Mark Shepard, our fellow blogger and diner, starts off the meal with a crisp welcome statement, doubtfully read off his phone.
“Hottest bar tenders in New York City”
For those of you who have continued past that, I have continued writing. Humor me, as I walk through the mundane details of the food.
Even before then, let me paint the backdrop of where we find ourselves. Rustic tables, old movie posters, taxidermy deer head, and almost surreal hanging vegetation (more charming still as the drinks pour on). On that note, I ought to discuss the cocktails, which many of you will study to conversate properly with the staff. The cocktail menu itself is tentative, but certainly a solid teaser. The Ginge, with peach vodka and homemade ginger syrup, is a knock out. If this is a true representation of what we might find for drinks, the reason to arrive at De Santos might be found on the bar and not behind it.
We had a sampling of the appetizers, which first was entrapped in the New York expectation that there must be tuna tartare. Definitely on par, but missing the pop of a dish that is wanting to be a classic but written off today as a somewhat has-been starter. Next was another troubling sign–an unexplained truffle inclination. While the truffle mac and cheese was decent and enjoyable, the truffle cream on the gnocchi completely inundated the delicate, defenseless beef carpaccio. A crime indeed, to have so fine a gnocchi dance with so absent a partner.
The entrees were also somewhat lacking in character. The steak was generally unmemorable, the lamb was nicely cooked but expected, the scallops were oddly prepared, on a bed of wild rice that did nothing to supplement the rich, naturally subtle, seductive flavor that was possible but not attained. We closed our meal with a bananas foster, which was a nice follow-up to our protein line-up.
I think De Santos suffers from the exceedingly high expectations of any New York diner. The meal left little truly to scrutiny, but with its location and alcohol selection, it begs a menu executed to the same level. For now, I would call it an excellent place for drinks–with a menu that needs to push itself to meet the challenge of being in the West Village.
What does this rating mean?
The meal was complimentary, though it did not affect my opinion, nor were we required to write. Food photos courtesy of Bradley Hawks. Restaurant photos courtesy of De Santos.