Fat Pants Friday gave Peels’ berry crumble crisp a thumbs-up, and now that Peels has been serving dinner for a week, we headed over there, dodging giraffe-like models out for Fashion Week, to check out the savories.
Peels looks a little bit Pottery Barn and serves a familiar brand of simple but refined American food — there’s fried chicken, smoked trout spread, steaks, and so on. The restaurant’s opening has been accompanied by inevitable hype, as it’s a project from Freemans‘ Taavo Somer and William Tigertt.
We stopped in for a cocktail — a just-fine combination of rum and velvet falernum, $13, sigh — and an appetizer plate of squid, which set us back $9 for a small portion. But what squid! The tentacles are seared to tenderness and tossed with caramelized onions, charred pimientos de Padrón, and cilantro. One bite is enough to remind you how perfect salting heightens flavor miraculously, how such a small number of simple ingredients can taste like more than the sum of their parts. That little bit of grassy heat from the peppers is the best part.
The city hardly needs another trendy peddler of fried chicken, but if all the dishes at Peels are as well executed and tasty as this, sign us up.
No phone yet
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 13, 2010