kiss of tomato, peach, and dandelion pesto. House-made tagliardi, delicately seasoned with summer savory, was made irresistible with chanterelles, peaches, and a sugo of chicken, pork, veal, and duck. Both dishes played whimsically, not quite delivering the narrative you expect. I wished entrées had had equal force. Pork collar was perfectly cooked, with baba ghanoush, minted compressed cucumber, plum, and spiced eggplant puffs. But lemony ricotta gnocchi failed to shine under a pungent sauce of shiitake mushrooms and charred onions. The $29 vegetable composition was an artist’s palette: six color studies of vegetables done various ways. But execution was uneven. Cauliflower dusted in sumac with pomelo and peanuts was undercooked; summer squash veered bitter. As an ensemble, it could have used fewer elements better executed. Dessert, though, was subtle and powerful: lemon verbena chiboust over a crunchy gingersnap crust with lemon curd, blueberries, and house-cultured sour cream—simple, balanced, and artful. It was a triumph of the restaurant’s delicate rusticity.

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