The garish blue-red sign (a remnant of the previous incarnation of this site) suggests a plumbing supply outlet and the name, Acme, remains the same. But ghosts of restaurants past scatter once you walk in the door. High ceilings preclude noise and a long narrow bar leads into a comfortable dining room with mirrors and banquettes reminiscent of an Old World brasserie. Here, where hot “Cajun cookin’” once ran rampant, Nordic cool reigns. Chef Mads Refslund, who was a founder of Noma in Copenhagen, applies Danish inspiration to local ingredients, pulling off elegant dishes that manage to be unique without trying too hard to be different. I could live off the duck confit, foie gras and pickled vegetables served in a glass jar. Dishes like “Farmer’s Eggs” or hay-roasted sunchokes with New England gruyère-style cheese evoke the countryside while house-cured salmon with cabbage and buttermilk-horseradish dressing or black sea bass with dandelion greens are pristine (and delicious) Arctic studies. The wine list—still a work in progress a couple weeks after opening—packed with intriguing finds, like Walter Massa’s timorasso and Domaine Réaltière’s satin-textured old-vine carignan blanc. While Swiss-born owner Jean-Marc Houmard (also of Indochine, a few blocks away) and his partners have strong ties to the art and fashion set, this place has zero attitude. If Acme is the beginning of a Nordic invasion, bring it on.
9 Great Jones St., New York, NY
This story appears in the print issue of April 2012.
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