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Why April Bloomfield Rocks


The other day, I was browsing the online menus of several West Village restaurants, trying decide which one to visit for dinner. Their unrelenting sameness depressed me. It’s not that I’ve tired of the classics, only that I doubted they’d be done really well.

Then I decided on The Spotted Pig, and I remembered why the chef, April Bloomfield, really rocks. Her menu—particularly the list of daily specials—is packed with dishes that don’t resemble anyone else’s. She isn’t serving kidneys on toast because there is great demand for them, but because this is her food.

I started with an order of Shito Peppers ($5), lightly fried and dusted with sea salt, each one packing a different heat intensity, depending on how many seeds remained inside. It was just a five-dollar bar snack, but full of flavor, and not duplicated in any other pub I know of.

Then I had a Butter Cup Squash Salad ($15; right) with golden chard and sorrel—a simple, impeccably prepared salad. Who else is serving one with these ingredients?

That’s why April Bloomfield Rocks.

The service here was excellent, as always, bearing in mind that it’s basically a gussied-up pub. But there are a lot of staff here—surely enough for a two-star restaurant, despite the superficially casual box they’re squeezed into.

One minor complaint: I was seated against the back wall, with the daily specials—there are always more than a half-dozen of them—written on the mirror behind me. Given that the menu is reprinted daily, why must it omit so many items, especially as there are so many seats, like the one I was in, where the mirror can’t easily be seen?

The Pig was the least crowded I’ve ever seen it. Don’t cry for April and her business partner, Ken Friedman: the place was full by 6:30 p.m. on a Thursday evening. But it was the first time I’ve been there that it actually took a full hour to seat every table.

The Spotted Pig (314 W. 11 Street at Greenwich Street, West Village)

Reader Comments (2)

You can get blistered shishitos in all kinds of places in NY. They're great at Ippudo, Boqueria, and Commerce. I love that they work on that diversity of menu types. If you want them in a pub, another option is Jimmy's No. 43. April's food is great, not sure the shishitos are that entirely unique though.

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

Thanks for the comment. It would probably be difficult to name a dish that literally nobody else has, but I do think that April’s cuisine, taken in aggregate, is less inclined to just reproduce the menu standards found at most other places.

I’m not wed to pub food per se, but thanks for suggesting Jimmy’s. It has been on my to-try list for a long time, but it’s a bit out-of-the-way for me, so I haven’t gotten around to it.

July 19, 2010 | Registered CommenterMarc Shepherd

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