Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The King of Greenwich Village

kingswood4Monday night dates are an interesting breed.Definitely not the thrilling occasion that is a weekend rendezvous, hardly as promising as those that get penciled in ‘round the midweek hump, Monday dates are sometimes, frankly, difficult to motivate for. So when an uncannily handsome man asked me out on a Monday, I had one small caveat: we meet somewhere close to home, my home. Being that I live in the WestVillage, where several new restaurants have opened over the course of the past month, this was less than a hardship. The difficult part was choosing which one to try.

We landed at The Kingswood. With no sign out front, and speakeasy chic written all over it, The Kingswood occupies the former Jefferson space on 10th Street between Greenwich and 6th Avenues and offers upgraded gastropub fare from the Aussie team that heads Nolita’s sandwich jewel, Ruby’s. I had stumbled into the spot (and into a crowd dressed in anticipation of a night at Bungalow 8 or Beatrice Inn) a few weeks ago and knew it was a “good look” to accompany an even better looking man.

We met the week before at the penultimate gastropub, The Spotted Pig. He donning an elbow-patched blazer and Pumas, me a little black dress. He drinking a pint of something amber (which, at first, I guessed was Old Speckled Hen, but in retrospect was likely Amstel Light or some other marginal swill) and me sipping Prosecco from a bottle I was sharing with Sara. He and friends were working up the courage to come and talk to us. He was good-looking, sure, but model-types usually fail in this department–too spoiled by the ample throngs of New York women willing to do the work for them. Sara and I swapped bites of burger for tastes of gnudi off each other’s plates and pretended not to notice. He was too hot to be the first in his crowd to approach us. “Better-personality-best-friend” was sent over as his scout. Sara liked the scout; I was enjoying the game. The night ended with the best friend offering to buy our drinks and Mr. I’m-too-hot-for-you offering me his card: no business mentioned, of course. It was a 3 ½ by 2 inch “comp-card.”

Though I wasn’t especially impressed, I was intrigued, so I called him anyway because I had nothing but a Monday night to lose.

So last night we dined at The Kingswood, me knowing we’d make it an early night, him hoping to be buying me breakfast. When I got to the restaurant he hadn’t yet arrived so I settled into the bar and perused the cocktail list. Loads of chef-inspired gems here! I ordered the “Spiced Fig Rob Roy” (Glenfiddich with fresh fig, Benedictine and a splash of sweet vermouth) but had a hard time deciding between that and the “Honey Maple Sour” (a vodka infusion with lemon and pancake sauce) and the “Tom du Jour” (a daily Tom Collin’s special which, of course, caught my attention). My date showed his gorgeous face only seconds after I’d taken my first sip: it was freshly muddled, whispered of almonds, but was perhaps a bit too sweet. He was freshly shaven, whispered a hello in my ear, but was, in fact, a bit too suave. He ordered vodka, typical, and truffled fries, unexpected. Truffle is one those heavy-hitters that mass-produced, truffle-like oil makes possible to afford at a bistro near you. Nevermind The Times rant on faux-truffle products, anything deep-fried and dipped into a trufflish aoli is bound to be worth its salt. My polished companion seemed, at first, to agree. “These are major,” he quipped, “almost as good as McDonald’s.” Every girl has a breaking point and mine may be McDonald’s.

The dining room at The Kingswood is a bit of a mystery to me. Maybe it’s the layout and light that seem oddly reminiscent of a cafeteria setting, or maybe it’s the butterflies perched overhead as ceiling ornaments that leave me feeling confused. Either way, the menu makes up for it. As it turned out, my date was too concerned with counting calories to indulge in the three-course meal I suggested, so we ended up sharing each course (something I actually adore when getting to know someone’s palate and pushing for double dessert). We started with the seared beef appetizer served atop a medley of pickled endive, beets, and carrots dressed in a honey-vinaigrette. For our entrée we dove into a pan roasted halibut with couscous, tabouleh, sautéed squid, and a chorizo, raisin, toasted something or other…there were too many ingredients to count. I got him to go in for the double dessert—a classic, warm, chocolate cake and the rarely seen “Eton Mess” (a trifle of meringue, whipped cream, and fresh berries)—the perfect finale.

Unable to shake the feeling that his longing glances in my direction were really attempts to catch a glimpse of his own reflection in the bizarro, glass-encased, woodland diorama behind me, I walked home alone. The business/comp-card met its fate on Christopher Street as I tossed off both his number and my desire to hold a model’s hand.

The Kingswood ($$$$)
Australian, American (New)
121 W 10th St @ Greenwich Ave

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One Response to “The King of Greenwich Village”

  1. Julie

    king’s don’t drink light beer. THAT, ms. belle, should have been your breaking point. it’s like a dude ordering salad; very un-dude like.

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