Back Forty West, Soho
There are slim pickings in Soho when it comes to finding a seasonal, local and responsibly sourced menu. Back Forty West bridges this gap, with a remarkably fresh and varied array of options with an eye for farm-to-table cooking.
The original concept behind its sister restaurant, Back Forty in the East Village, was a chef-driven organic and sustainably sourced burger joint. Back Forty West however goes further in its exploration of a seasonal yet global menu, offering more than just the humble burger.
We dined on an eerily quiet and wet Saturday night (Memorial Day long weekend will do that). The street level space had a few patrons, slipping casually on cocktails and quietly chattering away. Despite the lack of diners below, we were seated in the more expansive upstairs area, amongst a few other customers dotted around in closely positioned tables for two and four.
The menu is divided into starters, share plates, entrees and sides, allowing the option of either individual meals, or a mixed selection of things to share. Seasonal favourites feature throughout - watercress salad with apple and radish and asparagus with parmesan and lemon are to name but a few.
A starter of English pea hummus was delightfully fresh - zingy and creamy both at the same time, with a decent serve of warm, earthy flatbread. Fava bean falafel with shaved spring vegetables, yoghurt and cilantro was a little hard and possibly overcooked, or else had the feeling it had been sitting around for a some time, waiting to be served. Not even the kick from the spices could dull the rocky texture of this dish.
Montauk squid a la Plancha was tender, and paired well with the dewiness of the fingerling potatoes and the crunch from the celery salad. To round out the meal, the carrot and dandelion green salad offered a perfectly light finish. Black tahini, feta and crispy cous cous added both saltiness and texture to an otherwise simple dish.
Meals were simply prepared and, perhaps with the exception of the falafel, were right on point with flavours and portions. While the atmosphere could have been a little livelier, Back Forty West was a lovely spot to enjoy good quality food from a menu that has clearly had some thought behind it.
Serves weekend brunch, lunch and dinner.
Best for: Lunch or dinner
Must try: English pea hummus; carrot and dandelion green salad
Back Forty West
70 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012