Friday, December 10, 2010

Greek bites, full bellies at Snack

Last weekend, BD was in town, and we decided to meet for dinner before his friend's improv show. A reasonably priced meal in the Village at someplace I'd never been before? That was a challenge. After some diligent opentabling, I landed on Snack Taverna, a small Greek joint about which I'd heard good things. We were set.

I arrived a few minutes early, taking solice from the chill in the warm and inviting dining room. After seating the group in front of me, the host greeted me. I gave my name and he checked my reservation. Then, the awkwardness: "We have your reservation," he told me. "But we tend not to seat incomplete parties..." Trailing off, he seemed a little uncomfortable. And I could see why: I glanced to my left, toward the small, six-seat bar area, whose six seats were all full. I glanced around the rest of the tiny restaurant and its many empty tables. "Well," I replied, "Given that there's nowhere else to sit or stand except for at a table, is there any chance you'd be able to seat me? Otherwise I will literally just be standing here." And that was true-- I was standing in the narrow doorway to the restaurant, and if I weren't shown to the table, I would quite literally just be standing right there until BD arrived. "Yes, of course," the host then gushed, "Yes, we can seat you." Great. All righty. Ready to roll. Now wherefore all that awkwardness, eh?

He showed me to a tiny, tiny table tucked next to the partition at the end of the bar. The table itself was miniscule, and it was shoved in next to the neighboring party of two, who were so close that I brushed both their persons and their table merely trying to slip into the seat. Once seated, I knew damned well I wasn't getting up for a quite a while.

Fortunately, BD arrived only a minute or two later, and we commenced ordering. Our server was friendly, funny, and personable, a true highlight of the meal. And though were ordered relatively quickly, it took quite a while for the food to arrive (a problem our neighbors also experienced)-- it seemed the kitchen was a bit overwhelmed by the half-full dining room.

Once the food did arrive, however, it was all worth it. BD chose the skordalia crusted Atlantic cod, served with cranberry bean "fassolada," squash, red peppers, and baby arugula. While the top half of the garlicky blanket seemed, honestly, burnt (see the picture--surprising that they'd allow that to come out of the kitchen), BD raved about the flavors and textures of the dish and the fact that it was a good portion without being an overwhelming amount of food.


My pick, the special salad of the day, was also a hit. It was a plate of roasted vegetables served with melitzanosalata (garlicky eggplant puree) and a big ol' slab of feta. After smelling the aromatics around me, I expected the vegetables to be warm, but they weren't; even chilled, the sharp flavors popped. The melitzanosalata was especially good, although not a good option for daters (its potent bite lingered on my breath for hours). The feta was salty and creamy, everything good feta should be. And there was a good mixture of veggies, from roasted tomatoes to beets to zucchini, squash, mushrooms, eggplant, and scallions. This was filling and a satisfying value for $12.

Smorgasbord of vegetable matter

Snack is an interesting little beast. The service isn't exactly silky smooth; awkward and lengthy at times, it can also be warm and enthusiastic (if you get the right server, that is). The food, while certainly not cheap, is quite tasty. And the dining room is a nice place to be, if you don't mind a certain amount of intimacy with your neighbors. While it wouldn't necessarily be my first choice for a return visit in the Village, or even necessarily the first Greek restaurant to which I'd return in the city, I certainly wouldn't mind going back for some more tasty Greek bites. As such, Snack receives a respectable three Offset Spatulas.

Snack Taverna
63 Bedford Street

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