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“Cole's Greenwich Village by Guest Reviewer Claire Jaffe”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American West Village Moderate Great

“American Cuisine” sounds, frankly, pretty boring. Where’s the exoticism? The mystery? The je-ne-sais-quoi?

Well, stifle that yawn. Stifle it right now. Because Cole’s Greenwich Village, Penny Bradley’s newest addition to the restaurant scene introduced at the beginning of February, is the surprising sort of dining experience that makes a staycation in frigid, blustery, brown-slushy Manhattan seem like a perfectly wonderful destination spot.

The restaurant itself, in keeping with the bones of its former Lyon occupant, seems like a cozy trip to a friend’s slightly-too-small-but-nonetheless-inviting living room. The 50s-style white walls with black accents (courtesy of Steven Gambrel’s design) and the multiple subtle wall hangings lend quite the “Start Spreadin’ The News” quality to the ambiance. Waiters dressed in traditional black-and-white uniforms squeeze their way between guests leaning back in their simple wooden chairs, the scene illuminated softly by the dim, unassuming lighting. Only Lyon’s bar area remains as it once was, crowded to capacity (at 6:30!) with sophisticated Manhattanites in search of a posh post-work cocktail.

While the old-timey atmosphere may draw customers in, it is Chef Daniel Eardley (formerly of Brooklyn’s now-closed Chestnut) who delivers the kind of meal that makes those dining want to sit down and stay a while. Like, maybe forever.

Whether those dining are looking for a light, fresh meal, or something that will really stick to their ribs, Chef Eardley can (and does) provide a truly memorable spread, unforgettable aesthetically as well as palatably.

The first not-to-miss item on the menu is the crostini. Please, try the crostini. It is almost the most beautiful dish on the menu. Perfectly grilled bread slathered with fresh apple butter, purple radicchio, bright red pomegranate seeds, orange bocha squash, and topped with blue cheese and aged balsamic vinegar. It’s like eating a delicious sunset. This starter is sweet, tart, bitter, crunch and savory. As my guest put it, “I feel like I could fast for days and then just eat a bunch of these”. If there is any indication that one should consider continuing past appetizers, the crostini is it.

Skip the sardines and duck fat potatoes. Though the description makes mouths water, the flavor combination is a tad too subtle, a ... [more, click below]

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