Saturday, May 8, 2010
We Went to There: Joseph Leonard
Indeed we did go to there, although one of us almost didn't get to there -- the West Village is a confusing place! For some. Joseph Leonard is an adorable little restaurant on the corner where Christopher Street meets Grove and Waverly Place branches off into two directions, both of which are still Waverly Place for a block (this is true - see here.) In the front of the room is a bar and a bartender with a mustache and some little tables by the window overlooking Waverly Place. We sat in the back, at a table by the open kitchen. A chalkboard above the kitchen window counter said "Breakfast and lunch, hell yes."
On every table there was a jar of gherkins marinating in brine. They proved delicious enough to turn a lifelong anti-pickler onto pickles. We also had a glass bottle of water, and tea towel napkins. For lunch I ordered the lump crab "sarnie" -- sarnie is apparently an informal British word for sandwich, and the waiter wouldn't recognize my order until I said it as written (my first attempt was "crab sandwich.") In this case it was open faced: spiced with Old Bay and piled on top of a thick, slightly toasted piece of dark bread, and accompanied by delicious Old Bay chips. This all went very well with the gherkins. And although the sarnie certainly couldn't be eaten as a sandwich, it was simple enough with knife and fork. Actually, the possibilities for perfect bites were many and varied: crab on a chip, chip with a gherkin, gherkin with a crabby bit of toast. You understand. A brioche bun might have been a nice way to eat it, too.
Margaret had the burger with tomato marmalade, arugula, and ricotta -- the burger, she reported, was delicious, but the accompanying fries seemed to be nothing special. After the meal we split a small french press that, according to the waiter, would not be enough for two people. It was. What a gherk! Overall, Joseph Leonard's precious affects might have been a bit much, but the food was actually really good. I was surprised that they didn't have desserts with lunch however -- the waiter mentioned some sort of caramel custard as an afterthought, but it didn't appeal. Would it be so much trouble, I wondered, to arrange a simple cookie plate for a couple of ladies with a sweet tooth?
You can expect to hear a bit from Margaret about the bathroom, which was one of the most charming parts of the experience.