‘M’ is for masterful in Washington Square

‘M’ is for masterful in Washington Square

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Sometimes a restaurant will oversell items on its menu, leaving diners disappointed that the blockbuster adventure their palette was promised didn’t live up to the hype on the menu.

Fortunately, that is not the case with M Restaurant at the Morris House Hotel, 231 S. Eighth St.

The intimate Washington Square restaurant knows it’s working some serious magic in the kitchen so it keeps the descriptions simple and to the point: the name of the dish and its ingredients. And diners can rest assured they are in good hands with whatever they order.

M also insists on a certain level of protocol: It’s just this side fancy while being laidback and tranquil enough to impress just about anyone, especially if you dine in the outdoor garden. The dress code is casual. You can wear jeans and the service will be every bit as friendly, but you may feel a bit underdressed.

Considering the décor, it’s no surprise that the meals tend to follow an ordered structure: the first course, a second course, a dessert and a cheese course that can either be the second course or the final course.

The first course dazzled. The sashimi of tartar and hamachi ($13) had bold, Asian-inspired and wonderful textures. The rillettes and pate ($11) was pleasantly rich and inventive, thanks in no small part to the “yolk” made of apricots that topped it.

Don’t skip on the cheese course. We’ve been through enough cheese plates at this point that it’s hard to impress us. M’s cheese selection (four selections for $17, six for $24) is a wonderful array from farms all over the world. If you let the opportunity to sample these fine dairy products pass you by, you will regret it.

M’s culinary mojo really kicks in on the main course. The lobster and octopus ($32) was the picture of Asian-inspired elegance with the expertly cooked seafood awash in the flavors of dashi, soy cream and daikon. Even better was the cavatelli and fiori pasta ($23) The combination of sofrito and tomato petals, black trumpet and saffron and chamomile sabayon was so damn perfect we felt like we ought to sacrifice purveyors of boring pasta out of respect for what M has done for the art of pasta dishes.

M Restaurant at the Morris House Hotel definitely has the menu to back up its picturesque location.

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