03. June 2009 American, SoHo 0

264 Elizabeth Street between Houston and Prince
about $40 for one, with a drink, with tip

The night that Jo’s officially opened, I walked by to check out how the old Tasting Room space had transformed. It was before 8pm and it wasn’t crowded, so I decided to stay and sit at the bar for a Vin de Pays and try out the pappardelle with lamb stew as my Wednesday night meal.

One of the greatest things about New York City is that you can sit at a bar alone and there’s usually a fifty per cent chance that you’ll meet someone who’s not as creepy as the rest of the city’s inhabitants. If you’re lucky you could get a free drink out of it, but if you’re really lucky, you can get invited to the menu tasting by the co-owner’s friends. I was in the really lucky category last week. I ended up joining the group next to me while they passed around dishes that the kitchen was churning out for feedback.

Jo’s labels itself as “American bistro”. I think its an appropriate description because they had a mélange of cuisines available. As I sat down at the marbled bar and looked around the dimly-lit space, I expected tapas with expensive wines. The space looks more handsome than the food offered on the down-to-earth menu. On a chalkboard, burgers and fries; a bowl of skewers joined a plate of Thai-spiced chicken pieces; my pappardelle could have been paired with the arugula salad. The back room feels a little bit more diner-like: the Tasting Room heavy stable door is gone and the wine cellar has been moved next to the bathrooms to make room for another group by the main entrance.

Jo’s, named after one of the owners’ mother, might still be having an identity crisis in terms of food while they hash out the details, but while I was there I could feel the love from the owners’ friends and families who showed up to celebrate the opening. The economy might be bad, but people are still out enjoying their early summer nights with good company. It’s another reason why I love New York City. I wish Jo’s the best.

Related post/s:
I still miss the Tasting Room