I went to see something at The Screening Room (Varick and Canal) and we decided to stay for a bite afterwards. I have been wary of this place, the menu seemed 'too' eclectic, the decor 'too' nice, just something pre-packaged about the feel of the place.
1st the cocktails, while beautifuly presented disappointed my Cosmo-drinking friends. I had a cold so I didn't take a sip but it looked a bit pale and they said it tasted weird. I had the Lolita: Absolut Citron, Curacao and fresh Lemonade, served on the rocks in a high-ball glass--excellent! Really fresh lemonade with a halved lemon floating in it, well-balanced liquors.
Then the YUMMY bread basked arrived: rosemary mini-muffin, corn sticks, fluffy rolls and a long twisted roll that was the only one I didn't sample. They were all great though the roll was a bit too fluffy, a la school cafeteria (is the the Parker House Roll that is supposedly making a comeback??).
I ordered the 1/2 portion ($9) of spinach and ricotta ravioli with wild mushrooms and truffle oil in a parmesan broth. I was ready for a lame broth or an absence of tuffle oil but was VERY pleasently surprised: 2 large fresh (home-made) raviolis arrived, filled with fresh ricotta and fresh chopped spinach, laying in a 1/2 inch or more of a brown very aromatic paramesan/truffle oil reduction, tossed over this were many expertly cooked mushrooms (don't know the kind but wild and delicious) and truffles and delicate tangles of fresh spinach, topped off by a 2 inch sq. shaving of Reggiano paramesan. Absolutly delicious and a perfect size to satisfy at 10:15 p.m. (I had had a protein shake at 4:30--Fresh Samantha Vanilla Almond Soy since I knew I wouldn't have dinner) One friend had the only other pasta dish they serve: spirals with roasted tomatos and other veggies in the best garlic/olive oil and ??? ... a steal at $9 the portion was huge (comes in a full size portion for $17). One bite and I was in heaven. I would definitly go back and have a salad and that.
My other friend had the Fruitwood smoked salmon with salmon bacon and apple panacakes... (I think they were apple.) This was a littly skimpy and I didn't try it. There was a stack of 3 or 4 tiny (1 1/2 " diam.?) pancakes with a 2" x 1" slab of salmon bacon (salmon that had been cured like bacon our waiter said) perched on top, next to it were two largish pieces of the smoked salmon that had been smoked with pearwood, apple wood and a third fruit wood, and drizzled with a white mayo-like sauce. Some greens rounded out the plate.
All in all I would definitly go back... It's just a hop skip and jump from SoHo, it was quiet, very low music playing if any, and the staff were realxed and helpful. The chairs and banquettes were very comfy and it wasn't crowded (This was late on a Tuesday). I regret having ignored this place for so long.