Brought to Midtown by the 13 Celsius folks (also of Mongoose versus Cobra), very recently opened Weights and Measures includes a restaurant, bar (Love & Squalor), and a bake shop. Both the restaurant and the bar are pretty good sized and, while the bar seems to fill up quickly, at least there’s somewhere to wait as reservations are not taken. The ambiance is relaxed and casual, with an open kitchen. Open throughout the day, starting with breakfast through dinner, followed by a late night bar menu served until 2:00 am, this is an ambitious undertaking, although, from all appearances, it seems to be working out of the gate.
In the vein of Coltivare (and, to some degree Provisions and Pax Americana), Weights and Measures has artisanal cocktails, “breads”, small plates, salads, pizza and entrees, with interesting twists on seasonal ingredients. Price points are also similar, in the middle range. The cocktails are as good as any in town. We both liked the ones we tried on our first visit so much – the smallish room (bourbon, lime, maple) and senor punche (tequila, lime and something pink) – that we ordered them again the next time.
We’ve tried a number of the starters — chopped chicken liver, pig trotter terrine, baccala brandade, ribeye meatballs, relish plate, and grilled romaine. The chopped chicken liver included diced boiled egg and lacked the depth of other versions around town. Similarly, the baccala brandade (salted cod spread) could have used more seasoning. The pig trotter terrine (gelatinous bits of the pigs foot shaped in a patty, covered in bread crumbs and fried) had good taste although at least one of us was a little put off by the texture. The meatballs are an excellent version of a basic dish and, judging by looking around at nearby tables, are a popular starter. The relish plate — olives, celery, carrots, bread and a savory bagna cauda dip (warm olive oil with strong notes of garlic and anchovy) — was a light start and very sharable. The grilled romaine represented the restaurant’s twist on a caesar salad, served with a preserved lemon dressing and white anchovies. (Enjoyable but not quite as good as the very similar salad at Provisions.)
We can’t pass up pizza but weren’t quite up for the roasted carrot and cheddar version (although it’s gotten great reviews from others), so we went for the basics — pepperoni topped with arugula. We aren’t huge fans of salad on top of pizza, but the light sprinkling of leaves worked well, and the pizza was very good. If we had to rate them, we’d probably score this version a little higher than the same pizza at Coltivare.
For entrees, a number of folks at our table tried the seared Ahi tuna special. The large serving of beautifully fresh tuna was appropriately cooked (with everyone challenging the kitchen with a different degree of preferred doneness) but, lacking a sauce or much seasoning, it wasn’t quite as strong a dish as the quality of the tuna deserved. On the other hand, the Wagyu flat iron steak was fabulous.
For dessert, we ordered the doughknots (fried dough rolls, not sufficiently sweet for our taste) and the bittersweet chocolate cremeaux (a pudding-mousse creation that was very good, with just the right level of sweetness). To go from the bake shop, we left with brownies and cookies that capably satisfied our sweet tooth the next day.
There’s a large parking lot (no valet), although it fills up quickly with the restaurant’s current popularity. Ample street parking is accessible in the surrounding area.
2808 Caroline (at Dennis) 713/654-1970 http://weights-measures.com/