Last weekend, I enjoyed a very satisfying dinner with friends at The Independent, an Irish-ish bar/restaurant in Union Square (next to the old Elephant Walk location).
The star appetizer was "Arancini," an egg-shaped and -sized ball of battered and fried buffalo mozzarella atop "pepperonata and proscuitto," with a drizzle of basil sauce. 'Twas easily shared and thoroughly enjoyed. The French Onion soup was also well-received; several 'hounds have raved about this before. The quantity of goat cheese in that app can best be described as "enormous" (served with beets and onions).
All were pleased by their main courses. The glazed confit of pork shoulder was moist, fork-tender and tasty; wonderful when combined with the cabbage and chorizo on the plate. I can overlook the underdone chickpeas, though a correction would bring the dish up another level.
Lemon roast chicken was as juicy as one could hope, with a crispy crust, and the pancetta-braised brussels sprouts can make you forget the boiled, buttery mush of your childhood. I'm not sure, but I almost wish the scallion potato pancake weren't served under the chicken and sprouts, like it deserved a more starring role somehow.
My other companions were pleased with their lamb chops (executed properly to medium rare with Israeli cous cous) and venison.
Creme brulee was too warm inside; finished in an oven under a broiler, I assume, or just not chilled enough to start with. But texture and taste were passable. The "Independent Cookie Plate" was undistinguished except for a mini espresso float (I think that's what it was).
Service was Celtic-friendly and reasonably attentive. Music started about 1/2 hour late at 10:30 pm, but it was pleasantly folksy, with no cover (whether you're eating there or not).
They just opened a $25 winter prix fixe menu, though you can get the items a la carte as well (the pork shoulder, for example, is on that menu).
They do take reservations.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable meal; I'll be back.
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