Some restaurants demand a lot of attention when they open.
Others don't make a fuss, but when you get around to trying them, they make you do a double take.
Wallflower, which opened quietly three months ago on a cobblestone artery of the West Village, is the second type. The jewel box space reveals itself slowly: a teensy marble bar up front, the cozy, warmly lit 28-seat dining room beckoning beyond.
But what's coming from that diminutive bar--and its adjoining, equally tiny open kitchen--is impressive. Xavier Herit, a former head bartender at Daniel, mixes nuanced drinks like the Adam & Eve ($14), a Calvados and sherry concoction, carbonated and served in a bottle.
Herit's drinks set the tone for gorgeous French-y bites from Maison Premiere alum Jared Stafford-Hill: a game-bird terrine ($16) with crunchy pickled crosnes; paper-thin slices of scallop ceviche ($19) flanked by briny sea urchin.
We fell for truffle-stuffed chicken ($26) swimming in a meaty garbure broth with Brussels sprout leaves and parsnips. Also the foie gras sandwich ($15). Because how could you not? Especially when the foie is topped with quince mostarda and a little frisée for crunch, then served on a doughy roll.
Despite the luxurious ingredients--and design touches like the gold-washed ceiling and Deco light fixtures--the restaurant doesn't feel uptight. It's too modest for that.
Instead, Wallflower is a sweet little surprise of a place that we'd happily stumble into for a civilized drink, a few sophisticated bites and an all-around lovely evening.
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