Peasant, June 14, 2007

194 Elizabeth St.

There was a Food Blogger Meet Up/Happy Hour at Von that I attended with my dining partner Doug (dpd for short) where we got to meet Ed Levine of Serious Eats and Alaina of The Full Belly among several others who all seemed great and had their own niches carved out for themselves.

After a few drinks of a bordeaux blanc I don't recall, I wandered over to Peasant for a bite to eat. Having never been there and hearing of its all-Italian menu, blunt service and terrific food, I had to see for myself.

Well, I can't disagree with anything I've heard about the place. The menu is in fact written in Italian, but I had absolutely no problem navigating the menu. If you have any language skills (Latin or its European spawn) you should have no problem with the menu. Same applies if you are a dedicated diner like myself. That said, I can see it being an issue for the regular person, but I wouldn't consider it a turnoff. What was a turnoff, however, was the loud room, loud Euro centric clientele and what looked to me like a staff that goes skiing every night together.

I sat at the bar, as is my MO when dining alone (Doug had a basketball scrimmage, Danna was working late) and ordered a half order of the pasta with pesto sauce and was floored by it. It was phenomenal and costing me about $8 for a healthy portion made it all that much better. Truly excellent pasta - at least as good as that at 'Cesca and a fraction of the cost (and more pasta!).

For my entree, I wanted to order the grilled quail, which they were out of, but settled on the spit roasted chicken. This was superb. Filled with a nondescript stuffing, the herb infused bird was perfectly cooked and seasoned and simply hit the spot. I don't recall the exact price, but it was somewhere near a respectable $24 or maybe $22(?).

Is the scene a bit too sceney and Euro? Yes.
Are the staff a bit kookoo? Yes.
Is it loud and less homey than it should/could be? Yes (but that's because the front area is bigger than it needs to be)
Is the food delicious and of a good value. Definitely.
Worth a shot? I'd say yes.


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