Tag Archives: soho restaurants

Perfect Summer Lunch at Hundred Acres

If I could have a perfect lunch on a perfect day, it might be this lunch, had with my friend Galen (yes, yes, of the infamous Connecticut/Derby Day feasts).  My seared scallop obsession continues, as evidenced in my salad recipe.

Artichoke Lasagnette (DiPalo's ricotta and aged pecorino cheese) with a cold glass of Gruner Veltliner.

THE PLACE: Hundred Acres in Soho, at a table next to the open doors.

WHEN:  a totally uncrowded midweek lunch in May

WHAT: Artichoke lasagnette, crazy delicious seared scallops.

WHY GO: It’s unassuming, the menu is easy, local New American/Continental fare (same owners as Cookshop and Five Points), the cocktail list is great and there are outdoor options for the summertime.

Seared Scallops with Shaved Asparagus and Meyer Lemon Relish

Hundred Acres, 38 MacDougal Street in Soho, visit hundredacresnyc.com for more info.

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Caffe Falai

 

Shaved Zucchini Salad with a Glass of Gavi

Shaved Zucchini Salad with a Glass of Gavi

There’s nothing better than a beautiful little lunch with wine.  Last week I found myself at Caffe Falai, a chic little Soho spot whose Italian food is as clean and delicious as the attractive white space in which it stands. The bakery (you would be remiss not to try their sweets) serves coffee and pastries to go (try the bombolinis), but it’s a real treat to sit down and eat, and the great thing is they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If the weather is good, you can try to score one of the little tables in front, overlooking Lafayette.  I like the food because it’s simple, the portions are normal so you don’t feel overstuffed (particularly nice after veal meatballs), and the flavors are pure.  

Grilled Octopus

Grilled Octopus

AMAZING Veal Meatballs

AMAZING Veal Meatballs

Mmm, a favorite of mine: crepe cake

Mmm, a favorite of mine: crepe cake

 

Falai: 265 Lafayette in Soho.  Learn more about the LES restaurant, Panetteria and Caffe on their website.

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A Public Service

the main courses at Public

the main courses at Public

 

Upon scooping up the last bits of an insanely gorgeous rhubarb-meringue dessert at Public on Friday night, I realized somewhat ashamedly that I have never given Public enough credit.  Maybe because I lived on Elizabeth St for years I took Public’s stylish, upscale presence for granted.  Maybe because the cocktails are so good there I rarely made it to the dinner portion of the evening (you have to try their guava and red chile margarita to truly understand the circumstance).  Or, and perhaps most likely, maybe my dark, deep-seated fear of really well-designed restaurants that lure you in only to disappoint with mediocre food made me neglectful of an absolutely fantastic spot.

fried oysters...this is a must-try

fried oysters...this is a must-try even though my blurry picture does it no justice

What contributed to my change of taste?  Or rather, who?  Well, actually, one of the owners did.  Good karma (or Matt B., my wonderful and well-connected friend) was on my side when I slid into the seat directly across from Adam Farmerie, an immensely talented (and refreshingly unpretentious) principal of design firm AvroKo and brother to Public’s chef, Brad.  Listen, I know what you’re thinking.  I dined as a guest of an owner so OBVIOUSLY I’m going to tout the food and gush all over the place.  Well, yes.  But if the food sucked or was even mediocre, I wouldn’t say anything at all.  

Gewurztraminer with appetizers

Gewurztraminer with appetizers

Here’s what stood out: ethereally light fried oysters with a wasabi-yuzu dipping sauce, seared foie served on a little french toast point with bits of bacon, venison served atop yummy falafel, barramundi (oh why don’t I eat this fish more), snail and oxtail raviolis, pork loin, six different homemade sorbets whose colors ran straight out of a Crayola box, gold-star worthy sticky toffee pudding, and, OH, that rhubarb-meringue thing that’s new.  

Snail and Oxtail Ravioli- so cool, so good

Snail and Oxtail Ravioli- so cool, so good

Barramundi

Barramundi

I wish I had better descriptions, but you see I haven’t yet covered the things imbibed.  It started with a bracing glass of Verdejo, moving onto a crisp glass of bubbles (name not remembered), to an absolutely mind-blowing Gewurztraminer that reminded me yes, I can appreciate a slightly sweet white as long as it has enough complexity to hold my attention, to a bottle of Reisling and finishing with Adam’s home-made chili-spiked Limoncello.  So I apologize my descriptions aren’t more articulate. 

Pop Sorbet- banana, mango, raspberry, muscat grape, grapefruit....oh, I can't remember!

Pop Sorbet- banana, mango, raspberry, muscat grape, grapefruit....oh, I can't remember!

Public’s food inspires but it also makes you think about the fun of food, of creating new flavors no one else has thought of yet, and rouses you to rethink classics in modern ways.  The space (huge, airy, clean, city-office chic meets huge, rustic, garage cool) is beautiful- and I embraced that belief from the first moment I stepped foot in the space, five years ago with my mother when I had just moved to Elizabeth St and wanted to celebrate a new chapter of my life.

So here’s my Public service announcement: I recommend Public for those who love adventurous food, those who want to take someone on a sexy date, those who want to impress friends with a sophisticated dinner but wants to have fun all the same, those who want a little style on the table.  I don’t recommend it for peeps in the mood for $12 pasta or  roast chicken (although you can still go to the bar and enjoy the cocktails).  

Of note: there’s a really cool adjoining wine bar called the Monday Room (that’s where I had my Verdejo).  And this sounds great: a Sunday Supper ($50 for five courses) where the kitchen comes up with whatever they want- it changes every week.  It’s your chance to experiment with the kitchen, yahoo!

Public, 210 Elizabeth St bet Spring and Prince Sts.  212.343.7011. For more info/menus, visit the website here.

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