199 Prince Street between MacDougal and Sullivan
$150 for three, with four drinks, with tip
I’m pretty sure that when the poet Christina Rossetti wrote Goblin Market, she didn’t imagine a restaurant team to be inspired by it. There was something tempting, almost lustful, about the magical fruits the goblin-men were selling. The weak suffered, but one girl stood her ground and kept the evil fruits at bay. The restaurant itself is less creepy than the poem, but the menu is quite persuasive.
We started with a couple of glasses of Cava while we chatted over the menu. They were out of octopus and the charcuterie, so I picked the mahi-mahi ceviche to satisfy my seafood craving. The apple jalapeÃ±o vinaigrette had the right spike, and although creamier than the ceviche I’m used to, I could have ordered a larger plate of it. The watermelon panzanella didn’t fare so well. The sun-dried tomato emulsion was interesting, but the taste too powerful for at least one of us.
It was before July 4th and I was saving myself for the next day’s barbeque fest, but the only seafood dish available was the salmon. A bed of peas, bibb lettuce and mushrooms in a delicate lemon-flavored sauce sounded delicious, if not risky, because how many times have I ordered salmon and it was overdone? My companion encouraged me to give the restaurant a chance. I was glad I did–the salmon was flaky and moist at the same time. The peas and the greens needed to be there; I couldn’t help but scoop up some of the lemon sauce all over my plate.
For the one who wanted nothing but meat, the Angus steak was perfectly done. There wasn’t a trace of the potato purÃ©e on her plate when the waiter took everything away.
It’s rare when a restaurant in New York City has a lot to say but makes so little noise. Goblin Market was certainly in the news when it first opened, but it took me a while to actually visit and taste for myself. Thanks to tourists lining up for anything Mario Batali–they gave us a two-hour wait at Lupa–we walked over to the more quiet Sullivan Street without so much fanfare. I just wished I went sooner.