DESPITE BEING brand-spanking-new, Verdigris is the kind of old-school spot where every savory dish, without fail, arrives with a smattering of chopped parsley on top.

Before I tell chef Johnny Nunn the '80s called and wants its plating back, I have to say I kind of respect the parsley's appearance, like herbaceous fairy dust, on almost everything we ordered. Context, here, is everything. Nunn last worked at Brasserie Montmartre and helped open RingSide Fish House; both downtown restaurants are solid, but neither blaze culinary trails. As such, Nunn's first solo effort is a conservative-leaning French-inspired Westside restaurant transported to NE Fremont.

This is not a spot for the food glitterati, who are all busy jamming the joints 30 blocks east. Instead, Verdigris joins likeminded restaurants on the same block, like tried-and-true Acadia and the stalwart County Cork. No offal, no foams, no nonsense.

Verdigris is ideal for (1) a good brunch with friends who have kids, and (2) an improving, but overpriced, classic dinner. It's done in an intimate space with good service that seats no more than 35 or so—not too loud, with an open concept so as to encourage canoodling and lingering.