Jeffrey’s Grocery, new in the West Village
If the eatery gods insist upon setting fire to your hugely popular restaurant, forcing you to close for weeks (or–yikes!–even longer), it definitely helps to have just opened up a new place right across the street. And so is the case with Gabe Stulman, and his damaged (but not too severely) Joseph Leonard, and his lovely, spanking-new Jeffrey’s Grocery, Luncheonette and Oyster Bar. The Jeffrey’s concept is more than a little inviting: a tiny but impeccably curated grocery store–meats, dry goods, baked goods, produce–in the front; a tiny but inviting luncheonette-slash-oyster bar in the back, open all day and well into the night. We stopped by a couple of times last weekend and left totally satisfied, both by the lively, convivial atmosphere and simple, excellently-prepared food.
The Jeffrey’s Grocery menu is short but sweet: cheese and charcuterie, raw bar selections, a soup or two, a few salads, a few sandwiches, plus some entree-type specials imported from the Joe Leo. We roamed the Jeffrey’s menu, and were rewarded with winner after winner. Take the New England Clam Chowder, for example, thick and creamy, crowded with goodies like chewy bacon, fat briny clams, and crunchy roots and tubers, an instant contender for best chowder in town. Also remarkably good was the Roast Chicken Salad, everything–the bitter greens, the juicy breast, the tart apple chunks, the terrific cheddar, the inspired touch of pickled butternut squash–fresh and bright and allowed to taste as it should. We love food like this: confident, well sourced, and prepared with love.
Two specials at Jeffrey’s Grocery were also first rate: a Salmon Tartare, soft and salty and made extra special by the dollop-and-a-three-quarters of caviar; and an excellent Warm Spinach Salad, lightly, lemonly dressed and topped with some delightfully funky Sopressata and crumbly, sharp slices of some sort of parmesan-family cheese. Surprisingly, our least favorite dish–though it was still pretty good–was the Braised Brisket Sandwich, the tender meat a bit overwhelmed by the beet and horseradish slaw. But all in all, we are totally sold on Jeffrey’s Grocery, down to the perfect apple and one-dollar (!) cup of Stumptown coffee we grabbed on our way out… not to mention the to-go cup of sweet Coconut Rice Pudding. The staffers are all friendly and total pros; the room pretty and inviting, the vibe jolly and warm. Expect crowds.
Jeffrey’s Grocery, Luncheonette and Oyster Bar details
Jeffrey’s NYC is located on the corner of Waverly Place and Christopher Street, and is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks, from 8:00 until 12:00 midnight. For more info and a look at the Jeffrey’s Grocery menu, please see their in-progress website, here.