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You Win Some, You Lose Some

February 6, 2010

My second experience with Restaurant Week was a reminder that finding a simple, well-cooked meal is harder than it seems in New York City. Keith and I went to North Square in Greenwich Village for dinner, and while the menu looked delicious, sometimes some things are better in idea form than on a plate.

For appetizers, I ordered the clams, while Keith had the tomato soup. This sounds meaner than I intend it to be, but the soup reminded me a little too much of the Spaghetti-Os sauce for my liking. The clams were almost really good, with a delicate sweetness in the combination of the clams, corn, leeks and saffron broth. The salty slivers of chorizo were jarring and in my opinion, unnecessary.

I had the duck second. The best part of the dish was the spiced couscous, which was light and flavorful, with little pieces of dried fruit and vegetables to vary the texture and balance the spice. The duck was a little too “duck”-y, and too chewy for my taste. Keith had the short ribs, which came with bacon, cabbage, spinach, mashed potatoes and fried potato chips — way too many sides, but not enough to compensate for the poorly-cooked meat.

Dessert was a good end to the meal, though again, too complicated for my taste. They were out of the apple and cranberry pie, so I ordered the milk chocolate and coffee crème brûlée from the restaurant’s regular dessert menu. It came with almond anise biscotti. Nice, but a little much. Keith had the vanilla crème brûlée from the dessert menu, which was pretty tasty. It came with a pistachio crisp and pears in the crème, which was a little weird but pleasing nonetheless.

The best part of the experience? The wine! North Square had a special RW wine menu, with bottles specially priced at $24 or $35. It was a pretty varied selection, and the Cahors red that we got for $24 was light, fruity and very good.

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