Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 1008 : Willow Road

Situated under the highline, next to Colicchio and Sons and Del Posto, is Willow Road. Opened late last year with executive chef, Todd Macdonald of Boston's Clio and Top Chef's Grayson Schmitz, this restaurant pays homage to its location's prior tenant -- the Nabisco Factory. Rustic, vintage, farmhouse and meets urban sleek design in this American elevated gastropub.

The menu is a melange of small plates, bites, salads, entrees, and sides. Reinvented classics with an inventive flair.

So what did we have?

The Twenty Greens salad with pistachios, and smoked Pecorino. Rustic yet light and crisp with a nice nutty crunch and a smoky punch. The perfect ratio of cheese and pistachios to lettuce-- something that I find tends to be difficult in restaurant salads, but here was a definite success.

We also had their hunk of Prairie Breeze Cheddar served with grilled raisin walnut bread with the option for a shot of whiskey and a pickleback for an additional cost. Nice to see a restaurant keeping their cheese offerings very simple and being confident in their American classic choice of Cheddar.

What else?

Spiced lamb burger bites with sumac aioli, cilantro and iced red onion that were apparently very salty. The concept was a nice riff of on sliders but just hold back on the sodium a bit. Along with their Willow Mac n' Cheese -- large penne served with bacon, parmesan bread crumbs and more. Warming and comforting.

Of course I had to order the side of brussels sprouts -- roasted and served simply with brown butter. They had a nice char and rustic vegetal flavor.

Willow Road was slightly unprepared for a busy Sunday evening on a rainy day and thus our meal took over an hour to arrive at the table but the restaurant compensated us for that by sending out their mushroom spaetzle served with morel mushrooms, nettles puree and comte cheese. Bright and springy, this was a burst of flavor -- a true treat. On top of the spaetzle, they also sent us out a sticky toffee pudding and covered the entire meal except for one drink. Now that my friends is service -- it is the restaurant recognizing that they did a subpar job and wanting to make up for it.

Overall a nice addition to the lower Chelsea dining options with a wonderful interior design.

Willow Road
85 Tenth Avenue

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