Northern Spy Food Company, East Village NYC

I had been reading  good things about the newly opened Northern Spy Food Co. for a while now so I thought it would be the perfect place to meet a friend for lunch. Especially because they pride themselves on using local and seasonal ingredients as well as creating “artisanal foods” and using “sustainably produced meat and fish”. As you may have guessed, I’m all for that and really commend restaurants for making it their food philosophy. My only issue with restaurants that go that route is they can sometimes head towards making bland food. This was the case of Northern Spy Food Co.

To start, we both tried the home made cranberry seltzer. It was OK to say the least — the glass was mostly ice and the actual beverage was not very tart as a cranberry should be. It definitely lacked all qualities that would have made it worth the $3 I paid for it.

Next up, our order. Both my friend, Nick and I were eyeing the Country Ham Sandwich with Rupert cheese, pickled onion, whole grain mustard; it sounded simple and delicious. When Nick asked to have it without mustard, he was told that wasn’t possible. C’mon people, mustard is a condiment. Can you honestly tell me that there wasn’t a piece of bread in the place without mustard already on it?

Instead of the sandwich, Nick opted for the farro risotto with squash. It was OK— a few chinks of squash here, some bland colors there, not enough seasonings. I did, however, stick with the sandwich which was pretty good. The ham and bread were very flavorful, unlike the cheese. All would have been better had it not been so sad looking on the plate — the sandwich was alone slumped over itself with a few extra pickled onions thrown on the side and topped off with a pickle. Now normally, I love a pickle, it can turn a dull sandwich plate right around. This pickle, however was by far the worst pickle I have ever tasted. It literally smelled and tasted of an ashtray. It was unbelievably strange and terrible. Almost indescribable.

Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed with the place at all. I know the rents in the East Village aren’t as high as some parts of the city, so really — $3 for a watered down home made soda? I don’t think so. I am all for supporting locally grown and sustainable food, in fact that is all I cook with at home. So when I go out, I expect greatness with such fresh ingredients. And as my mother always said — there are thousands of restaurants in NYC, if one is even close to mediocre, why go back? There’s another place right around the corner…

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