The Place The Place is a cute and cozy space that fits right into the West Village, with a few open air seats in the front. They achieve a good balance between dim romantic lighting and being able to read your menu and see your food. While some of the food was very good, a few strange disappointments left me a bit confused about this chef.

Lon and I were dining with Scott and Angie, food sharers, people who are great to eat with because you can try everything on each other’s plates. Angie’s appetizer was the Diver Sea Scallops over Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Baby Tomato Confit. The scallops were perfectly cooked but just a little bit fishy.

I had the Char-grilled Calamari and Tiger Shrimp over Steamed Vegetable Wontons. The Calamari were perfect. The shrimp was slightly over-cooked. The vegetable wontons, not at all like the Chinese kind, were surprisingly pretty good.

Lon had the best appetizer, Duck Leg Confit over a White Bean Ragout. The tender meat was easily pulled off the bone, and scooped up with beans for each bite. The flavors worked so well together. (Sorry for that dark photo.)

Lon wasn’t so lucky with his entree, the worst dish of the evening, Cajun Spiced Fish Stew. The clams and mussels were ok, but the lobster and shrimp were rubbery. The flavor of the broth was just mediocre.

Scott had the Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, which was tender, with a subtle hint of anise. It sat on top of well flavored Tomato and Asparagus Orzo.

Angie chose Three Way Long Island Duck. I tasted the duck breast (perfectly cooked), the duck wonton (pretty good, I think fresh dough), and what they called a Vegetable and Scallion Moo Shoo. Under that nice looking pile of shredded veggies, is a dry, sweet, and dense, cake-like disc. All of us tried it and no one understood this side. Lon jokingly said it’s a thick pancake and just needs some maple syrup.

I couldn’t decide what to order so the waiter recommended the Hanger Steak. He said the Jack Daniels Peppercorn Sauce was good and he was right. To be picky, the steak was a bit under-cooked (I ordered medium-rare) but I prefer that to over-cooked so I didn’t send it back. Everyone liked the Hanger Steak anyway. The outside was charred nicely and the meat itself was very flavorful. I enjoyed every bite.

It was served with a side of Bubble and Squeak Potatoes. Cute name, but I didn’t get it. It looked like mashed potatoes and tasted like mashed potatoes with with a weird texture inside. At first, I thought there was some paper in my mashed potatoes, but I pulled some out and showed it to everyone in my table. We decided it wasn’t paper and it was intentional so I flagged down my waiter to ask him what it was.

Me: Excuse me, what is this stuff in the mashed potatoes? (holding a piece up for him to see)
Waiter: It’s not paper. (everyone laughs)
Me: Ok, what is it?
Waiter: It’s potato skins and green cabbage.
Me: Oh ok, thank you. (Waiter walks away)
Lon: When enough people have asked about paper in their mashed potatoes (Notice, that we did not ask him if it was paper), it’s time to make a change.

I’m torn about this place because some dishes were very enjoyable and some were not. The portions, plate presentation, and ingredient quality, seem right for the price. It could potentially be a great date place. Unfortunately, some of the offenses were too noticeable, and the four of us didn’t think we would go back. There’s just too many places to try in New York, so you have to really impress to get repeat customers.

posted by jessica at 11:27 AM Filed under Fusion or Mixed, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.