Friday, December 28, 2012

‘Espionage’ in the East Village

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Just when I thought I had my fill of farm-to-table, seasonal cuisine, I was re-inSPYired at Northern Spy Food Co. This small, east village spot (35-40 seats)with a loyal brunch following was a treat from the same old pork chop with 'miscellaneous root vegetable' that I had grown tired of from seasonal joints in the city.

We had an 8 pm reservation on a Saturday and were actually sat ON TIME (foodie tip: you can make reservations through The atmosphere is warm, but modern and uncluttered – the space is used efficiently yet you aren't able to eat off the table next to you (which may equate to spacious in NYC). While the menu is small and market-driven, there are a welcome number of vegetarian options and entrée portion sizes are quite substantial. We opted to go heavy on the apps and snacks and light on the main courses. The modest list of cocktails, wines and beer fit perfectly with the menu – the Northern Shandy is a great seasonally adjusted drink that in Winter features ale spiked with apple cider.

A few highlights for the group included Chicken liver mousse with pickled onions and crostini. The mousse was light and creamy and the onions were the perfect compliment. Another favorite was the kale salad with cheddar, almonds, delicata squash and pecorino. Up until now, I had been anti-kale, pegging it as a fad like beets or brussels sprouts (OK, I admit, I am still obsessed with sprouts). However, thisperfectly balanced salad made the hype seem worthy!

My fiancée and I split the special – a grass fed aged strip steak that was perfectly cooked and truly made
for carnivorous bliss. The swiss chard with spicy sausage made for a delicious side dish.

As an interesting side note, according to the restaurant’s website “Northern Spy Food Co. is named after one of New York State’s classic heirloom apples. The Northern Spy apple was developed in the early 19th century and originally identified in an orchard in East Bloomfield, New York.

My recommendation is to go and 'stake out' Northern Spy Food Co. Have a cocktail, some kale and try a special.

Northern Spy Food Co.
511 East 12th Street (between Ave. A and Ave. B)

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