It has taken me a few years but I finally made it to Peasant. I believe Peasant opened about four years ago which at that time opening a restaurant in that area was like being a pioneer on Elizabeth Street. Now the neighborhood is filled with shops and restaurants at every store front. It is really quite amazing.
I really like the vibe at Peasant. Serene yet sterile. Poured concrete floor with big steel glass windows, ground level with tiny wooden tables for sitting near the large bar. The room is open and flows into many tables and the kitchen with the wood burning fireplace in the back. New world Italian.
A bit pretentious to have the entire menu written in Italian after all, we are in Nolita not Florence. The waiter comes to your table and translates the entire menu. I basically focused until he mentioned what I wanted or what sounded good.
I began with the cuttlefish that was cooked in white wine and tomatoes in a cast iron pan. The pan comes straight out of the wood burning oven. Nice concept. Small portions. It was a nice combo with the basket of bread and crumbled ricotta which is on each table. Other people had the slightly breaded sardines, vegetable salad and small mozzarella balls wrapped in speck and roasted over radicchio. Simple old world Italian cuisine.
For dinner I went with the whole fish that is served solo, no sides. I ordered some broccoli rabe on the side which came very late to the meal and was so laden in olive oil that I had to eat it with my chin hanging over my plate. The fish was good and simple. Others had quail and roasted pig.
Desserts were huge in size. After not serving large portions for dinner, I was a little taken back by the size of the dessert. Glad we shared. Peach pie and roasted fig bread pudding. The bread pudding was delicious, the peach pie was just okay.
The entire meal was just okay but I really liked the vibe there. I am not running back but if someone made reservations there for dinner and we were coming along, I’d be happy to attend. If I was in the neighborhood, I could definitely see going to the bar and having a drink and an appetizer or two.
At least I satisfied my desire to get there these last four years.