Posts tagged west village
Posts tagged west village
To my dismay, there is no place for a grill at my apartment. No balcony, no backyard, not even a rusty, rickety fire-escape to place a tiny weber on. So, when cooking red meat, I am left to a grill pan on a high output flame and an underpowered oven. That’s no way to mimic restaurant quality steak- but a recent post from fudehouse shed some light on a new technique I had never considered.
Instead of searing each side and tossing in the oven to finish, the video below suggests slow cooking, resting, and finishing with a hard sear. Watch it…
After I watched the video last week, my mouth was watering (just like yours is) for steak. So I dropped by the legendary West Village meat purveyor O. Ottomanelli and Sons on Friday afternoon. The friendly butchers cut me a beautiful 20 oz. piece of dry aged cowboy rib-eye. It had great color and the nice fat marbeling that you look for in a good cut of steak. After a shower of kosher salt and pepper, 25 minutes in the oven at 275, and a minute on each side in my scorching hot cast iron grill pan, I had one of the best steaks in recent memory.
The crust was thick and hard- as if it was cooked in a 1000 degree broiler at a fine NY steakhouse. The meat was juicy and tender. On the side I tossed some field greens with toasted almonds, tomatoes, peppers, and a homemade lemon mustard vinagarette- recipe also courtesy of fudehouse. Delectable.
Hats off to Ottomanelli and Sons for wonderful meat, @fudehouse for an awesome easy to understand technique, and, well…me.
Everyday, with a gym bag on my back, I schlep down Hudson St. to get to my office. The walk from Christopher to W. Houston is always my favorite stretch of the daily commute; between the excited little kids filing into St. Luke’s school, the constant set preparations for the filming of a new movie or the occasional celebrity sighting, there always seems to be something interesting going on.
Lately, my sights have been set on the ground floor transformation of a beautiful brownstone between Morton and Leroy streets into what is now The Goodwin: West Village Wine Bar and Café. The doors swung open on June 1st and foodie inclinations aside, I was compelled to patronize due to my witnessing its transformation twice a day, everyday, for the past six months. So this past Wednesday, I found the perfect opportunity to drop in for lunch.
The layout of the restaurant is great- there are a few tables in the front, a long bar with about 20 seats in the middle as the space narrows, and in the back is a main dining room (seats about 40) where floor to ceiling windows afford lots of natural light and a nice view of a garden. The décor has that predictable, omnipresent, “industrial vintage” feel. Thick wood beams with a hand-hewn look line the ceiling, a large carriage wheel sits on the wall by the bar, and plumbers-pipe light fixtures and accents are everywhere. You may as well be in the middle of a catalogue shoot for Restoration Hardware.
Their “preview” menu consisted of bar snacks, salads, soups, sandwiches, and small plates- all seemed to be American inspired with the requisite high prices characteristic of Gastropubs. The wine and beer list had some nice selections, but was fairly limited; one would expect this to grow should they intend to live up to the “Wine Bar” in their title.
After I was seated in the back room, I had to wait 10 minutes until a fumbling waiter came over and stuttered over the words: “What do you want?” Not the best first impression for a new place. Nonetheless, I ordered “The Rich Boy” which is Goodwin’s play on the traditional Po’ Boys of the bayou; tempura mussels, clams, oysters, and chorizo, with spicy pork gravy and pickled onions on a pretzel hero served with herb fries. At $17 I expected the best damn po’ boy north of the Mason Dixon, but I was let down. The tempura’d seafood should have been crisp and crunchy, but it didn’t even have a chance due to the amount of pork gravy it was swimming in. And the Pork Gravy- was this made from a can of whiz from Gino’s Cheese steaks? It certainly tasted that way- much too much cheese taste. The only thing that could have thrown a lifeline to the dish was the fries, but they also disappointed. Dry and over seasoned, they were begging for ketchup (which I asked for, then waited 10 minutes to receive).
Overall- my dish and the service were lackluster. Despite the fact that I only had one menu item, and despite being sympathetic to the fact that it takes a couple of months for a new restaurant to get the kinks out, I’m not optimistic about this place. Go there once the full menu comes out and they get their act together, I may do the same. For now, I’ll just be observing on my walk to work each day.
An interesting find here- the graphic designer elaborates on his inspiration for the logo, typeface, and seal at the restaurant. I wish some more of the rich history of Goodwin & Co. Farm was incorporated into the interior design and menu items.
I am not an expert on the New York City restaurant landscape, nor do I claim to be.
There are many restaurants and several types of cuisine I have yet to experience. Although I enjoy discovering lesser-known places, being in the position I am in, I know that there are a few restaurant experiences I simply need to have. The Spotted Pig falls into that category. So last night, I went with a friend to enjoy some food and conversation.
Walking over to the restaurant from Hudson Street had us lost in the beauty of New York City’s West Village. Historic townhouses and ivy-covered brick buildings lined the narrow streets that led us to the corner of West 11th and Greenwich. As we approached the restaurant we noticed the silver “spotted pig” hanging from above the door, surrounded by plants, bushes and flowers of all-types.
Expecting a long wait (the no-reservation policy makes TSP infamous for this), we had our name in early but were pleasantly surprised to be seated within 30 minutes. On our way to second floor dining room, we marveled at the décor for this supposed Michelin Star restaurant. Thousands of pig figurines of varying sizes lined the rail tops and window sills, pictures of rugged country sides and farm animals scattered the walls, and other brusque looking flea market items were strewn about the whole place. Right down to the dirty t-shirt and unshaven appearance of our server, there was an unbridled “hick” about The Spotted Pig that was fun and interesting. Needless to say, pretentious “fine dining” New Yorkers need not apply.
First, we got into the drink menu which was dominated by heavy ales, stouts and IPA’s; unless you are a cicerone, you probably wouldn’t recognize the names of half of them. The small wine and cocktail selection made it such that you could hear April Bloomfield in your ear saying: “C’mon, you are at an English inspired gastropub, get a goddam beer!” We listened and I went with Samuel Smith’s Organic Ale- it was delicious.
The food menu had three main sections: Bar Snacks, Plates, and Entrées. For a snack, we had the Chicken Liver toast. A thick spread on rustic country toast drizzled with olive oil was a great way to start the meal with tons of flavor.
Next, we had the Prosciutto & Ricotta Tart with Marjoram. I enjoyed this dish for the fresh prosciutto and the flaky puff pastry. Overall, it was not incredibly impressive.
For the main course, we split the famed Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort & Shoestrings. This was not your standard 80-20 ground beef as the meat had me feeling like I was eating a fine steak. It was complemented by an interesting (albeit large) bun. The sheep’s milk Roquefort was a nice addition- it definitely added a unique salty element to the burger. The real star of this dish though was the shoestring fries smothered in garlic and rosemary. After I was full, I kept eating them.
Overall, The Spotted Pig was a great restaurant experience. The food was tasty, but I cannot agree with most that they serve one of the best burgers in New York City; I just did not feel that way. Come here for the charm of the West Village, good food, and to learn how great restaurants don’t need to follow a rigid formula for success anymore.
Tapas has become one of my favorite ways to enjoy a meal. Aside from an expensive tasting menu, there are few other ways to try several dishes in one sitting. Although most of my experience is with traditional Spanish tapas (a few NYC joints I would recommend: Mercat- Noho, Las Ramblas- West Village) Harrison Mosher’s Alta is something entirely different.
Before I get into the food, let me first say that this is one of the most interesting and intimate restaurant spaces I have ever been in. A great date spot for sure. Set slightly below West 10th St. near the corner of 6th Ave, it appears to be a village townhouse doubling as a restaurant. Walking in you’ll find a long narrow corridor that acts as a bar space where they serve wine and cocktails off of a seemingly infinite list. As you enter the dining area, there are a few tables in a front room (call it the foyer) and as you ascend two small steps you notice a large backroom with a massive medieval looking chandelier hovering over it. Two more flights of stairs bring you up to an open kitchen area, and around the corner is a terrace situated around the chandelier, spanning the perimeter of the main dining room downstairs. My girlfriend and I were seated there; a great setting for a delicious meal.
After our journey through the place was over and we sat down, we finally felt like we were at a restaurant. Then, our first glance of the food menu made us wonder what type of restaurant we were at. Spanish? Mediterranean? Italian? French? It was all of the above. The “menu of little plates” had representatives from various cuisines- making the Tapas experience even more varied and interesting.
We started with red Sangria which claims to have top secret ingredients. Although it was tasty, it was not my type- I like more of a red wine taste with large chunks of fruit and this seemed to be more like a mixed cocktail.
Then, in this order, we had:
Overall, this was a great place and one worth visiting. Although I was not too impressed with the Sangria, and the dishes were a bit pricey for the portion size (average about 12-13 bucks per dish), the menu is incredibly creative and varied, making for a great dining experience. Great service and a unique atmosphere makes this a great spot for a date or a casual night out with friends. I look forward to going back.