Brindle Room in the East Village
Walking over to the recently opened East Village restaurant called Brindle Room last night, we wondered what the name signified. It couldn't be after dogs who have that distinctive brown-and-black tiger striped fur called brindle, could it? Actually, that's exactly what the name refers to--photos of brindle-colored dogs line the wooden walls.
The menu offers six spreads, seven appetizers (or sharable "small plates") and four mains, plus a few specials. These are mainly simple American plates like roasted beets, roast chicken, baked oysters, chicken fried steak, and chicken liver mousse. Spreads range from $7-$9, small dishes $8-$14, and mains $19-$23.
We tried two spreads, brandade (salt cod and whipped potato) and a smoked trout and white bean, both of which were tasty enough. The brandade came with thick-cut toast that was nicely charred and chewy.
Of the small plates, duck confit poutine was impressive, although you may regret eating it after the fact. It's a crazy gutbomb even as poutine goes: crisp, skin-on french fries, cheese curds congealing into a huge white mass, a brown gravy that tastes of duck fat, and fat swabs of duck confit blanketing the whole mess. A few bites were fantastic, and after that it's diminishing returns.
Mains are cooked nicely but a bit dull--a special of seared duck breast and citrus-glazed carrots erred on the side of sweet.
On first impression, I'd save this place for when you're walking around the neighborhood and just want a nice glass of wine or beer and a snack. It's very pleasant: a narrow, warm, wooden space, with just a handful of tables and a bar at the far end. The dogs eye you from the walls, wishing they could get their snouts in some duck poutine.
277 East 10th Street