Recess/Room Four

Now in its fourth year (with closet-sized alter ego Room Four next door approaching its third), Recess has more than realized chef Greg Hardesty’s dream of dinner as designed by your inner child. Other than selecting a beverage, diners have hardly anything to do but wait for the pretty plates to materialize like the movements of a concerto—mushroom salads with hunks of bacon, delicate sea trout on warm fingerlings, a swath of lamb ribeye drenched in bagna cauda—all good to the last note. At Room Four, customers may quibble over taco choices—carne asada or rockfish—or opt for a Fischer Farms cheeseburger, a backyard memory revised to succulence by a master who appreciates simple food as much as esoteric fare.
MENU WATCH: Don’t wait for Recess’s menus to post online each day to make a reservation. Expect a light, fresh starter (likely salad or soup); often fish; usually a cut of red meat; and a restrained, lightly sweet finale.
WALK-INS WELCOME: Reservations at Recess are sometimes hard to come by, but the no-reservations Room Four offers you a second option for dropping in last-minute.
PREVIOUS MENTIONS: Best Restaurants 2010–2011, 2013; Best New Restaurants (Room Four) 2012
4907 N. College Ave., 925-7529,

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This article appeared in the May 2014 issue.