This is one of my favourite recommends on West 4th. During my initial visit I was so impressed by their unique offerings and their thorough service, even during a busy dinner set. So when my guest and I were looking for a solid place for a quick stop and a quick bite, this was my go to. Not to mention, that she herself has had a good experience here and wanted to go.
Like it greets you first thing in the morning on a farm, their rooster logo greets you right when you enter the threshold. Their name and decor speaks to their theme of farm to table fresh cuisine.
Not that we needed to wait for a seat, but if we did we would get a show with it. The kitchen was up front, an open space with an open view for all to see. An unobstructed look at their operation as you pass from hostess booth to dining area. The same view that was also available from the window looking in from the outside. Like their message, their food was honest and had nothing to hide.
The farm theme continued well into the dining room. As told by the red brick barn-like walls, the wood ladder suspended by the door as wall decor, the wood planked cabinet housing homemade preserves, and the simple tools used as points of interest. The light fixture was created from a criss cross between three pitch forks. A saw was balancing on a narrow shelf, with a crank operated egg beater right below it, and miniature shovels and a small hoe underneath that.
I was most impressed by the chalkboard drawing on the back wall. It was a chalk sketch of a prosperous farm scene. Corn stalks and lettuce heads growing in front of a red barn. Light boxes displaying inspiration quotes against rustic photos broke up the scene. On them balanced metal lamps and animal alters. With everything altogether they certainly set a handsome and thorough rustic scene. The only thing that seemed out of place was the framed art in the dining area. I didn’t find the delicate black and white photos of whispy flowers and stalks all that cohesive with their rugged rustling theme. But that is so minor.
We ordered off their punctuated lunch menu, choosing to share appetizers between us. “Chickpea fritters” with pickled red onion, pea shoots, and a curry mayo dressing. These miniature hockey pucks looked over cooked with its blacken breading. Though it was without that acrid burn taste. Instead it was just crispy. Inside the fritter it was nutty and gritty, in a filling way. The tangy pink ginger went well with the mild yellow mustard, the peppery bean shoots, the fragrant cilantro, and the dense fritter. Each brought something to the overall taste. The flavour was conceptually well thought, and aesthetically, it was a handsome dish as well.
Mushroom soup was the daily soup. It was a thick and creamy soup. Similar in taste to the “Campbell’s” tin soup, but better. And that says a lot, because I actually really like the “Campbell” brands of just add water soups from concentrated. With the bold taste of earthy mushrooms, it was like eating mushrooms in liquid form. The bread on the side was a hard, dry, and crusty. And even with a dip in the soup they remained rough and stale-like. So we asked for a side of olive oil for bread. The reply was “of course”. Olive oil on a rustic table is the perfect match. It also helped give some moisture to the undressed watercress salad on the side.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
My only regret is not having the appetite to order more. With fresh made pastas, noodle salads, and a wholesome grilled cheese on the menu. Not to mention desserts: where their take on s’mores included ice cream and their strawberry parfait was grown up with the use of a maple balsamic drizzle. Don’t deny your cravings.