54 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-2100

If there's one downside to being a single guy whose friends are less so, it's that it's been a while since I'd gone out someplace trendy. Or hip. Or cool. It's a good thing I know Speeds. She dislikes cooking at home enough to be ready and willing to dine out. We debated where to meet up - it had been months since we'd last hung out - and decided on Market Table in the West Village. I've always liked the West Village, college kids, tourists, and tacky sex toy stores notwithstanding. Go far enough from Sixth Avenue and it can be quite quaint and bucolic. Closer to Sixth Avenue is Market Table, brought to you from the guys behind Little Owl.

The interior is textbook American Bistro. Tea lights, big windows, exposed brick, small menu, doe-eyed waitresses, bookshelves filled with wine, an open kitchen. I was seated in the front dining room, essentially the room next to the one pictured below. Given the weather and my table's proximity to the front door, I was worried about having a burst of arctic fury hit me periodically over the course of the meal. But this never happened, so feel free to sit here without fear. We ate here on a Sunday and the restaurant, while busy, never filled up or got obnoxiously loud. Speeds, who's been here, oh, ten time so far, says that it's louder and busier on other days.

Market Table has a not-small wine list, though I stuck with something from their beer menu. Speeds ordered a glass of wine and, wanting something light, we decided to split an appetizer. The Baby Beets & Goat Cheese Salad. When I was a kid, beets represented the most unholy of foods. I grew up loathing it and it was not until last year, when female forces beyond my control began ordering it with some regularity, that I started having it prepared in ways that didn't make me retch. So, take it from me, a guy who really never cared for beets, that this beet salad is incredible. Made with pistachios and herbs and a tart horseradish cream dressing it was simply great.

For her main course, Speeds ordered another appetizer, the Cavtelli Pork Sugo, a light pasta in an even lighter pork sauce with porcini mushroom and basil, and a dollop of ricotta. It might have been an appetizer, but it given its size, one could understand how it could be mistaken for an entree. The dish was pleasant if unmemorable. It's the kind of thing I might order if I wasn't very hungry to begin with and just wanted something to munch on while I was having a conversation and a glass of wine. Coincidentally, that's exactly what Speeds was doing, so I suppose that it fit the bill nicely. My choice was the two and a half inch thick Berkwood Farms Double Cut Pork Chop with orzo in a tangy red wine reduction, pickled onions (I think it was pickled onion), and escarole. While the pork chop itself was cooked well albeit a hair on the dry side, my complaint really has to do with the sauce. The sauce was so strong that it was all I could taste and the orzo was soaked in it. A mere drizzle would have been sufficient. We also ordered a side of Kale, made with garlic and lemon juice. It was, uh… kale. Y'know? 

For dessert, I ordered a coffee and we split a Berry Peach Cobbler with a scoop of ginger ice cream on top. It looked quite pretty, but again, overpowering flavors trumped. On the instances where I found myself eating a virginally clean bit of cobbler, I enjoyed it. The ice cream was so heavily gingerfied that even a small bit drowned out the taste of everything else. 

Two appetizers, an entrée, a side, four drinks, a dessert, and a coffee, plus tax and tip totaled $166.

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