I have three foodie friends whose names begin with R, and Tuesday night I went to Sketch for the second time with one of them. So, I’ve been to Sketch twice with two different Rs. Got that?
On my first visit to Sketch, in mid-January, the small restaurant was packed. We sat at the back by the only bathroom, where it was quieter. My friend Ruth Tobias was interviewing the man who was redoing the wine list, and we were well attended to. I had a refreshing Prosecco with pear, and she ordered a couple of the spicier red wines, a taste we share. We sampled two cheeses, one of which, the Gouda with nettles, had an intriguing herbal flavor. And then we had homemade pasta in a crimini mushroom sauce. The dish featured a light, flavorful mushroom sauce with slivers of zucchini and parmesan, and I was pleased that the chef gave me a small portion. I get tired of the huge amounts of pasta served at some restaurants.
It was much quieter at Sketch the second time I ate there, on Tuesday. R2 and I would have sat on the patio, but the sun was too blinding at 5 pm, so we went inside to the bar. She tried to order a Roederer sparkling wine but was handed a glass of red wine. When it turned out that the bottle of wine she really wanted had gone flat and they didn’t have one on ice, she got the Segura Viudas Brut Rose Cava instead. I saw “blood orange soda” on the menu and ordered that, made by Rième, a French company that was new to me. I took home the bottle because (1) it was all curvy and (2) Sketch doesn’t recycle.
R2 ordered the pasta with mushrooms, and it looked pretty much the same as the one I had, although she got a larger serving and there were no long slivers of vegetables across the pasta.
The warm brussels sprouts salad was pleasing enough, and simple enough, that I thought I’d try to make it at home. Its base, mixed greens in balsamic vinaigrette, was softened by the addition of butternut squash cubes and figs and contrasted with the firmer brussels sprouts leaves. (You can find a few of them in the picture, around the edges. There weren’t as many as I expected.) The last three ingredients were sautéed with something spicy and tossed with the greens and caramelized onions and toasted hazelnuts. I liked the mixture of warm and cool, sweet and spicy and sour, crunchy and silky.
We paid up and walked down Broadway to Delite because one restaurant just wasn’t enough. By then the sun had gone behind the buildings on Broadway, so we could sit in the garage door–style window and watch passersby stare at us. I ordered a rather dull Gruet sparkling wine to go with the mac and cheese, and R2 got spicy edamame and a glass of Clean Slate riesling. We sat by the DJ and listened to 1980s tunes. You’d think the salad from Sketch would have filled me up, especially after the stomach shrinkage caused by 4 chemo treatments, but the mac, served in a small cast iron pan, had a creamy truffle sauce that I couldn’t resist. I liked it much more than Sputnik’s version, which was rather dry.