Prune is another one of those special places, like Buvette, who’s got their brand essence down to a T; the feeling of elegant comfort is oozing throughout every minor detail of the restaurant. The bright pink awning, the matching pink menus and pink-uniformed wait staff, the tiny wooden tables, the adorable open kitchen exposing big copper pots, the white bowls of citrus, the hand-written menus, and the rustic wainscoting create the perfect aura of an adorable French cafe. No trendy stilettos and 3 hour wait lists here – Prune draws a neighborhood crowd looking for comfort in a sea of Lower East Side Manhattan scenesters. The setting, in addition to the delicious food, is why I entered and left the place smiling.
Prune is a legend. I’ve been reading about it since I moved to New York 4+ years ago, but it takes a lot to get me to venture to the Lower East Side. Fortunately, I was out of work early so I couldn’t pass up the invitation to have dinner there with my boyfriend, a long time fan of the place. I started my meal off with an italian greyhound- my ideal cocktail of vodka, fresh squeezed grapefruit, campari and rosemary served over massive ice cubes in a dainty glass tumbler and the perfect side-kick to the tin of seriously addictive chick-pea flatbread. I arrived pretty hungry, so that in addition to the fairly meat-heavy menu led me to order more heartily than usual. We started with the parmesan omelette and a side of swiss chard with olives, both light and beautifully simple. The omelette, slightly browned, was a savory combo of just a few ingredients: eggs, generous shavings of parmesan and beautiful flakes of salt. With the lightly sautéed greens, it would have been a beautiful meal on its own, but I couldn’t resist trying the filet mignon and homemade pork sausage that the couple was devouring next to us.
I’m not a huge pork fan, but this sausage was awesome, not only because it’s seared to a crisp, but because it wasn’t bursting with oily moisture like some sausages I’ve tried. The flavor is deep and earthy, perfect with the bed of lettuce served beneath it. The compact filet of steak, surrounded by a beautiful fried fan of potatoes, was simple and delicious as well.
Nothing on the dessert menu stuck out to me, but the meal ended with complimentary chunks of dark chocolate (70% as we confirmed) served with the bill. See! Every little detail is well thought out. This is the type of place I want to be and if I were to ever become a restaurateur, would want to open one day. It’s not cheap for the portion sizes, but I’ll definitely be back.
Location: 54 East 1st Street btwn 1st and 2nd Ave