As with all newly opened restaurants, we gave Left Bank ample time to get acclimated before making our first visit. I booked a reservation for 8pm on a Saturday night about a week in advance with no difficulty. Saturday afternoon I decided to check the menu and look online for reviews. The guys from Immaculate Infatuation had written a totally shit review and it occurred to me to cancel ASAP. But what could we do only 3hours prior?! So, we decided what the hell, let’s just do it. And so off we went with low expectations. Duly noted, the team is from Red Cat and Mermaid Inn. We’ve not gone to Red Cat in YEARS and Mermaid Inn is a fun spot, but certainly not a food innovator.
The decor is quite sparse, but pleasant enough. When the room is packed, the cleanness of it really works. Online photos of the empty room do not do it justice. It’s actually pretty warm and inviting. Excuse the crappy iPhone shot, but I think you’ll see my point.
We began with drinks while we perused the menu, which is rather short and sweet so I am sharing the entire thing…
I opted for the ‘Pickled Beet’, which in my mind was going to be pickled and perhaps bloody Mary-like. And anyone who follows our blog knows I love pickled things, especially where alcohol is involved. Quite unfortunately, this was NOT pickled! It was a beet juice martini garnished with escarole! This is only for the adventurous and is most definitely an aquired taste. It was earthy and a tad strong. I stand by the idea that at the very least a pickled beet garnish would have improved this cocktail.
Next up, the starters. We had planned on the lamb tartare, as that has been mentioned as the top dish, but it wasn’t on the new Fall menu. Not a problem, we found enough other options. We both went with sausage, Steve had the pork and I went with lamb. I was a bit worried, as mine was on a bed of sauerkraut with a dot of Dijon and my kraut was cold in some areas and warm under the sausage. Intentional? Not sure. Uh oh. But a little stir of the dish resolved that and it did not hurt the flavors. Steve’s pork sausage was served over braised cabbage with peppers. It was also excellent, although I really liked the lamb.
For entrees, I chose the grilled Montauk squid and Steve tried the goat ragu pasta dish. The squid was served whole, which I like to see. It was on a bed of heirloom beans and garnished with a red pepper like the preparation of the port sausage. The simple preparation really allowed the subtle seared squid to take center stage. The Capricci with kid goat ragu was hearty and the fresh pasta was perfectly prepared. Again, the key was the simplicity of the dish.
We had time to kill before our 11:30 show at Sullivan Hall, so we decided on dessert and after dinner drinks. People have been raving about the maple syrup pie and rightly so. It has the consistency of a cheesecake or pumpkin pie and is served with a dollop of creme fraiche. This is a unique signature dish and perfect for the holiday season. We had a Madeira and a port to complement it.
Overall, we really enjoyed our experience at Left Bank. The prices are quite reasonable and if we lived right nearby, this would be a place we’d visit often. It has a homey atmosphere, staff could not be friendlier or more accommodating AND we really enjoyed our meal. So on this one, I am going to disagree with Immaculate Infatuation. We do plan to revisit. Perhaps we will find a consistency problem, but most places we never revisit. So that in itself is a compliment. I truly hope it works out for Left Bank. This location has been a bad one and having Aria, Spasso and Spotted Pig all within spitting distance can’t help. Except to pick up their overflow!
117 Perry Street – West Village