Cuisine: New American
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Some restaurants seem to care more about turning the tables than providing the customers with an enjoyable dining experience. Inside’s story is just the opposite. Despite its popularity, the kitchen -- headed by Chef Charlene (and overseen by famed restaurateur Anne Rosenzweig) -- seems to deliberately pace meals in a leisurely fashion. So should you pay a visit -- and you’d be wise to do some night -- don’t expect to get out in less than two hours for a full meal.Review By: Brian Scott Lipton; Jan 16, 2006
You’d also be wise to abate your hunger by ordering one of the “snacks” that now begin the menu, and make lively nibbles while you sip a glass of wine and wait for the first course. And while bacon-wrapped, almond-stuff dates could, in lesser hands, taste like bad wedding food, they’re basically a revelation thanks in large part to the bacon being extra-crisp. When you do get to the regular appetizers, head straight to the delicious buckwheat-coated fried oysters -- easily splittable by two -- which should even impress a visitor from New Orleans. If shellfish isn’t your bag, or you just prefer something a bit lighter, a truly sprightly salad of mache, frisee, chunks of tangy quince, slices of fried prosciutto, and pecans in a tangy vinaigrette is immensely satisfying.
Entrée portions are also fairly large -- and desserts are not to be missed -- so plan your ordering accordingly. A recent addition to the menu, pork shortribs in a spicy guajillo chile-infused broth served over beans is fabulously hearty winter fare. So is a perfectly cooked roast chicken, crisp-skinned on the outside, lusciously moist on the inside, accompanied by a mashed potato puree and -- ta-da! -- 40 cloves of roasted garlic.
(However, I do wish the house was smart enough to bring a basket of bread over for spreading the garlic.) The night of our most recent visit, the bass turned out to be grouper, but it was fine nonetheless; however, Newport Steak, which we had loved on an earlier visit, was rather tasteless and tough. (And while we pointed it out to the waitress, we got nothing but a mumbled apology. On the other hand, the house was properly contrite after being informed the next day that the decaf coffee probably wasn’t.)
Of course, even the grisliest steak could be forgiven at dessert time. Even if you’ve never liked butterscotch pudding, you will once you’ve tried Inside’s perfectly smooth, not-too-sweet version, topped with lovely whipped cream. And chocoholics everywhere will get down on their knees once they’ve sampled famed cookbook author Maida Heater’s divinely decadent chocolate cake. It’s worth coming Inside for.
Neighborhood: Greenwich Village
Entree Price: $15-20
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