Monday, December 21, 2009

Peasant - New York, NY

Last month, while I was in NY, we went out to celebrate Pete's birthday at Peasant in Nolita. Pete's friend Cathy described it best when she characterized the place as serving Rustic Tuscan food. It's a dark, cozy space with an exposed kitchen area at the far end of the restaurant. You'll see a glowing, open fire cooking up pizzas and roasting chickens stuck on a never ending ferris wheel look-a-like. It definitely has the rustic charm of an old countryside kitchen in a remote Italian village somewhere. I've never been to Italy before, but this is what I imagine all restaurants to look like there. Am I right?

I will share with you some of the dishes we had - sorry no pictures again since it was muy dark and I stopped after I blinded everyone with my flash. I loved how they gave you crusty bread with fresh ricotta and EVOO in the beginning. It was soo yummy. I would have just grabbed a spoon and eaten the ricotta by the spoonfuls if I wasn't on my best behavior and it wasn't Pete's birthday. =) We went ahead and ordered some pizza for starters: the pizza margherita and pizza pepperoncini e sopressata. The wood-fired pizzas were good, but I don't think they would be filling enough for an entree and they have far too many, other interesting items on their menu to choose from. I'm convinced their whole menu was in Italian, because I couldn't understand most of it. We kept asking the waitress questions about the menu, but she seemed peeved that we didn't know what to her were basic Italian words. She was not very nice.

They had a wide range of dishes with interesting meat options, like rabbit, venison and quail. I stayed away from all of those and ordered the tagliolini with uni instead. It had tons of roasted garlic and creamy uni. I think we all ended up ordering all different dishes and everyone seemed to like what they got. All of the dishes I tried were really good. One of the girls noted that her pasta was on the salty side and I would have to agree, they are a bit liberal with their seasoning, but having fresh pasta made me almost forget how salty it was.

For dessert, we had bread pudding and panna cotta. The bread pudding was good, but I thought the panna cotta was heavenly. Did anyone watch the Top Chef episode where Robin made the Bellagio-inspired panna cotta for the Las Vegas casino challenge? The judges were flabbergasted that she had never made panna cotta before and that she was going to attempt it for the first time during the challenge. Bad idea. (They make it sound like it's so easy to make though. I might have to make making panna cotta one of my new year's resolutions for next year. haha.) Robin's panna cotta got horrible remarks from the judges. I loved it when Nigella pointed out that panna cotta should not bounce, but rather “have the quiver of a 17th century courtesan’s inner thigh.” Well put! I think Nigella would be pleased with Peasant's panna cotta. It had the perfect texture and flavor and it had no problem shimmying down my throat and into my tummy. Get the panna cotta, it's really good. This panna cotta might very well give any courtesan a run for her money.

194 Elizabeth St
(between Prince St & Spring St)
New York, NY 10012

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