Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tree in the East Village

Last night I saddled the boyfriend Clark with the apparently cumbersome task of choosing a restaurant. "You pick," translated into manspeak as "Let's go randomly walk around in the muggy heat, becoming increasingly hungry, sweaty and frustrated as we look at menus in windows and wonder why the place is utterly deserted" instead of "Go read menupages and see what looks good in your area." Luckily, Clark has an excellent sense of humor and doesn't mind when I needle him on this blog. Right, Clark? ;-)

Obviously, you can't toss your Chuck Taylor in the East Village without hitting a restaurant, but half of them suck and aspire only to please the palates, apparently, of first-year NYU students. Luckily, I remembered there was a place I wanted to try in the East Village, after reading a NYMag review. It's called Tree, and it's on 1st Avenue between 11th and 12th.

I highly recommend Tree if you're in the area and want a nice garden, some good wine, a good place to talk by candlelight, and solid French food. We had a fantastic bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that had a nice crisp bite to it, along with some escargot to start. The escargot could have used a bit more salt but otherwise were firm and fleshy. Clark had the scallops, but I definitely "won" with my main dish of a seared duck breast (perfectly cooked, and just fatty enough) with pomegranate reduction and a side of sweet parsnip puree.

What's really great about it is the enormous backyard -- easily 10 times the size of the restaurant itself and full of trees and sparkly white lights. Our server was definitely accomodating and I think it would make an incredible date restaurant, (or rather, it did make an incredible date restuarant).

So should you ever walk by, your stomach growling and your desire that someone had looked at menupages growing, and notice that there's no one sitting in Tree, don't be scared off -- they're all out back feasting


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