A few months after opening Marisol on the renovated ground floor of the Museum of Contemporary Art, chef-partner Jason Hammel opined, “I see the connection between the museum as a place for living, breathing artists and Marisol as a place for living, breathing food and seasonal cooking.” That may sound like a bit of a stretch, but now it’s impossible to imagine any restaurant other than his sleek charmer in the museum. Marisol’s menu proves his point: He and chef de cuisine Sarah Rinkavage apply an artist’s eye to meticulous dishes, and the end result is a restaurant that treats its plates as edible canvases. Kohlrabi gets compressed with pear slices and grated chestnuts. A hanger steak acquires a charred onion crust before it gets seared—“kind of a double Maillard reaction,” Hammel says—and served with sunchoke and black currant vinaigrette. The dishes are intellectually engaging (yet still delicious) meditations on flavor and technique. Occasionally, absentee service interrupts the reverie. Just think of it as an otherwise beautiful painting diminished by a few missing brushstrokes.
Don’t miss:A cloud of Burrata ($16) topped with candied squash and grilled bread—for now. Hammel and Rinkavage are prone to change the menu every few weeks.