Relae has it all; the food, the location, and the people watching. Starting with the people, the table across from us were locals, dressed in jeans and flannel shirts who just ate and drank. Two Japanese girls at the table next to us were focused on taking pictures of each other and the food. They barely touched the food or wine, but were excellent at posing and posting.
The location was in a neighborhood of apartments over tiny stores. Bikes lined the sidewalks along with potted geraniums. Relae was a few steps below street level with large windows to watch the different styles of boots and leggings pass by.
But the food was the real star of the place. This is the only place we did the wine pairing with the courses. Some of the wines were great, some not so great, but the servers were very generous with their pours. This was one of my favorite restaurants we experienced.
- We started with an amuse-bouche of baby radishes and a glass of sparkling Italian rosé Il Fric 2014.
2. Sunchoke, mushrooms, and walnuts. Beautiful dish, tastes even better.
3. Trout, cucumber, and pine. Nice, clean flavors. I also love how the cucumber is cut into ribbons.
4. This may look like mush, but it’s really the main reason we re-reserved our place at Relae. A restaurant critic we met at Geranium told us about this dish, and it really is spectacular. The risotto is made from sunflower seeds with Parmesan and nettles.
5. Yogurt, lemon and egg. This was total comfort food. A beautifully poached egg is hidden under the yogurt and lemon zest shavings. The wine was La Stoppa Malvasia, a sweet effervescent white wine.
6. Sodam chicken with white asparagus.
7. Red Lober with pickled ramson capers. In layman’s terms, Skyr (yogurt) with rhubarb compote with Christophe Mignon Brut Rose. Excellent!
There were a few other dishes that I did not include either because they were unrecognizable, or didn’t leave an impression. But overall, I really enjoyed Relae. As a casual dining place to sip wine and graze for hours, this is the European experience that Americans dream of.