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I initailly had no idea that Spring Street Natural used only organic ingredients in their food; although, the name “natural” should’ve been a big hint.  I’ve walked by this place many times during my weekly trips to Soho, but I’ve never eaten here.  I usually just go across the street for some of Eileen’s Cheesecake instead.  =X  I am glad I got to try this out though.  My overall impression of this place is torn between “semi- impressed” and “disappointed.”  Their dishes are very inconsistent.  Some dishes really had me try to tackle others for bites, but others I wasn’t happy with the chefsmanship (haha witty, eh?) of.  The space itself was small and cramped, and in being cramped, they manage to serve a lot more people.  When you get in, directly to your left is a full bar, which I was surprised existed because of the area and large amounts of people.  I bet it is hard to get around the bar area.  To the right of the bar is the main dining area, the tables were really squished together so it was hard for us to maneuver. 

spring street natural  spring st natural
outside // inside

Here’s the bread basket!  I wasn’t a fan of the bread basket.  I’m more partial to the oats and not the wheats, which seemed to comprise most of this basket.

bread basket

I wanted two different appetizers so I got Arthur and Jen to share them with me.  Umm, can you say .. fatty?  I wanted the spinach salad and the grilled squid.  The salad was very simple, it came with spinach greens (duh), grapes, dried mango, feta cheese, onions, and the real key to this salad, which was the vinaigrette.  I’m not sure what kind of vinaigrette it was though and that makes me really sad.  It was sweet but not too sweet and the flavor was new to my palate.  I can’t remember what dressing it was, but undoubtedly it is one of the best dressing I’ve ever had.  Arthur and Jen agree.  The grilled calamari was nothing special, in fact, the ends of the tendons were burnt.  I didn’t appreciate how they only gave us a few measily tendons and left out the other pieces.  The white beans/salsa-ish medley didn’t really go with the squid, and it was bland on its own.  The regular fried calamari was much better.  

salad grilled squid

Caled and Jon ordered the crispy calamari, which came with two dipping sauces.  The first seems like a thousand island type sauce and the other was a spicy vinaigrette.  The calamari was lightly battered and fried on the outside and  gave way to a soft non chewy middle.  The calamari was bland alone and I did miss the marinara sauce because I wasn’t too pleased with the flavors of their dipping sauces, but the spicy one was better in my opinion.  It helped give the calamari a needed kick.

calamari

The reason I wanted to come to Spring Street Natural is because organic means seasonal seasonal and fresh.  I like how their menu caters to the different seasons since certain seasons yield certain specialty items, like fall and pumpkin respectively.  I saw that they are featuring a pumpkin ravioli dish and I was sold.  I didn’t even bother to look at the rest of the menu to see if it would satisfy the palates of my friends.  The pumpkin ravioli came with smoked duck, zucchini, and toasted hazelnuts in brown butter.  Doesn’t that sound good or is it just me?  I mean, the hazelnuts are an odd touch but I like hazelnut, so I figure why not?  Unfortunately for me, I was really disappointed with my entree.  The ravioli did not taste like pumpkin- it wasted like straight up almond paste.  I love almond flavoring but I don’t know what it was doing here, especially since nowhere in the description did the word “almond” appear.  I’m positive it wasn’t hazelnut- it was almond.  The hazelnut was just sprinkled around the top; the almond taste was inside the ravioli.  It was soo strong and sweet that it ruined the ravioli for me.  The only thing that saved the ravioli was the duck.  The savory taste of the duck helped to balance out some of the almond.  If the ravioli stuffing recipe for this dish is remade, this dish can possibly be saved.  Right now though, it’s going on my no-no list.

pumpkin ravioli

Arthur got the  pan seared duck breast “drizzled with pomegranate molasses, pinenuts and figs; served with scalloped sweet potatoes and apples and sauteed Tuscan kale.”  There was a good portion of duck for his dish so I stole a couple of pieces to eat with my ravioli.  The duck tasted like typical duck; there was nothing special about the duck itself.  It was cooked to a good degree so it wasn’t rubbery and it’s natural juices were still in tact somewhat.  This was one of those sweet and savory dishes.  The duck and the kale are savory, but everything else is sweet.  I didn’t get to try the flavors together so I don’t know how they taste.  Hopefully, they balance out.  Arthur’s one of those people who likes to eat in layers rather than combining the layers, so I don’t think he’d be much help either.  Looks like you’ll have to try this one out and assess for yourself.

duck


We all agreed the best entree out of all of us (there are a few others that I didn’t show because I didn’t taste them), is the roasted atlantic salmon with “fresh garden salsa, basil mashed potatoes and grilled zucchini.”  The zucchini was over grilled even though the one in the picture looks like it bears perfect grill marks; the other side shows something completely different.  The salmon and the mashed potatoes were so good though.  I have no remarks on the salsa but the basil mashed potatoes were creamy and light and not overly basily.  It’s the only basil mashed potatoes I’ve ever had in New York, but I’ve had it in Vegas before and found it too thick and basily.  This was seriously whipped to perfection.  After trying the previous dishes, I was surprised how good the salmon tasted alone.  It was so tender and the sauce fromt he salsa just seeps into the pores of the fish!  As a testament to how good this dish was, everyone was ignoring their own dish and digging their forks into this plate.  Then… Caled started to threaten all of us that he’d stab us with his knife if we continued… so we had to distract him while stealing.  =X

salmon

After fooding, we went bowling in Jersey, which I haven’t done in years!  I kicked ass the first round, but then Daniel warmed up and kicked my ass the second round.  Moreover, we were bowling sober… kinda.  We went to Gatsby’s a block away from Spring Street Natural for a few drinks before heading into Jersey.  I guess it wasn’t a total liquor-less night.  Then again, it never usually is with the boys.

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Some of us got together to go with Jess to Essex to start off our birthday celebration.  I’ve been to Essex for brunch before and loved it, but I went this weekend and was fairly disappointed.  The pancakes were still as good as ever but they just didn’t do the eggs well.  The kitchen staff should’ve paid more attention to our eggs.  Eggs, to me,  are practically the most essential part to brunch-  next to mimosas and bellinis that is.  I’ve always been drawn to this place due to it’s high ceilings and the skylight that allows ample daylight to stream through.  Also, brunch for $15 with 3 brunchtails [brunch cocktails] in no way, shape, or form, a bad deal. 

I ordered the eggs benedict with gravlax– I know, I’m becoming way too obsessed with this whole gravlax thing and I will stop.  My eggs came on an English Muffin topped with hollandaise sauce with a side of spinach greens and home fries.  My biggest problem is with the eggs!  Apparently all our eggs were overcooked.  The poached eggs, Jenn’s sunny side and my benedict- none of the yolks ran.  =(  I guess it makes my dish easier to eat and distribute bites around the table, but I was expecting some runny eggs.  The gravlax just tasted like regular salmon to me, I didn’t taste any dill or anything else for that matter.  I read that Essex cures their own gravlax, so maybe they should do it for longer or look into their method.  *shrugs.  The homefries were soft and flavorful- I’m not sure what they put in it unfortunately but they’ve got a good recipe for homefries.  I stuck my greens onto my eggs benedict and ate them with the salmon.  Hollondaise sauce didn’t disappoint either, but there was nothing special about it.

eggs benedict w/ gravlax eggs benedict half

The pancakes at Essex were amazing, but I’m almost positive I wrote about that last time.  Phil got it today and he was absolutely in love with it.  He couldn’t finish them so he offered it to the table, where everyone was all over his pancakes… like gravy on mashed potatoes. 

Jess got the aristocratpotato pancake topped with house-cured salmon gravlax, poached eggs, and salmon caviar.  Do you see how her eggs are overdone too?  =/  The redeeming part of this dish is the potato pancake, or hash-brown I guess you can call it.  It was light and crunchy on the outside and soft and warm with distinguishable strips of potatoes on the inside.  Mmmm.  It also wasn’t too oily [but meh, some people like the greasiness].

eggs and potato pancake

Meh, I will give Essex the benefit of the doubt this time because they haven’t failed me before.  I will be very mad if they do it again though. 

What do you have after a brunch and brunchtails?  Cupcakes!!!  Before I met up with my brunch buddies, I went across the street to get some cupcakes for us from triple s aka Sugar Sweet Sunshine.  I got a variety of flavors, but I only ate one- my fave- the sexy red velvet.  It was light, airy, and flavorful as usual.  There were only three left in the batch and I swiped them all.  I saw them working on frosting and sprinkling sprinkles on top of some more in the back of the store though.  The frosting was creamy and not hard like a shell of candy frosting.  It also isn’t as sweet as ones from Magnolia’s. 

sss cupcakes

That night, I met up with Sherman for some shopping and we had a small dinner at Serafina in Noho because we were going to eat while singing karaoke later on.  Serafina is diagonal from Tower Records, which sadly, is soon to be out of business.  This is one of those extremely dim restaurants on the inside, where you almost have to read by candlelight.  Actually, at some tables, I bet you really do have to read by candlelight.  There’s an open grill where you can see the brick oven for the pizza, and that is where I’m assuming they make the bread for the bread basket. 

serafina

The bread sticks they provided were really good.  I’m a fan of butter with my bread, but they provided olive oil like a good Italian restaurant.  The bread was good enough to eat alone so I didn’t complain.  This bread, I swear, comes from the same dough as their pizza crust.  It certainly smells like it.  I remember when I was in Junior High School.. back in the day when Pizza Hut was still good and it was still alive and kicking on 21st & 2nd.  Their crust was the best I’d ever tasted.  I went to a Pizza Hut about two years ago, and it was..  in a word, gross.  The pizza was cold and the crust was not warm and had a different texture from what I once remembered it to be.  I think greased the pans with butter or some other lub to make the pizzas come out easily, and that was the key to their yummy crust.  I wonder if I had the same exact pizza today– would I have the same appreciation?  Maybe, maybe not.  But either way, this is what Serafina’s bread reminds me of.  Sherman, my friend who has been ‘cutting down’ the carbs, ate a whole stick and then some by herself. 

bread

  pumpkin They even decorated each table with a tiny pumpkin for the upcoming holidays.

We shared an appetizer and a entree and it filled the both of us up.  I don’t remember their entrees being this big, but *shrugs- always a good thing.  We ordered the il sashimi di tonno, which is finely sliced sushi grade tuna with avocado and their special dipping sauce.  The red strips on the side are ginger pieces- I thought they were peppers until I tasted one.  This dish definitely had an asian flare to it; the tuna was sprinkled with scallions and sesame and poppy seeds and the special sauce turned out to be none other than soy sauce.  Underneath the dipping sauce was a bunch of cilantro leaves.  The tuna was good wrapped around pieces of avacado and cilantro with the minimal amount of soy sauce.  There was definitely too many sesame and poppy seeds, so I had to scrape some of them off.  The juice of the tomatoes were also good with the tuna- too bad there weren’t more of them.

tuna

I wanted carbonara, but decided that the cream would be too heavy and I’d be too full afterwards so we decided on the i tagliolini di cortina; homemade with chicken mushrooms, peas, & touch of cream.  They split the dish into two portions for us and I thought that my plate was the whole dish.  I was all, “umm.. we only ordered one of these” and felt really happy and stupid when they said, “we split it for you.”  The cream for the pasta wasn’t heavy and the chicken was tender.  I don’t think they were paying attention to how much chicken they were putting in my portion because there was.. a lot.  I couldn’t finish all the chicken.  I always have to eat a bite with chicken, pasta, pees, and mushrooms so in the end, there was a lot of chicken left.  There was definitely chicken overload on my plate.  I didn’t want to eat it alone and I was full, so I just left it alone. 

 pasta pasta
my pasta before and after massive cheesing

 

Yes, I’m well aware of what a fatty day I had…  

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I really wanted to entitle this post “where’s mah bread?!” but then it’d just throw those off who try to google five points.  By now, you must know my first peeve about Five Points in Noho- they’re lacking bread!! So they don’t so much lack bread, as much as they lack the bringing of the bread to me.  It was such a tease.  They sat me right next to the bread [closer than when I was in Balthazar], and I got no bread.  If this is Five Points’ way to show it’s love to me, there’s definitely no love.  Look at all the bread!  After a while of not having a bread basket, we thought that this may be one of those places that don’t serve bread- you’d have to actually pay for it.  There was a muffin basket on the menu.  Then, I saw people cutting it up and giving it to tables, but some tables didn’t get them.  Whyyy??  I don’t feel like I should go into a restaurant and ask for bread.  It should be automatic, no?  It makes me so sad.  I love bread!

five points bread

Alright, bread rant stops here. 

 I was suppose to be sunning it up in West Palm then Miami this weekend, but due to some unforseen circumstances, we are post-poning our trip.  Eva and Tony invited me to brunch with them that Sunday since Eva knew I really wanted to brunch here.  I’ve heard so many wonderful things about their brunch!  The restaurant was under scaffoldings for the longest time- I’m glad that the time I come, it’s gone.  This was actually the first time I’ve met Tony, and he was still drunk from hours ago, soo I bet eating with me was quite an experience for him.  He was so shocked to see the amount of food I could consume, and I don’t think his drunkenness allowed him to process this fact too well. 

five points outside

Aside from the outdoor seating, the inside is split into three sections.  When you first walk in, the bar is on your left, but they’ve also set up a few tables for two on the right.  You get to the hostess and behind her is the main dining room.  There’s a log with a tiny waterfall along the middle [with all the greens] separating left and right.  This area is more romantic and all with their dim lighting.  If you go further back, you will get to  my section, which is right in front of the semi-open kitchen.  Our table was directly under a sky light too, so we had a lot of daylight pouring in- I like lit restaurants during the daylight hours.

five points inside    five points wood
main dining area // i can’t explain the wood- i don’t remember seeing a fireplace ….??

Usually, brunch for me means  eggs something or other, ie.  eggs benedict, eggs florentine, etc- but today, I really wanted mac and cheese.  Like, a lot.  I also couldn’t bring myself to go away from the eggs tradition, so what do I do?  I convince Eva to split her eggs benedict with me!  My baked mac & cheese came with Vermont white cheddar and sprinkled with bread crumbs, and bound with organic eggs from Pennsylvania [eh, this part doesn’t make too much of a difference for me but I guess it’s suppose to “justify” the $12 price tag, eh?].  My mac came with a side of greens, which were not chopped, so it was fairly difficult to eat.  I, of course, was too lazy to actually be civilized and cut them into smaller pieces, so I searched for the small pieces, and when I finished those- I just shoved the bigger pieces into my mouth in single bites.  I think people looking would be fairly disgusted, but….  I have no shame.  I’m sure Eva and Tony were quite entertained.  Eva got the smoked salmon eggs benedict, which much to my happiness, didn’t come on an english muffin, but on brioche toast.  The toast wasn’t too hard, so it was easy to eat divided with the eggs and salmon.  I can cut some things up into bite sized portions!  I’m glad they didn’t have gravlax- I don’t know if I could’ve taken any more of that- regular salmon is good for me.  Her dish also came with a baby pear [yea, don’t ask] and home fries on the side.   I was pleased with the home fries, they were all spiced up with stuff- it kinda had a bacon-y taste to it.  And hollandaise sauce- how can you go wrong with hollandaise sauce?   

 mac n cheese mac n cheese 2 eggs benedic eggs benedict 2

I had to try the baby pear.  I had a baby apple a few months ago because my aunt tricked me into it.  I have pictures somewhere and will dig them out.  She convinced me they were going to be good.  She told me she had one earlier and that she was going to share the other one with her daughter.  I knew she had to be lying.  A tiny apple could not possibly be sweet; it had to be sour as hell.  My curiosity got the best of me.  It was the sourest thing I’ve ever eaten.  Bah!  I was really skeptical to try this pear.  I tried a tiny piece of a tiny slice… and…. it wasn’t bad.  It was a bland pear- it was juicy but not sweet at all.  We could’ve done without this on our plate; I would’ve taken the bread any day. 

pear

Aside from all this, I had some more food.  Yes, I know.  I’m a fatty.  I wanted to try their biscuit.  I miss the Clinton Street Baking Co’s biscuits, so I wanted to see if these would work as a replacement.  The answer?  not really.  I mean, it’s not a bad biscuit and I do appreciate the apricot jam, but it doesn’t beat the Clinton’s biscuit.  Also, no one wanted to help me with my biscuit, so I had to eat it all by myself.  I refused to waste $3 on a biscuit and not finish it.

biscuit

My five points about Five Points:
1. Boo for no bread
2. Boo for the raise in prices [biscuit used to be $2, now they’re $3]
3. Yay for skylight
4. Yay for yummy food
5. Yay for atmosphere

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