REVIEW #93

the little owl

Unassuming, on a quiet corner of the West Village, with a menu of just 8 entrees, The Little Owl packs a wallop completely disproportionate to its diminutive size. The casual neighborhood restaurant is intimate and welcoming, but it serves bold-flavored and ambitious cuisine the equal of many of its more gilded peers.

The restaurant was opened in 2006 by Joey Campanaro who was formerly the executive chef at The Harrison and whose grandmother Rosie provided the recipe for the famous gravy meatball sliders. They are a heavenly blend of beef, veal and pork with pecorino and garlic rolls, and The Little Owl now serves over 1000 of them every week. The other signature dish – a porkchop with parmesean butter beans and wild dandelion – is juicy, smoky, imposingly thick and excellently seasoned. Throughout the menu, the cooking is straightforward and void of pretension, with consistent reliance on garlic, tomato and pecorino. The restaurant also serves an excellent filet mignon and delicious sides such as mushrooms that are smothered in truffle toasted breadcrumbs.

The restaurant’s striking interior includes two walls of arrestingly oversized paned windows that flood the space with natural light during the day and peer out onto a tranquil, leafy and quintessentially West Village corner, barnyard-style wooden walls and a ceiling made from antique stamped tin and painted gold. A commitment to hospitality is at the core of the restaurant’s warm, genial service and inviting interior and it is due in large part to the restaurant’s neighborhood charm that The Little Owl has now become such a sought-after destination restaurant.

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INFORMATION

West Village
90 Bedford St.
New York (at Grove St.)
(212) 741-4695
Mon-Fri, noon-2:30pm and 5pm-11pm; Sat, 10:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-11pm; Sun, 10:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-10pm
    Joey Campanaro, Chef