ink. | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

ink.

photo by Anne Fishbein

Three and a half years after opening, Michael Voltaggio’s ink. has lost a little bit of its foreboding, serious-chef overtones, and is now just one of the most giddily enjoyable places to eat in town. Is this because Voltaggio and crew have lightened up? Or because we have? It’s hard to tell. But try not to smile when your plate of potatoes arrives, looking like lumps of coal (and tasting not far from it, if lumps of coal were starchy and salty and smoky and delicious, perked up with black vinegar), or when your strips of lamb belly come with tufts of “mushroom hay” arranged like spiny coral poking out of the ends of the dish. That the food might make you giggle becomes beside the point when you taste it — despite appearances, it’s engineered for taste above all else. There are cocktails made from carrots, and wines from regions you’ve never heard of, and a general feeling that you’re here to experience newness and whimsy, so why not just go all in? Go ahead. Have a blast.— Besha Rodell