Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Restaurant Review: Spring Street Natural

I think Spring Street Natural is probably my favorite restaurant of all time. I stumbled upon the restaurant Christmas season of 2006 while doing my Holiday shopping in the Soho area of New York City. Starving and tired, my friend and I decided it was time to finally eat lunch (I think by then it was 4pm) and as usual had a hard time picking out a restaurant. I generally do not eat meat unless it's locally and ethically raised, and he may as well eat raw steaks all the time, plus he's a very picky eater. After what seemed like an eternity we looked at the menu for Spring Street Natural and both were happy enough to go inside.

The first thing that I really liked about the restaurant was the decor. It's simple and rustic with open glass windows and light colored wood tables and chairs. Yet, it's not dress down plain; it's warm and inviting. At night, when the lights are on low, and tea lights are burning on the table it has the feeling of a cozy cabin. It's casual enough to go with a group of friends in jeans; but because of the nighttime ambiance and jazz trio that plays a few nights a week, I also suggested it as a neutral meeting ground for many first days. Meat eating boys could be happy because there was chicken and steak on the menu (that incidentally I could eat if I wanted because they were free range from farms on Long Island), and I could go for the creative vegetarian parts of the menu too.

Everything I've tried on the menu has been delicious and everyone I have ever introduced to the restaurant has liked it too. And the best part is that the price points for a lot of the items are very reasonable. You can get the Pan Roasted Free Range Chicken for $17, Organic Rice and Seasonal Vegetable Dinner with $12.50, or Pumpkin Ravioli for $18. Some of the red meat or fish dishes go up to $24, but their sandwiches, like the Grilled Grass-Fed Hanger Sandwich is $15. And there are salads and appetizers that are around $10, plus or minus $2-3.

I've tried all the dishes I mentioned, but if I had to name a favorite dish it would be a toss up between the Goat Cheese Ravioli with Pesto sauce and zuchinni and the Grass-Fed Steak with blue cheese and caramelized onions (because of Nick's love of this dish, I have replicated a different version of this meal several times at home and will eventually put up a recipe for it). I loved the ravioli because the cheese was not dry and overcooked, and the pesto was creamy with a rich nutty flavor. It wasn't too salty or too garlicy. All the flavors were perfectly balanced, and it was a great summer meal that you could relax with after a hard day at work. Bring me a Mangorita (my drink of choice at SSN), and I'm in heaven. But I also loved the steak which was a great fall/winter dish, with a side of buttery mashed potatoes. The mixture of savory, sweet, and tangy was also a perfect blend of flavors. As I often say to Nick, I like food that confuses my mouth (ie. hits on different areas of my tongue), and that meal is definitely one that does that. Nick paired that with a glass of red wine and was so happy it was like a scene from When Harry Met Sally. When I ordered it another time we went I stuck with my Mangorita, but the red wine is obviously a better drink choice.

Dessert was no slouch either. With an ever changing dessert menu you never really know what's going to be served (a trio of ice cream, chocolate torte, apple blueberry cake, etc.), but I love the fruit desserts the best. Generally they were warm, served with ice cream, and always delicious.

Menus are seasonal and change every few months with daily specials. However, some items do stay the same or only change slightly. So don't be surprised if you're favorite isn't on there for long, but you can always find a new one! I can't recommend this restaurant enough, I've never been disappointed and I will definitely be stopping by the next time I'm home.

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