Chicken bores me.
I’ve always found it to be the least exciting item on the menu. Why order chicken and mashed potatoes when you can cut into a tender piece of seared duck in a port cherry sauce? I’ll always pass up chicken and rice for a piece of salmon so soft and flaky, I only need my fork to slice through it.
But at Houseman, this was different. I tasted chicken so well-prepared, so well-seasoned and so incredibly juicy that I was thankful my aunt insisted we order it.
Before I get to the chicken, though, let me tell you how we got there.
We began with cantaloupe, speck, almonds and soft cheese. Speck is similar to prosciutto because they are both cured hams. However, speck is smoked while prosciutto is not. The smokey meat flavor was brightened up by the freshness of the cantaloupe. But the almonds and soft cheese took it a step further by adding nutty and creamy elements. We sprinkled a little salt on top to help bring out these four elements even more, and it was divine. This dish was my favorite of the evening until our waiter brought out the chicken.
Ciecerchie beans, charred broccoli, lemon, chili, garlic and sesame seeds was ordered next to follow up the cantaloupe. This dish was puréed so it had a similar consistency to hummus. Although it was heavier than we anticipated, I really enjoyed it. The broccoli gave it a slightly bitter taste and added some nice texture to an otherwise mushy dish.
Squash, pumpkin seeds, herbs, Chevrotin, sultanas and chili were next on the agenda. I assumed this dish would be warm because it’s squash, but I was surprised to find it was cold. It makes sense why it was cold, though – saltanas are grapes. However, the cheese was melted so it was an interesting juxtaposition to eat a cold dish with melted cheese. Although it was tasty, it wasn’t my favorite.
And finally, we received the chicken. This chicken was roasted and came with rye berries, parsley, red onions and garlic toast. It was moist, tender and perfectly seasoned. Our waiter informed us all the chefs do to the chicken is season it with salt according to its weight. I couldn’t believe how flavorful it was, though.
What I enjoyed most was the simplicity of the dishes. There wasn’t anything too complicated or extravagant about them, but they were rich with flavor. Simple, satisfying and savory.
Address: 508 Greenwich Street, NYC
Phone number: 212-641-0654
Price: Expensive. Appetizers are about $10-$20. Entrees are $20-30.
Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 AM-2:30 PM
Dinner Sun-Thur 6 PM-10 PM; Fri-Sat 6 PM-11 PM
Service: Great – waiter was trained, friendly and helpful. My aunt spilled some of her beverage and I’ve never seen a server rush to the table to help so quickly.
Atmosphere: Modern, simple and American.