Little Space, Big Flavor

I have written about The Little Owl multiple times on this blog and over at Serious Eats. I can’t help it. It’s one of this restaurants I have a major crush on. Ok I said it. The intimate space, the prime address, the abundant sunlight, the friendly wait-staff, the perfectly executed and sessional menu items, I’m genuinely unsure which aforementioned reason trumps the list. It doesn’t hurt that Chris and I sat inches away from Lady Meryl Streep a few anniversaries back. My raspberry nutella beignettes tasted even sweeter beside her.

Last weekend my mother and I visited The Little Owl for a little pre-theater supper. We arrived at 5:30 p.m. and took our seat at a cute little corner table. The setting sunlight poured in blanketing the entire floor in a bright haze. It was absolutely enchanting….until the food came. Then we both forgot the beauty of our setting and dug right in.

Mom ordered the spring halibut (which, as we found out, differs from the winter halibut). The fish is serve over a bed of fresh pea, corn, and red onion salad and topped with a generous helping of pesto vinaigrette. The fish itself is given a bit of time in the broiler producing a glistening end product. The pesto solidifies to a desirable agree, adding in a contrast in textures between the tender fish and the crispy exterior. Fresh, flavorful, and rich in taste but light on the stomach, this was a simply stunning dish. My mother, god bless her Southern soul, actually sopped up the leftover sauce with some of that rustic house bread. Order the dish and you won’t blame her.

I chose the arctic char on a whim, mostly because I had never had char before and was feeling adventurous. The served educated me on the flavor profile of this swimming friend. She said it was akin to salmon, thus I was sold. The char was served atop a bed of cabbage and potatoes and topped with a mustard-based sauce. It reminded me of a traditional German meal. It was heavy, hearty, and pleasantly pungent. I especially enjoyed the crispy fish skin and the sliver of skinny fried potatoes underneath the char.

For dessert we shared a cheese sampling plate and a rhubarb crumble. Savory and sweet is always a winner–why not enjoy the best of both worlds, right? The crumble, served warm, was brown sugar and butter heavy. The sweetness of these ingredients paired exquisitely with the tangy nature of the baked rhubarb. Topped with house made vanilla gelato, this dessert was a perfect union of various flavors, down to the last bite.

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