Monday, July 20, 2009

Stuffed once more at Hundred Acres

This past Saturday, AV and I met for a dinner double date with his roommate PP and his lovely lady, CJ, at Hundred Acres in Soho. AV and I had been once before for a stomach-busting burger extravaganza, and he's been consistently requesting a revisit ever since. Sigh. Alll riiiiiiiiiiiight. So we trudged through the thousand-degree heat on Saturday for a lovely dinner by the open windows in the rustic-chic dining room at Hundred Acres.

To start, we ordered drinks from our heavily tatted-up waiter. While CJ ordered a badass dirty martini, PP went with the shockingly pink "Pomegranate Splash." Trumping both of them was AC with his "Cherry Crush," pictured below, a drink that was the color of lipstick and fairly oozed estrogen. He tried to pawn it off on me, but it was actually too sweet for my taste, one of the few drinks I've ever said that about. The flavor was one-note sweet-- I felt it could use a dash of bitters or something like that.

The color of teen girlhood

On to the food. A wooden basket of bread arrived, followed almost immediately by our appetizer. The bread was sliced sesame-seed bread-- definitely good but nothing I would crave. The weird part about the bread course is that the butter served alongside is infused with honey. Now, don't get me wrong, that's definitely cool, and I applaud Hundred Acres for attempting to differentiate its bread course. But if you ask for my personal preference (you did ask, right?), I think of the bread course as something salty and savory. I want salted butter. Covered with salt. So the honey butter doesn't quite do it for me. Maybe it does it for you, though. Maybe...

Sesame carbs

Just as we were ripping into the bread, a runner arrived with the appetizer we'd ordered for the table. It was described on the menu as "Grilled Flatbread: mashed fava beans, charred eggplant puree & cucumber salad." I think we were all expecting some sort of grilled flatbread pizza, so we were all a bit surprised when a plate sporting a trio of spreads landed on the table. With, I guess, grilled flatbread points. Got it. So we each did a bit of dunking and sampling; the cucumber salad was quite good, and the eggplant was very garlicky and reminiscent of baba ghanouj. The fava bean puree was not memorable. Especially noteworthy were the bizarre garnishes-- whole radishes and enormous unwieldy greens, anyone?

Yes, I suppose it is grilled flatbread

On to the entree course. The reason we had returned to Hundred Acres was the cheeseburger, which both AV and PP ordered this time around. It's an enormous honkin' plate of food, with a huge burger smothered in melted cheese and all the normal associated greenery. Next to the burger is a mess of french fries, skin-on, golden-brown and piping hot. The fries are excellent, and both AV and PP really enjoyed the burger.

Obscured by mountain of fries

CJ ordered the Block Island swordfish, accompanied by stewed cauliflower, golden raisins, preserved lemon and fresh herbs. She really liked the fish, and I was impressed by the intricacy of the accompaniments; it seemed like a dish with a lot of thought behind it.

Creative fish

My own selection was the chopped salad, with tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, boston lettuce, and oregano. It usually comes with feta cheese but I requested a substitution of goat cheese, to which our server readily assented (sometimes restaurants are weird about goat cheese substitutions, so I was glad about that). I also requested dressing on the side, because I was being a huge pain in the ass, and I guess karma came back to bite me because the salad was well lubricated with a pretty bland, oily dressing when it arrived. (Note: I didn't send it back, because I was only going to be SO much of a pain in the ass.) While the goat cheese looked like a scoop of whipped butter, it was actually quite good and went well with the fresh veggies. Overall, an okay salad, nothing I'd return for but nothing bad either.

Like pancakes at Denny's, topped with a scoop of whipped butter

We were all pretty stuffed after the entree extravaganza, so we declined dessert and headed out into the night. This being my second visit to Hundred Acres, I'm still a bit puzzled... I never seem to enjoy it as much as my companions. Maybe it's a place that excels at preparing meat and fish, which wouldn't do me much good; maybe I never order correctly when I'm there. Whatever the issue, one thing is for certain: no matter what you do, you will leave Hundred Acres absolutely stuffed. I haven't decided whether that's good or bad. Whereas last time I awarded the restaurant four Offset Spatulas, I think this time I have to go with my gut, which says three OSes, along with "Ow, I'm stuffed." I'd go back, but Hundred Acres will never be at the top of my list.

Hundred Acres
38 Macdougal Street
212-475-7500

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