Hundred Acres is the latest brainchild of two haute barnyard cult figures, Marc Meyer and Vicki Freeman. Between them, the husband-wife team already have two hit restaurants to their credit, Five Points in NoHo and Cookshop in Chelsea. Both are variations on a similar theme: market-driven menus leaning heavily on produce from local farmers.
Last year, they acquired the old SoHo mainstay Provence. They were sentimentally attached to the restaurant, as it was the place where they became engaged. Their original plan was to keep it French, but Gallic cooking wasn’t really in Meyer’s soul, and Frank Bruni found the food uneven. Meyer told the Times that Provence was packed during the weekends, but weekday business was slow.
So after a bit of remodeling, the space now looks like—you guessed it, a gussied-up farmhouse. Meyer and Freeman are once again doing what they do best.
The menu here is more downmarket than either of their other two places, with a much gentler price point. Appetizers are $10–12, entrées around $15–20. Your mileage may vary, as the menu changes often, but these prices are about as low as you see at a serious restaurant these days.
We were both attracted to the “Trio of Toast” — three crisp bruschette topped with rabbit, smoked fish, and liver respectively. It’s daring to serve a dish like this, as many diners find at least one of those ingredients a turn-off.
We liked the liver the best, and the fish was solid too. The rabbit had cooled off a bit too much, and it tasted oily.
You don’t see pollack—a member of the cod family—on many restaurant menus. It was cooked in parchment and topped with peas. The preparation was first-class, the fish moist and flavorful.
My girlfriend had a lamb sausage burger. The sausage itself was terrific, but the plate was overwhelmed with toppings and garnishes. Shoestring fries weren’t very interesting, and after a couple of tastes we left them alone.
We finished with a warm rhubarb tart.
You’ve got to give Meyer credit. Run down the roster: a trio of toasts with rabbit, smoked fish and liver; pollack; a lamb sausage burger. They’re all the work of a chef who wants to challenge diners, not to pander. Good for him!
We noticed, though, that the most popular dish seemed to be the fried chicken. Perhaps diners at Hundred Acres aren’t quite ready for Meyer’s version of barnyard cooking.
The wine list is not extensive, but there were plenty of options under $50.
The execution here was slightly uneven, but they’ve been open only a month, and I assume they’ll get the kinks worked out. Service was much more polished than one would expect for such an inexpensive restaurant.
Hundred Acres (38 MacDougal Street between Prince & Houston Streets, SoHo)