It took about nine years, but I finally made it to West Village fan favorite, Jeffrey’s Grocery. Situated on the corner of Christopher and Waverly Place, this restaurant has major curb appeal. There are large potted plants lining both sides of the facade, breaking up all that New York concrete. One creepy peek through those large windows (which I’ve done many a time) and you’ll see a quintessentially dark and intimate West Village haunt.
I arrived early so I took the time to make a stop in the ladies room (which was like the inside of an old ship – loved the coat hook on an old wooden ladder propped against the window) and grab a cocktail. I got the molotov, which was jalapeno tequila, cucumber, lime, and mint fizzyness. Delish.
For dinner, we all ordered seafood, since that’s pretty much what they do there. The menu is small but good. We started with one oyster each and then I ordered the ceasar salad. It’s hard for me to resist a ceasar and this one was particularly good with only a few small croutons and a dressing made with smoked whitefish instead of anchovies. That was a nice little change-up. It was like a ceasar salad had a secret affair with a bagel and came home with some whitefish lipstick on his collar.
I also had a bit of Richard’s clam chowder, which was prepared Rhode Island style. Did anybody else know Rhode Island had a style when it came to chowder? I didn’t, but I’m happy to have been introduced. The broth is much lighter – more like a velouté – so it felt more like the starter it should be than something so heavy.
For entrées, Richard ordered the salmon while Jenna ordered the bluefish. I had a bite of Richard’s salmon and thought it was very nicely prepared with a nice little crispy top. While they both had lovely little fish dishes, I went in the opposite direction with the scallop roll, which is delightfully messy. A buttery toasted bun held three large scallops, one romaine leaf, pickled cucumbers, and an herby white remoulade sauce. Though the restaurant at first seems like a more serious place with the dark wood and candlelight, the staff seems to have a lot of fun and they play some good 90s throwback music. The fact that it’s not as serious as I had imagined made me feel a little better about the remoulade sauce that dripped down my arm as I devoured my sandwich in an entirely uncouth fashion. Also, will Jeffrey’s please share what’s in the vinaigrette? Usually those side salads are kind of a throw away, but this was better than the norm. Was it maybe white balsamic? I need to know.
We also had a side of spiced fries with salt and vinegar aioli. Not to be overlooked. Just like this restaurant. Why did I overlook it for all these years?! Such and idiot.