Sunday, January 24, 2010

Greenpoint Coffeehouse

In the past few weeks, Priya & I have thrice eaten at the Greenpoint Coffee House, which is a mere block from our house and yet somewhere we never frequented (Priya used to go there but after a few lackluster brunch experiences, started preferring Brooklyn Label, which we now ironically find lackluster itself). However, we were lured there by the news that Jonny Meyer (formerly of t.b.d., across the street) was now the chef.

We first ventured in for brunch on New Year's Day. A bit annoyed at first because it took 45 minutes for the 2 of us to be seated even while 3- and 4-person groups were just walking in and getting seated immediately (they were trying to fill the booths, I guess, but I feel like at the point that a couple has been waiting there for 40 minutes, you should just put them in a booth--especially because the curved booths there barely hold 3-4 people--before seating the 4-pack that just waltzed in).

I got a smoked salmon plate, which had the nice addition of a soft egg (sometimes I'm put off from ordering a bagel with lox because I sort of want an egg, so this solved that problem) and pickled onions. Priya had pancakes and we were both surprised by how tasty they were--crispy on the edges and outside and soft on the inside. So many times we've had bum pancakes at brunch, and a block away are really fantastic ones.

We returned again for dinner a few days later. The specials looked good, and I selected a pork shoulder in chestnut polenta sprinkled with roasted chestnuts. Priya had beet ravioli--described by the waitress as "bigger than an appetizer, but smaller than an entree"--followed by a plate of Hooligan cheese with quince paste and apricot/Meyer lemon marmalade. The ravioli were delicious, and bore a resemblance to the casunziei (beet ravioli with poppy seeds) at Al Di La, which Jonny later said was an inspiration. The pork shoulder was fantastically cooked, falling to pieces and well-flavored, and the polenta hit the spot on a cold night. One of the best things we got was sent out for us at the end of the night--a salted-caramel and almond tart with chocolate ganache and crystallized ginger scattered across the top. The ginger was an excellent touch, which Jonny said was inspired by a trail mix with those components that he used to have as a kid (and which later inspired us to make our own trail mix).

On Friday, after seeing stand-up comedy at the Wards of Merkin, we brought Sirin and Ahmad to the restaurant. Again I wanted to try much of the menu, but I settled on the fried chicken (plus a side of biscuit and salad). Priya got the Painted Hills beef burger with Grafton cheddar, Ahmad had the beet ravioli and a delicious red cabbage/apple/walnut/cheddar salad, and Sirin also had the fried chicken. The chicken was very tasty, especially with the apple/honey dipping sauce it came with, and I think we all went away more than satisfied. I also loved the mussels with chorizo and cilantro, Portuguese-style with a Mexican twist.

No camera at any of our dinners there, and too dim for my cameraphone! But we'll be back, and I'll snap some then.

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