This New Years Eve, rather than our typical outing to Mike and Shaun's with Prosecco, Scrabble, and the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, we all decided to go out. Marcus was awesome enough to find the spectacular deal at recently opened East Village restaurant Back Forty, which for $55, we enjoyed a family style meal and one free cocktail.
We chose the shaved fennel and pumpkin salad and fried Wellfleet oysters to start. Both were excellent. The fried oysters were declared by everyone at the table to be the best any of us had tried. They were crunchy, salty, and very fresh. The fennel and pumpkin, which came with a lemon tumeric vinaigrette, was a refreshing combination of contrasting flavors and textures.
As our mains, we chose the rotisserie suckling pig and the whole grilled Catskill trout. The pig was good, but surprisingly the trout stole the spotlight. I think the preparation of this dish alone restored a passion for fish in at least a few of us at the table.
For sides, we chose parsnips with white anchovy and Aleppo vinaigrette, a dish I was particularly excited about, but was the only slight disappointment in the whole meal. The parsnips were simply not flavorful enough or tender enough for my taste. Little matter though, because the brussel sprouts with dried cherry butter was simply amazing. French fries, nice a hot with rosemary salt rounded out the savory part of the meal.
The amount and quality of the food was really impressive, especially for the price, which was at least twenty dollars less than other spots which didn't even include a drink. We were well sated before dessert came, but of course, could not resist the sweet selections.
I had fresh donuts with apple cider glaze and they were as yummy as expected, but the real prize was the stout float – a complex taste sensation of bitter and sweet. It was a highlight in a very special meal and worth a trip to Back Forty for alone.
They seemed in general to excel in beverages. Aside from the Stout Float, other offerings from their small but well thought out drink menu included a cask ale beer, creamy and delicious, The Loisiada Sling, a sweet cachaca, ginger and chipotle concoction, and the cocktail favorite of the night, the Back Forty, a wining combination of Ezra Brooks whiskey, maple (though none of us were sure what this meant exactly) and lemon. A real winner, that one.
It was a grand place to finish out the new year. Bustling, but not too loud, with Willie Nelson and The Violent Femmes playing in the back ground. The service was excellent and the setting was refined and a bit rugged chic. The term back forty, refers to “the acres a farmer sets aside from his regular crop, for planting whatever he fancies” according to the New Yorker and it seems Chef Peter Hoffman fancies good, hearty food, spectacular cocktails, and an easy atmosphere.