Matt and I spent the day in New York last Saturday and decided to stray from our usual picks and splurge on nice meal. Peasant, located in Nolita, has a simple but delicious sounding Italian menu that caught our eye when we walked by in the afternoon.
When we arrived, we noticed that the restaurant is much more spacious than the places we usually go to in the area. The wait staff was not particularly welcoming, though, and seemed almost insincere.
The waiter brought over some delicious, crusy bread, a bowl of ricotta, and a bottle of olive oil to start off with. That kind of could have been a meal in itself.
We started with the Asparagus with Egg appetizer, which was covered with a generous amount of toasty parmesan cheese. Given the amount of cheese, I was surprised that it needed much more salt. I was also hoping for the egg yolk to kind of run all over the roasted asparagus, but it was overcooked. At least the asparagus were nicely cooked.
What really sold me when I first read the menu was the Tagliolini with Sea Urchin, so, not surprisingly, that’s what I ordered as my entrée. I haven’t had sea urchin in anything but sushi before so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I thought it went beautifully with the pasta. The thin egg noodles were simply tossed in olive oil and whole cloves of roasted garlic. The sea urchin kind of melted into the pasta and gave it a nice, but mellow, taste of the sea. My only criticism was that there was an awful lot of oil and nothing to really cut the richness, so I couldn’t really eat a lot of it.
Matt’s entrée was less successful. He got the Gnocchi with Morels and English Peas. The morels were amazing – and how could they not be – but the gnocchi were very gummy and the peas were raw. Matt was less offended by the peas, but we both agreed that the gnocchi were extremely subpar.
We decided to give dessert a shot and ordered the White Chocolate Bread Pudding. It, like the rest of our meal, was just okay. I’m kind of a traditionalist when it comes to bread pudding (and desserts in general) so I didn’t love the crunchy almonds that were inside. It came with a white chocolate gelato and a little bit of caramel, both of which were good.
I’m glad I tried Peasant mostly because of the sea urchin pasta dish. However, there are too many great restaurants in New York to come back and give it another chance.
194 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10012