August in the West Village

January 3, 2010

L and I went to see a great production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town at the Barrow Street Theater. I had made a 7:15 reservation at August for a post-theater dinner. The Fried and I had been years ago, and we received a second recommendation from Ggg. It was a cold and windy afternoon, but right after the performance L wanted to introduce me to the cheap shirts at Uniqlo. So we braved the cold and headed to Broadway. We hailed a cab to the West Village for dinner at 7. August is a small restaurant with a tiny front room that includes a brick oven, a plating station, and a glassed-in solarium of sorts in the back. The air in the restaurant was a bit chilly, and we wondered if there was a gap in the glass roof. We started with two starters: the Roasted Delicata Squash Soup ($9) and the foie gras special ($18). The waiter reluctantly agreed to split the soup into two lovely bowls, once he understood that we were sharing the foie gras. The soup was chicken stock based, and had a lovely tangy zing. It was topped with a spicy marshmallow that melted into the soup, reminding me of a bowl of Lucky Charms (a good thing). The foie gras dish was pleasing, but not spectacular. There were two portions of foie gras, rolled to look like bales of hay, atop a bed of carmelized onions, next to a few pieces of home-made, Belgian-style waffle. The waiter then lightly poured some maple syrup over the dish. The foie gras was cold and dense and didn’t quite go well with the waffle or the bread on the table. However, the syrup and carmelized onion blended well together. L had the Dorade ($24), which came out of the oven on an iron plate. It was beautifully presented and then spirited away to be deboned. I had the Cochinillo Asada (roasted suckling pig, coco beans, kale, and pimenton, $25).

The heaping portion was gorgeous. The pork skin was beautifully crisp, the middle tender, and the bottom a rich and warm bed of pork fat. It was lighter than pork belly, but still rich and delicious. The tiny selection of wines by the glass proved excellent.  L had a glass of Gruner Veltiner, and I chose the Zweigelt (on the waiter’s recommendation). My glass was earthy and spicy–just right.  I hope to find another bottle of this Austrian wine.

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