A trend among restaurants that I can really get behind is unpretentious, casual spaces that become the backdrop for sophisticated and highly conceptualized dishes.
That’s clearly what’s happening at High Street on Hudson, a nine-month-old restaurant in the West Village that’s opened all day serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. From the outside, it looks like a cafe, and as you get closer the front looks like a bakery with beautifully baked loaves on display. But when you go back to the open kitchen, you see an expert crew creating dishes like seaweed bucatini with lobster bottarga or an arctic char crudo with plum and radishes.
High Street on Hudson is the brainchild of Eli Kulp, who made his name in Philadelphia. The restaurant has garnered rave reviews, and was named among the 2016 Restaurants of the Year by Food and Wine.
On my last night of my New York vacation, I went for dinner with my friend Sylvia, who was running late on the subway (those alphabet lines are killer). I waited on a breezy summer night with a specialty cocktail, Harvest Highball that was refreshing as it was beautiful with a raspberry hue.
When Sylvia arrived, we dived into the menu, which has two columns of dishes primarily separating them by size (small for starters and large for entrees). I should note that Sylvia wasn’t feeling well, so I had to do much of the eating for the night. (no problem!) Along with ordering ala carte, you can also request a chef’s choice $65 tasting menu where the chef sends out smaller versions of some of the popular dishes on the menu.
I started with an artistic plate of grilled mushrooms (nobrodinis and porcini) with soft goat cheese ($16). After visiting various museums in the city, this plate looked like something from the walls of the Whitney, which coincidentally is just west of High Street. The meaty porcini cooked perfectly were paired with a creamy soft goat cheese that had been warmed.
The aforementioned seaweed bucatini ($28) is a signature pasta dish made with squid ink pasta that’s blended with ‘ndjua and mussels, but beautifully presented with the thinly shaved lobster bottarga that looked like rose petals on the plate. All these ingredients (including the seaweed) sets off the brininess in the dish, but the flavors were still subtle, almost mild.
Sylvia did order the smoked potato gnocchi ($22), which was served with corn, pistachio pesto and crispy potato skins. I tried one of the gnocchi and felt it was a tad over cooked (there was a slight gumminess to the bite I had). Although Sylvia said she liked the plate, I’m biased because I had an amazing gnocchi dish a few nights earlier.
Because I couldn’t decide between the bucatini and another entree dish, I ended up also ordering the Long Island duck breast ($27), which was a perfectly cooked duck breast served simply with soured oats and summer squash.
Our meal ended with a dessert course called “peaches and pecan,” and it looked and tasted like a deconstructed peach cobbler. I enjoyed all the parts, except maybe the “snickerdoodle” like cookie that had more of a biscotti texture.
The last bite
High Street on Hudson offers different dining experiences depending on the time of day, but if you want casual elegance then definitely go for dinner to enjoy the creative dishes paired with friendly and professional service. You don’t have to dress up to feel like you’re having a special meal.
The rating: 3 out of 4 camera snaps
The deets: High Street on Hudson, 637 Hudson St., New York. PH: 917.388.3944. Open daily breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations, major credit cards accepted. www.highstreetonhudson.com
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