Fresh seasonal food, simply prepared, is the irresistible formula at Little Owl, which quickly became one of the toughest tables in town. Now it’s drawing crowds at sister restaurant Market Table. One difference is that the three-month-old newcomer, befitting its name, has a retail market of local foodstuff. Another is its menu, which leans less Mediterranean and more American than the Owl’s.
Folks love the Maryland crab cake, tucked into a burgerlike sandwich with nicely seasoned fries. Braised lamb shank, meltingly tender, is served in rosemary jus with greens and potato gratin. A superb pan-roasted chicken, not unlike Little Owl’s, comes with sweet potato salad and hazelnut vinaigrette. Sides and starters also hit the mark: Hounds recommend bacon-wrapped diver scallops, gnocchi with short ribs and a Parmesan broth, and a deconstructed eggplant parmigiana appetizer (“no layers, just the eggplant parm essence,” djk reports).
Beyond what’s on the plate, many dig the cramped charm and informal setting, where diners rub shoulders and chat with the chefs and owners. Even those who normally keep their distance from this kind of crowded, well-publicized restaurant have surrendered; “while the popularity of this place and little owl is a bit suspect,” writes sam1, “you just cant deny that these guys know what theyre doing.”
Market Table [Greenwich Village]
54 Carmine Street (at Bedford Street), Manhattan