Halibut with fresh English peas
Nestled on the corner of Bedford and Grove, The Little Owl is a great addition to the West Village of NYC, a neighborhood not known for its cuisine. I must clarify, the FAR West Village is not known for its cuisine. Specifically, this little neighborhood, where I lived for 10 years, had very few restaurants that I would return to, besides The Grange Hall, which closed several years ago (and has recently re-opened yet again but I haven’t been yet), Taverna and Moustache, which is a great place for hummus, falafel, etc.
Back to Little Owl…it bills itself as serving Mediterranean cuisine, but don’t count on seeing a red sauce menu at this joint (the are kind of known for their meatballs, though). In fact, the only thing Mediterranean about my meal was the bottle of Barbera I ordered-everything else was quite conventional and local. I am not saying I was in the least bit disappointed. In fact, the best thing about the Little Owl’s food was how fresh it was! I had seared scallops and calamari over a parsnip puree with grapes (see below), a golden beet and bibb lettuce salad with sunflower seeds, and my husband had halibut served with fresh, English peas and corn(see above).
We had to sneak in an order of spicy fries, the only fried and heavy thing on the table. We were both suitably impressed with our dishes and savored the healthy quality of the simple food on our plates.
We loved our waiter-the entire places was very friendly and low-key. Surprisingly, we walked in and got a table with no reservation, but it was early and the place is tiny so I do not recommend trying this. They do have a phone line for last minute table searches and I did call first, so we knew we would be okay when we arrived.
It’s located in a great area, right off Hudson street, so you could stroll afterwards and enjoy a little corner of Manhattan that feels like a small town. The building that The Little Owl occupies was the building facade used in that old TV show, “Friends,” but I had completely forgotten that fact and couldn’t figure out why people kept pausing outside the restaurant, backing up, and then snapping pictures of the building. Someone reminded me and then it all clicked. While “Friends” might be so 10 years ago, The Little Owl is here and now and a great place to try for an intimate dinner.