Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata recently made waves via their popular pop-up, Phuc Yea! That Vietnamese venture, with Daniel Treiman as third partner, lasted some three months in the Ingraham Building downtown. Before that, the duo teamed for another short stint with equally compelling results at Blue Piano. At the team's new restaurant,The Federal Food Drink & Provisions
, Alejandro Ortiz takes over for Treiman, American cuisine replaces Asian, and the plan calls for permanence over pop.
As at their prior venues, Meinhold (the self-proclaimed "bar wench") helms the front of the house while Zapata (the "stove master") mans the kitchen; Ortiz (the "chief puppeteer") has one foot in both worlds -- helping in the dining room and handling the pastries. Once again, locals are flocking to the eatery via word-of-mouth for what is fast becoming the group's signature formula: creative and distinctive food, drink -- and "provisions," this time around -- in a friendly and casual setting.
Their new joint is a pretty place to dine, too, with old-timey wallpaper, shelves of food-filled Mason jars, and wood tables conspiring to form a rustic space that invites relaxation. The outdoor patio is a little less charming, but the weather of late has been ideal for dining there.
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The Federal's distinctiveness cannot be overstated. You won't see crispy omassum tripe with BBQ powder and maple syrup dipping sauce, jar-o-duck with candied sweet potato and charred marshmallow fluff, or Buffalo-style pig wings just anywhere. Don't let that last dish deceive you into thinking the raise you were promised "the day pigs can fly"is at hand; the "wing" is really a cut of pork from the fibula bone, just behind the shank, a dark, moist, deeply flavorful meat reminiscent in taste and preparation of pig trotters. Thinly sliced ribbons of celery and carrot add a delicate touch to the hearty fare; a "blue cheese mousse" was nowhere in sight, but the vegetables did exude the cheese taste. It's an unimpeachable combination of flavors.
Read the full review of the Federal Food Drink & Provisions here.