The time lag between meal and post this time I admit is really quite shameful, but given the seasonal quirks of the Quarter, this at least leaves you more room for surprise. It was the tail end of Autumn then, with remnant pumpkins still atop the tables—a pop of color and a delicate cue to the menu. The restaurant is fairly subtle, and can be found across from the much touted Red Farm and my local favorite, Swine.
The four-man team that birthed the Quarter had perhaps not a terribly original proposition. French, with a solid kick of Mediterranean, is hardly considered eating on the edge. Sitting down, the décor is elegant, but most certainly only on par with the norm.
Then the tomato soup arrived. A humble dish to motivate a humbling experience. A good moment then to put aside your Zagat nonsense about décor, ambiance, and frills and don the Michelin hat for flavor. Not to say the Quarter is lacking in any of those categories, but with the first sips of smoke, everything else became inconsequential. The stout flavor aromatic in spite of its full-bodied character, heralds in the wonderfully savory tomato. Paired with dainty grilled cheese, the effect is instantaneous—Campbell and Kraft will never be the same. My shame deepens now with the absence of a photo.
The next we had a foie gras fig newton. A simple bite to destroy any preconceived notions of what a fig newton could ever aspire to be. Despite the brutal history of figs and foie, this duo truly gives you the sweet to love even more so the savory. A most visceral experience.
From the sweet and savory to the savory masquerading as a sweet–the beef lollipops followed in stride. A Turkish sausage I may have misremembered as the sujuk sausage, whimsically delivered, is easily a well-spiced crowd pleaser. The progression before it however, had left a watermark falling some lengths above.
For the entree, I will mention the braised beef short rib. With foie gras and golden raisin chutney, this was an absolute knockout. The meat as it was cut simply surrendered to the gentle pressure, and while flavorful on its own, was elevated with the foie gras–subsumed in its entirety.
I finish the post now anchoring my thoughts in the dessert. The Quarter presents a timeless and sometimes tired formula to the West Village eatery, where spins on anything and everything sometimes just result in directionaly challenged menus. However, the simple pumpkin and kaymak (Turkish clotted cream) had no such confusion. The unobtrusive sweetness of both the pumpkin and kaymak, with just a touch more of sugar glaze, was breathtaking in its simplicity, but clearly not bare in thought. While overall, much is undoubtedly complex, there is an inexplicable honesty to the flavors–each present in its humble yet irreplaceable roles. I can only say now that I hope that Winter has brought us much of the delightful same.
What does this rating mean?
From the Notebook: As an upstart restaurant, The Quarter was heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy. If this write-up encourages you to visit The Quarter, please remember to leave the wait staff a nice tip. This meal was complimentary. Though this did not affect our opinions, and we were not obligated to write.
522 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014