Northern Spy Food Co., a farm-to-table neighborhood spot located in the East Village, has been around since 2009, so it’s only sad that it’s taken me this long to check it out. I had heard the food was great for some time, but I had never grasped just how thoughtful and good. Seriously, they’re serving up high quality food and presentation at an incredibly reasonable price. The restaurant’s design apparently incorporates a lot of reclaimed and repurposed material – so the thoughtfulness you find in the food, you also find in the design. Really I can’t say enough good about this spot; again I only wish I had started coming here earlier.
Kale Salad: This kale salad is covered in cheddar, butternut squash, almonds, and pecorino with a light dressing. I feel like the go-to kale salad on menus is a kale Caesar salad (which is good), but it was refreshing to find something different done right. Overall, Northern Spy does a great job of balancing textures and flavors, and this salad epitomizes that trait. It’s salty and sweet, all the ingredients are fresh and delicious, and there’s even that nice textural crunch from the almonds.
Pork Sticky Rolls: This is essentially a sticky bun filled with pork, covered in what you’d never know was a parsnip glaze. It’s sweet, it’s salty and it’s stuffed with pulled pork. I think that’s what we call a winner.
Elysian Fields Lamb: This was a conceptually thoughtful and beautiful dish that also tasted incredible. The lamb was cooked nicely with so much flavor atop barley like I’ve never had it. It reminded me a lot of black beans in this context, and provided the dish great flavor and texture. Then there was lamb wrapped in collards, the way one would utilize grape leaves, atop a yogurt sauce that packed a lot of fresh flavor. This added a second preparation of lamb that was unique and delicious. I also devoured the cauliflower that garnished the plate. This was a plate of serious perfection, at a price under $30.
Chicken: The chicken is really moist and flavorful and comes with a beautiful display of black trumpets, turnip, sweet potato and buckwheat. Chicken isn’t always the most interesting, but this was a lovely version. It’s definitely one of the better chicken dishes, if that’s you’re go-to.
Duck Fat Fries: I wasn’t that impressed with these. The potato was dried out and didn’t have that much flavor, and the malted spiced yogurt dipping sauce didn’t add much. It was too thin of a dipping sauce for fries, especially thick-cut wedges. Skip!
Sweet Potato: FREAKING A-MAZING. That’s how I felt after eating this dessert. It’s sweet potato ice cream atop a ginger snap base with a layer of caramel or toffee in there. It’s then topped with pumpkin seeds and three marshmallow “pillows,” which both add different textural elements to the dessert. I’d definitely say it’s one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. Rich, creamy, crunchy, salty and sweet – it covers everything I’d hope to find in a dessert.
Northern Spy Food: 511 E 12th St, New York, NY ($$)