Restaurant Review: Picnic

Superb meats, cheeses and more on Phinney Ridge
Sara Dickerman  |   March 2010   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

  Even a cursory glance at the Euro-chic deli case at Picnic yields views of a trove of meats and cheeses. Look a little closer, and you’ll notice that much of the charcuterie has been sourced from renowned proprietors of Old World curing: Fra’ Mani and Salumeria Biellese (maker of Petit Jesu, the best salami I’ve tasted), while the fromage selection consists of unique finds, such as locally produced Kurtwood Farm’s Camembert-like Dinah’s cheese. This wine shop/deli gem, with a spartan decor brightened by a few olive green and orange seats, does a brisk lunch and take-out business as well.

Your best bet: the Charcuterie Plate ($15; feeds two generously as an appetizer), an incredible bargain for a platter scattered with rosettes of artfully arranged cured meats and a bonus slice of house-made all-pork (no liver) pâté. Soups run out quickly; a recent visit at noon saw three out of four offerings sold out, but the bowl of steaming tomato soup I tried ($6) was perfectly satisfying. Salad offerings from the deli case include items like pasta salad with assorted olives ($7) and an intriguingly sweet-smoky paprika-dusted chickpea salad ($7). A side of the moist, mayo-less chicken salad, with finely diced crisp, sweet apples, buttery pine nuts and a few peppery leaves of arugula ($7), was light and flavorful. The sandwiches are light on the mustard and served cold—in short, rather ordinary. The food here is spare on seasoning, allowing the quality of the meats and local produce to take center stage. Don’t leave without a takeout container of house-made ragu ($9, enough sauce for two plates of pasta), with long-simmered pork and Parmigiano goodness. Lunch and early dinner Wed.­–Sun. Phinney Ridge, 6801 Greenwood Ave. N 206.453.5867

Originally published in March 2010