Adam Goetz said he's been fine-tuning his operation at Sample (242 Allen St., 883-1675), and I thought it showed in a recent visit. The chef-owner said that in addition to having a capable second in Donald Cook, he's added the talents of a pastry specialist, Kelcey Reen. A strawberry sorbet with a finishing bite of black pepper was one of the highlights of an outstanding meal.
If you go as a couple, I'd suggest ordering the chef's tasting, then deciding on two to four more small plates that catch your fancy. (If vegetarians, vegans and gluten-averse diners warn the kitchen when they make a reservation, Goetz said, he can deliver a chef's tasting that meets their needs.)
That's $60-$80 in food, not crazy money to feed two. I found myself making a list of things I wanted more of next time. Speaking of next time: even Goetz fans have complained that Sample's menu could use more seasonal offerings. For a complaint, it's a good one - diners are expecting more from Sample. We'll see if Goetz and company can deliver.