Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stuffed to the gills at Hundred Acres

To cap off a weekend packed full of good food, AV and I wanted a low-key dinner on Saturday night. Once again, I turned to Opentable, and as I was searching around 6PM, I spotted a 6:30 res at Hundred Acres in Soho. HA had been on my radar screen since it opened, not front and center but definitely there. That night, something made me jump at the chance finally to check it out, so I snapped up the reservation, we hopped on the subway, and we were there just in time.

We were seated at a two-top against the window in the front room (they also have a back dining room and a covered greenhouse-type dining area, both of which looked really nice). Especially in contrast to the crowded surroundings of the night before, we noted how much space was in the dining room, both between the tables and just in general. The room itself was bright and inviting, with subtle modern-American-farmhouse decor (especially in the bathrooms). Quite nice overall.

AV ordered a craft beer from HA's short list as we debated which of the many yummy-looking dishes to choose. After we had placed our order, the bread basket came. Once again, following in the tradition of the weekend, this bread was outstanding. The bowl was packed full of half-slices, each capped with a sesame-seed-studded crust. The butter was also exemplary: soft and slightly sweet, which made me suspect they had made a sweetened compound butter of some sort. There was also a small dish of course salt on the table, and the combo of sesame, sweet butter, and salt granules was outstanding.

Sesame bread and compound butter

Just as we were beginning to see the bottom of the empty bread bowl (oops), our entrees came. AV had chosen the burger, described as "pasture-raised beef, Goot Essa cheddar, vidalia onion mayo and fries." This burger platter was a monster. As as it descended upon the table with a thump, we both regarded it with wide eyes. Then AV began the arduous task of decreasing the pile of fries enough to at least reach the burger. He remarked that you know it's a good sign when your plate of fries arrives and you know you won't be able to finish it; though I tried my best to help him out, it's true that there were just too many. The fries were crisp and hot, clearly "not out of the fryer for more than a couple seconds" before landing on our table, in AV's words. And the burger was perfectly cooked and delicious. This was an excellent choice and a huge amount of food-- I honestly don't think the picture quite does it justice.

There is a top bun in there... it's buried

Even though by this point I was pretty much full up on bread and fries (cue the beginnings of a stomachache...), I faced my own dishes. I had selected a bowl of the roasted mushroom soup, which had a touch of black olives and lemon zest. The taste of this was enigmatic-- earthy but bright; you could definitely taste the lemon. It was incredibly hearty, although I did wish it had been a touch hotter. To go with the soup, I had chosen a side order of grilled broccoli rabe, which was absolutely outstanding. Crunchy, charred, and salty, with a touch of oil but still not greasy, it's probably the best broccoli rabe I have ever had. Even if you don't particularly like broccoli rabe, if you find yourself at HA, give it a try-- you won't be sorry (especially at the relatively reasonable price of $6 per side).

Incredible taste packed in a small bowl

Fresh and bright

By the time we had dispatched our entrees, or at least as much of them as we could physically pack in, neither of us could even really think of eating dessert, so we paid the bill and waddled out into the streets of Soho to try to digest a bit. We were both very happy with Hundred Acres: it ably straddles the line between upscale and downscale, comfortable but still high quality. It's a place you could imagine going on a casual weekend night when you're craving fresh, competent comfort food-- in other words, a belly-packing four Offset Spatula destination. Definitely give it a try, but take our word for it: beware the portion size!

Hundred Acres
38 Macdougal Street
212-475-7500

2 comments:

Dani said...

I love mushrooms...the soup looks divine! Excellent job on the blog; I stumbled upon it recently and am hooked. Great writing and vivid photos!

Janine said...

Aw, thanks Dani! Glad to hear you like the blog-- as you can imagine I have lots of fun writing it.

Keep reading!

Janine