Village Prime is located at 302 Bleecker St. in West Greenwich Village. It is a bit pricier than my usual fare. But I decided that every once in a while it wouldn’t hurt to splurge a bit. I came across a review of this restaurant in the dining section of a free paper, EPOCH Weekend, and was immediately taken by the elegant style and mouth-watering depictions of several dishes, most notably the terrine molded Tuna Tartare, and the Creme Brûlée which came in a long slender boat shaped dish no wider that the width of a petite dessert spoon. I immediately ran over to the cubicle of my friend Joanna, who has always been a willing accomplice in my culinary excursions, and I in hers. “I have to have this,” I said, pointing out the picture if the Tuna Tartare. “It’s a new restaurant in the west Village, and we have to go there.”
And so, yesterday, not much more than a week later, we walked into Village Prime and shortly met with Annmarie, another friend of Joanna’s who joined us.
V.P. opened in the space that had previously been Surya, an Indian restaurant which I had never been to. The interior design was very tastefully done in various wood textures, with uniquely crafted light fixtures of wrought iron, brass and golden-hued glass. The chairs were wooden with leather-upholstered burgundy-colored seats.
Whoever had put this together definitely had a a well-tempered aesthetic sensibility. Even the color of the reed mats on the dark wood-stained tables were a perfect fit. We had gotten there about 5:30, and there was a small group of young ladies chatting over drinks at the bar and perhaps one or two other tables dining. It just so happened to be the second month anniversary of Village Prime that night, and so there was a photographer and a reporter engaging the staff for a story on the newly opened venue.
The service was exceptional, our waiters being well-spoken and well-mannered in their matching light yellow/gold-colored jackets with ties. They were very attentive to our needs; at times lining-up to serve us, but this may have been due in part to the fact that it was early and hardly anyone else was dining at the time. We started with cocktails; Joanna and I choosing the Lychee Martini, and Annmarie, the Strawberry Bliss. The Martinis were perfect; not too sweet or over-flavored, with just enough alcohol to give it the right kick.
For the appetizer, I of course, had the Tuna Tartare, which had a green caviar on top, a bed of seaweed on the bottom, and was capped with a proud feathering of yucca chips. The plate was dotted with a yellow mayonnaise based sauce which complemented the dish. It tasted as delicious as it looked. Joanna had a lobster bisque soup, which she absolutely adored and made short work of. I had a taste of it; and while it was good, it did have a sweetness to it that I thought was a bit too much for a Lobster Bisque. Annmarie had the Tomato Basil Burratta appetizer, which I did not taste, but she liked it very much. The appetizers were accompanied by a basket of assorted breads – the best of which, we unanimously decided, were the olive and Rosemary long-rolls. We further ‘wet our whistles’ with a well-presented platter of 24 oysters adorned with various sauces including two miniature bottles if Tabasco sauce stuck in the ice!
For my entree, I chose the Skirt steak (medium well) with a side of steak fries (which were actually wedges). While my steak, which came with a Bearnaise sauce, was quite tasty, it was – to my disappointment – rather chewy. I left more than a third if it on the plate once I’d deemed I had a good enough jaw work-out. But my second Lychee Martini made it a little less hard to swallow.
Both my companions had the Tuna for an entree. And they both ordered it medium-rare. Joanna’s came out perfect, but Annmarie’s was too pink inside. After giving it due consideration, she sent it back to the kitchen and they fired it a bit more. In the end, they were both pleased with the entree. Joanna and I converted our companion over to the Lychee Martini for the second round of drinks. She liked it even better than her first cocktail.
We had originally planed to have dessert with our meal, but after the first three courses, we were already pretty full. So we ended up sharing one Desert between the three of us; the Chocolate Lava cake – a scrumptious warm chocolate cake with chocolate sauce oozing from the center. This was topped with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream and centered in square of chocolate drizzle garnished with raspberries. It was a perfect end to the meal.
Although I was a bit disappointed with my entree, I was impressed with the rest of the meal and the over-all service. I think Village Prime has a lot of potential, and I would definitely give it another try in the future. If you check out this restaurant, I’d love to hear what you think.
By the way, the pictures for this review were taken for the most part by my friend Joanna, who has developed quite the passion for food photography.