Foxface offers recognizable flavors and recognizable shapes, but in the talented hands of chef David Santos, a fine-dining veteran, the two rarely come together.The closest thing to tradition in the kitchen is a huge steak of striped bass, a noble fish with an almost round cross-section, roasted on the bone in a flaming oven and served with a delicious sauce inspired by creme, a tomato-based Sephardic stew. Many tables feature a curly-looking schnitzel, a fried, marshmallow-colored disc of offal garnished with chanterelles and corn—a study in yellow and gold. The restaurant’s method of making pasta involves a single, long, serpentine pocket called a “spaghetti.” rotate, showing a spiral shape, like a jagged flower. Its fillings and side dishes change with the whims of the kitchen. I tried the stuffed golden tilefish puree, which was buttery and sweet. It’s served atop a sunset orange Nantua sauce made of shrimp and cream and drizzled with tarragon broth tableside. “I suggest you cut the pasta one bite at a time from the outside in so the filling stays warm,” Rahat said in a crisp Israeli accent after serving. She is petite and has sharp features. Her upturned glasses resemble those worn by the fox in the restaurant’s logo.
Although each dish at Foxface is a beautifully presented little combo, and the lineup changes frequently, the entire meal can feel a little repetitive. On one visit, Middle Eastern and African spices appeared over and over again, and fish dishes dominated the short menu. Maybe that’s the flip side of a business that doesn’t need to cater to the masses: It won’t be for everyone, and maybe Rahat and Kushnir could cram a few tables into the modest dining room, but maybe that’s okay. Instead, they chose to keep a sense of openness. Purposeful flow and satisfying efficiency enliven the space; order the house-made sourdough bread, which is fluffy and fluffy, with a plate of bright yellow cultured butter and a small plate of baby pickles, and you’re likely to see the waiter reaching for Pulling a loaf of bread from an alcove in the back wall of the restaurant. In the bar, six rolling balls lay across the shelf like books. Other shelves in the room display wines from Foxface’s unconventional wine list, compiled by beverage director Raq Vo. One night I was sitting at the bar, shaking a glass of Vermentino-Moscato concoction that looked like apple juice and tasted wild and metallic, like beautiful gasoline. It’s unfamiliar, confident, undisturbed, refined.
Dining at Foxface Natural is a peaceful affair, even though the restaurant echoes with the dirty, hungry bassline of Peaches’ “Fuck the Pain Away.” There’s a mature feel to the whole thing – not a dull, mushy feeling, but a poised, fully grown feeling.What is it called in the restaurant? Pascalin A French riff on Japanese custard Chawanmushi, with a bunch of universities on it. Deep within the custard, I found gems of sea scallops and wild sweet shrimp, almost as delicate as the custard itself, silk for silk. Yes, it’s another seafood dish, but as I took a bite, I found myself feeling things I’d only felt in other cities’ delicacies before—Rochelle’s Canteen in London, Ottoto’s in Los Angeles , or the late Manfred in Copenhagen—a wistful joy, a longing for a life that was a little lovelier: Oh, if only I lived here. I realized with a jolt, oh my god, I actually did it. ❖