Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One if by Land, Two if by Sea

Kevin and I recently had our first experience of NY Restaurant Week when we went to One if by Land, Two if by Sea. It is located on a quiet street in the West Village at 17 Barrow St and has been open for 35 years. The name of the place is a quote from the Longfellow poem “Paul Revere's Ride” which described a signal used in the Revolutionary War. The building is the former carriage house of Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States under Thomas Jefferson. Burr is most often remembered for mortally wounding Alexander Hamilton, his long-time political rival, in a duel.

For those of us on a budget, twice a year Restaurant Week provides a unique opportunity to experience a lavish restaurant in New York City for a fraction of the regular price. Throughout the city, restaurants offer a three-course lunch for $25 and dinner for $35. This year, dozens of prominent restaurants are extending the menus of the winter version until the end of February. Although at the rate things are going, Restaurant Week could become Restaurant Year.

With rose centerpieces, candle-lit dining and piano playing, OIBL is known for being the perfect place for popping the question. Kevin and I found the atmosphere to be exceedingly prim and pedantic. Voted “The Most Romantic Restaurant in NYC”, it has the most beautiful interior but this didn’t make up for the lackluster quality of the food.

My first course was the Saffron Orzo, a dish of duck confit, peas, and pea shoot salad, while Kevin had the Butternut Squash Soup made with fennel foam and huckleberry. The duck was too salty and the soup was too sweet. My main course was roasted pork leg which came with broccoli rabe and cranberry-apple chutney and for Kevin a grilled Bavette steak with a side of sweet potato gratin and pearl onions. Both dishes were served cold and the meat was extremely tough and overcooked. Our dessert, which I was hoping would be the decent part of the meal, was a Milk Chocolate Fondant with maple ice cream, salted caramel, and almonds and a Cappuccino Crème Brulee with mascarpone foam and almond cardamom biscotti. Sad to say this is the first time ever I have not finished a dessert because the taste was so poor. Overall the plates were unimpressive and the atmosphere was stuffy. The only aspects of this restaurant that I did enjoy had to be the decor and the history.


MHG said...

Come on Jennie, you give a thumbs up to Olive Garden and then trash this joint? Perhaps restaurant week plates aren't up to usual standards!

Jennifer Brown said...

What can I say - I'm an Olive Garden type of girl! I do wonder what the difference would have been if we had ordered the only other option - a $78 prix fixe but because of the meal we did have I will not try to return for another.