Friday, December 28, 2012

De Santos – Charming West Village Eats

Besides eating in Astoria of course, I love visiting and trying new restaurants in the city and its many charming neighborhoods. The West Village, an area that I really adore is fantastic for adventurous eats, and I recently had the opportunity to eat at a restaurant there called De Santos.

Never taking for granted the lovely atmosphere that the West Village naturally brings, with its gorgeous architecture and residential neighborhood charm, I was happy to see that De Santos embodied all of that. Housed in a pretty brownstone on 10th street, you immediately get a feeling that rich history was made here. And indeed this is the case, as I found out the building actually served as a previous home for famed musicians, artists and actors - Janis Joplin, Jean Michel Basquiat and others for example.

The dining room is a cozy place with quintessential exposed brick walls, a fireplace and dim candle light. It feels as if you’re sitting in someone’s private home, which is so lovely. This sentiment is shared with others I presume, as the space was always occupied and I saw people lingering and taking their time with their meals and conversations. There’s also an outdoor space, which is very charming, and is now covered to keep out the cold. That’s actually where we sat, as our host wanted to give us the full experience. I liked it very much and am excited to go back in the summer, when I can really enjoy some sunshine.

Boasting a menu of continental cuisine, the majority of it very comforting, there was plenty to choose from, and we took the sharing route for the apps and desserts, but ordered individual entrees.

– Ordering a couple of things, including the beef carpaccio, the truffled mac ‘n cheese, and the pulled duck tacos, it was all very tasty. I had a strong preference for the mac ‘n cheese, which was stupendous, and breaded perfectly with really crunchy, delicious panko breadcrumbs. It was a fabulous way to start a meal – or it would’ve been nice too to share with a main dish.

The carpaccio was sliced delicately, as it should and was even accompanied by a helping of creamy gnocchi that were the perfect little size. It gave a hint of indulgence to this otherwise simple dish, and the whole combination worked well to create something uncomplicated yet elegant.

Entrees – Everyone went for something different for their entrees, which was nice to see, and I personally was attracted to the seared sea scallops. I adore scallops, and look forward to the big fleshy ones I can order at fine restaurants. The plate I got here was lovely, as you can see, with a beautifully seared scallop crust and some crispy parsnips on top that added a hint of earthiness. A bed of creamy truffled risotto sealed the deal on this already luxurious dish, and you can really taste the pungent truffle flavor coming through with each heaping forkful.

Desserts – Simple and delicious, we received two varieties of dessert, including a classic molten chocolate cake as well as thin Paris-style crepes with salty caramel sauce. Both were delightful, but I preferred the crepe and its simplicity – the dough was perfectly paper-thin, and the caramel sauce in the middle really made it sing. A generous scoop of good quality almond ice cream was a yummy way to refresh the palate after each indulgent bite.

Service and Cost:

I found the service a bit interesting, as our servers used iPads to place our orders and to show us pictures of the day’s specials. Not sure if I’ve ever seen that done before, it was unique, although I’m not sure necessary. In my opinion, it didn’t really go with the rustic vibe of the restaurant, but to each his own, I guess. Otherwise, the service was quite nice and everything went over smoothly. 

Costs are moderate and actually well priced for this expensive neighborhood at:

Appetizers - $12-$16
Entrees - $18-$29
Sides - $6

3 Mmmms

De Santos – 139 West 10th Street, New York NY 10014
1 Train to Christopher Street

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