Hundred Acres – Can I even Eat One More Ramp?

Seasonality is huge. I mean, I am into it. I dig it. Eat local, eat seasonal and it tastes the best. 
BUT…
When EVERY RESTAURANT in New York is cooking with ramps, ricotta and peas, there are bound to be comparisons. Can a restaurant that is merely very good hold up next to one that is excellent, when they are cooking similar dishes at similar price points?
 Hundred Acres is run by the same people who run Cookshop, one of my all time faves
 The large dining space was comfortable and romantic with candlelight, a large bar area and windows looking out on the West Village.
 I ordered the Sparkling Acres cocktail, made with prosecco, aperol and citrus. This is perfect for someone who doesn’t love sugary drinks – and I don’t. Minerally from the prosecco, a bit bitter from the aperol and tangy from the citrus, this was a truly perfect cocktail. It set the tone for a light and fresh menu. Enough alcohol to get buzzed, not so much that I took my top off.
That’s what she said.
 The bread basket was kind of meh. I found the white bread rather plain and cottony and the cornbread dense and too sweet. But then, I am not a huge cornbread fan – my tablemates loved it. 
 Black kale, Breadcrumbs, Anchovy-Lemon Dressing, Pecorino. Now here is where it gets good. Large – though not whole – pieces of kale were tossed in a pungent, sharp, tangy dressing. Not fishy or bitter at all, the dressing was the definition of umami – light but almost meaty tasting, and incredibly rich next to the kale. The kale was much more tender than what I am used to, and wilted slightly in the acidic dressing. The pecorino, which I usually find sharp, tasted incredibly creamy with the roughage and the sharp dressing. It was really an awesome salad, and one that I would recommend to anyone who likes Caesars.
And if you don’t like Caesars…what is WRONG with you?
 Vermont Burrata, Spring Peas, Meyer Lemon, Mint, Fresh Horseradish, Bird’s Food Crackers. This was very good, but not what I would call amazing. There was a lot of sweetness here – sweet burratta, sweet peas, sweet lemon (it was a bit candied, and Meyer lemon is incredibly sweet to begin with), and the horseradish was nowhere to be found. The buratta was creamy and fresh, but the whole dish was a bit one note.
Ramps, Asiago and Greens Flatbread. This was a very crisp cracker – definitely not like a pizza. It was actually a great cracker-floury, crispy and with charred edges. The toppings themselves lacked a bit. The ramps were sweet, but I like them a little less cooked. I think that cooking them until they are limp, although it adds to their sweetness, takes away from that oniony-bite that makes ramps what they are. The asiago cheese added a nice hit of sharpness, but this was a bit lackluster.
Semolina Macaroni with Ricotta, Pepper and Fava beans. Now, I thought this was fantastic. The pasta was smooth but incredibly hearty and with an outstanding corny taste. Just that hearty, slightly sweet taste of corn, that is so unexpected in pasta. The ricotta was fresh and creamy, melting luxuriously the moment it toughed your mouth. It just tasted rich and indulgent, with the fava beans adding freshness and the fresh cracked pepper adding textural contrast and a bit of fiery taste. 
Spring Stew of Tilefish, Mussels, Clams, Shrimp, South Carolina Gold Rice, Spinach, Fennel-Tomato Broth, Orange Aioli. This was just a really great seafood stew – nothing more, nothing less. The fish was moist and delicate tasting, the mussels were soft, the clams were briny and the shrimp were firm yet sweet with their oceanic taste. The rice was plump from absorbing the light, fennel infused tomatoey broth, and the aioli was creamy and just a bit tart from the orange. The greens added an earthy background to the briny, fresh soup, adding another layer of flavor. This was really a great dish – not too salty, too heavy or too light. The only thing was…well, I could make it at home.
The bread pudding with salted caramel ice cream – now this I could NOT make at home. This was like a slice of Starbucks pound cake on steroids -and that is a compliment of the HIGHEST degree! It was moist, dense and tightly crumbed, with butter and sugar flavor seeping though every bite like a modified monkey bread. The salted caramel ice cream added not only salt, but a burnt edge to the caramel that made the cake taste even sweeter. Because that is really what it was…not a dry pudding, but a moist cake. Awesome. Get this.
So, what was my opinion of this meal? Nice atmosphere, great service, but the food was…good. Not great. Not outstanding. The dessert was great but the meal as a whole was not. It was very good, don’t et me wrong, but for the price point it was not up to Cookshop’s or Union Square Cafe’s standards. And, when the restaurants are all using the same ingredients and claiming to be the same type of retaurant, it should be. That said, I would TOTALLY stop int here for a drink and a snack. A whole meal – perhaps not. But sometimes all you want is a drink and a slice of bread pudding.
Because, after all, how many ramps can one gal eat?
Hundred Acres on Urbanspoon

Comments

  1. Lauren says:

    I take responsibilty for dominating the less than average basket of bread, but I on the other hand, LOVE cornbread. I did enjoy the country-side ambiance and would go back for a cocktail/brunch on a warm day when the french doors are open! And don't even get me started on salted caramel…

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