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October 20th, 2010 CHRIS STAMM | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Ned Ludd: Restaurant Guide 2010

     
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Lunch 11 am-3 pm, dinner 5 pm-close Thursday-Monday. $$ Moderate.
[WOOD-FIRED FARE] Ned Ludd’s country clutter and campfire fragrance inspire the loveliest wintry daydreams. Picture it: The mother of all blizzards blitzes the city as you sip an aperitif in the toasty dining room. The street’s a white mess by the time dinner’s over. It’s beyond impassable—it’s gone. The front door is blocked by a wall of snow, a lonely length of antenna is the only evidence your car still exists, and chef Jason French is there to cater your extended stay with wood-fired dishes that touch a deep atavistic need to taste flames on your fork. Your caveman holiday begins with balsamic vinegar-soaked warm beets, which conjure the flavor of a backyard garden’s sweet spot on a scorching summer day. Your chest sings with memories of sun, but the snow is reaching the lip of the chimney, and the food keeps coming. Here’s the house-cured ham steak, a salty slab of smoky pork draped over greens so moist they dissolve on the tongue. Better, though, is the braised lamb, tender enough to cut with a spoon, encircled by an archipelago of potatoes and peas. The best thing about this reverie? The food will still be there when you snap out of it.  CHRIS STAMM.
Ideal meal: Beets, braised lamb, s’mores.
Best deal: It’s all surprisingly affordable, but the meat pie ($9) is a steal.
Chef’s choice: Stuffed trout with fennel, onions, herbs and lemon. “There is texture and flavor, and a bit of drama since we serve it head-on and almost everyone eats the whole plate except for the head!” (Jason French)

 
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