The Little Owl
And I thought the restaurant Prune was small! The other night I went to a charming restaurant called The Little Owl in the West Village of Manhattan that I’ve heard a lot about. It’s hard to get a reservation because it’s maybe only 12-14 tables, and they are booked for the prime seating hours almost a month to the day in advance. They do keep three or four tables just for walk-ins because it is important to them that people be able to stop by, but these get taken quickly.
We had a 5:45 reservation (secretly my favorite time to eat) and there was already a crowd outside. It was a gorgeous crisp Spring day and it was fantastic to sit in this cozy space as the sun set, the lights dimmed, and the kitchen, which is behind a wall of glass, came alive.
The menu and wine list are influenced by Spain, Italy and America. We started with Gravy Meatball Sliders—small meatballs, either pork, beef, or veal, each in a mini bun. I got the pork which was so light and juicy. We also ordered an appetizer of Spanish Fideos with fava beans, roasted pepper, and olives. Fideos is spaghetti that has been cooked in a frying pan and served almost as a torta; here the pasta was mixed with the other ingredients creating a lovely salad with a bite of Piment d’espellete a wonderful dried Pimento spice. I also ordered the Wedding Soup which was made with Escarole, polpetti ( small meatballs ) and egg, though the main ingredient seemed to be cheese. This was a little heavy, and after the sliders it was too much. I should have had the Bibb salad with beets, butternut and parmesan, but somehow the name of that soup spoke to me, I was tempted, and I fell. Oh well.
The entrées were fabulous. I had the grilled halibut served over a bed of asparagus risotto. My friend had the pork chop with parmesan butter beans and wild dandelion. The pork chop had been brined and was delicious. My halibut was cooked perfectly but I would have loved a little drizzle of something on the fish. We shared a side of grilled asparagus with parmesan and toasted bread crumbs which could have made a meal by itself.
The wine list was great. I ordered the crisp, refreshing 2005 Vietti Arneis which was served really cold which I love!
We ended our meal with a pear crisp topped with mascarpone gelato. I’m not much of a dessert person but that was a really good crisp. Everyone else was ordering the raspberry beignets which did look amazing. There was a good cheese selection too… next time.
And there will be a next time for sure. I loved this place and, as the weather gets warmer, it will be no problem to wait outside if need be. But make a reservation, it’s worth the wait.
The Little Owl
90 Bedford st
New York, New York 10014