NO. 7


7 Greene Avenue
Brooklyn, NY11238
(718) 522-6370

Myna and I make it a point to eat in neighborhoods other than our own. We like exploring, wandering neighborhoods, eating in places that look interesting, looking into the un-draped windows of people's apartments at twilight and judging their decor... The last time we took our stomachs to Brooklyn, it was to a rather, day I say it, shitty Ethiopian restaurant in Cobble Hill. Mediocre, greasy slop that they actually had the nerve to charge us money for. I apologized and assured her that it would not be a repeated mistake. 

No. 7 made it onto my list of potentially interesting joints to hit up in large part because it wasn't in Williamsburg and I am, frankly, bored to death of always winding up in Williamsburg when I find myself south of Queens. But I like brownstones and trees and craft beer and feel at home (kindasorta) amongst New York's yupster crowd. The restaurant seemed to fit the mood I was in: smallish, fun, boozy, interesting menu, not too expensive, energetic.

I walked into the dimly lit No. 7 this particular Friday night to find it pretty crowded. I had some time to kill, what with Myna running late at work, so I decided to order a beer. I genuinely think I'm invisible to bartenders, and yet again, I found myself being completely ignored for more than a few minutes while everyone who wasn't me was served. Eventually, I was given a beer and found my way to free spot on the wall where I could lean and nurse and kill time on my phone. Myna's timing was impeccable. No sooner did she arrive than the hostess told us that our table was free.

The starter, which we shared, was the Charred Octopus, lightly seared octopus with pumpkin seeds and a black sesame tahini sauce. While the dish was fine, it was not better than fine. Ideally, eating octopus should be like biting into something softer than very tender chicken but stiffer than very firm tofu and there should be that degree of char that lets you know that it was on fire for just a split second without being burned. Sadly, the meat was too tough and dry and there wasn't enough of that very welcome charring.

For her entree, Myna had the Pork Chop, roasted in vadouvan spices and served with a cauliflower mash and green beans. It was extremely good. Myna felt that it was one of the best pork chops that she could remember and I don't think she was wrong. I would have personally liked there to have been more vegetables, but the meat itself was thick and rich (if meat can be rich) and extremely moist. It's rare to find a pork chop that isn't overcooked and akin to chewing on a pencil eraser, so this one should be cherished. I regret to say, however, that the same cannot be said of my entree, the Grilled Paillard of Beef, grilled and served under a crust of crunchy cheddar breadcrumbs, with a caramelized sunchoke sauce, and with a small watercress side salad. I liked the cheddar crust, but the watercress salad was tasteless and sad. It was basically there for color. The meat itself was far, far too salty and far far too tough. Myna actually enjoyed the saltiness, but in my opinion, it went overboard. We both agreed that the cut of beef used, however, was much too sinewy and, in a word, cheap. If I got this beef at one of those street fairs that close off Third Avenue every summer weekend, I wouldn't have thought twice. Here though, I thought twice.

For dessert we ordered the Angel Food Cake, served with ruby red grapefruit slices and a humongous dollop of black pepper whipped cream. It was either that or the creme brulee with a persimmon compote, and Myna is quite parsimonious about persimmon. The black pepper whipped cream, while interesting, wasn't really working. The angel food cake wasn't very sweet on its own, and where the cream might have otherwise remedied that, the pepper wound up taking over. The citrus slices might have been added to make the dish balance out, but instead, everything ended up vying for power like cold war powers on your tongue. 'Tis a shame. If the whipped cream wasn't peppery, I'd have liked it more and, in the end, the cake went unfinished.

One appetizer, two entrees, one dessert, two drinks, and two coffees, plus tax and tip totaled about $110.

In the end, we had a good time. No. 7's cocktail menu isn't bad (especially if you like herbal infusions and bitters) and my drink, the Boulevardier, was quite good. The food was somewhat hit and miss, but there's a fun energy to the place. Still, while I might find myself coming here pretty often if I lived nearby, I don't live nearby and No. 7 doesn't differentiate very much itself from countless other restaurants in the city that are just like it. Would I go back? Maybe if someone asked me to go with them, but I wouldn't go an hour out of my way. There are still so many other interesting restaurants I have yet to try out in all of the other neighborhoods with residents who leave their blinds open at twilight.

No. 7 on Urbanspoon

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