Look closely for the entrance to this gastropub – of course, the ivy crawling up the walls outside and faux English countryside façade with baskets of heather might be a giveaway. Walking inside you feel as though you have escaped New York, fallen down the rabbit hole and ended up in an English country cottage. There is a desk as you enter, with an extremely tall hostess, who also models in her spare time. Oh, did I mention the models? All the woman working here are extremely tall beautiful models, apparently moonlighting from their day jobs having their pictures taken in glamorous locales. It seems to be a theme.
There is a wooden staircase leading upstairs, to a separate dining area and bar. There is also a balcony (more reminiscent of Romeo & Juliet, weren’t they Italian?) for smokers needing a quick fix and not wanting to travel downstairs. Of course, Rocco the owner is half Italian, half South African, so you know immediately that you are in for an eclectic, gastronomic roller coaster ride. He’s more than happy to stop by and converse about the origins of the restaurant, himself or the entire history of pubs printed on the ceiling. With decorations by his wife, the authenticity is apparent. Bookshelves lined with collections of fine literary works, candelabra, and portraits of Victoria & Albert to guide you to the appropriate loo. There is also a white, upright piano if the mood for a little music while you’re waiting for dinner strikes you.
And when done soaking in the atmosphere, turn your attention to the food. Start off with the scallops, browned on the outside and dotted with dollops of caviar. Lightly browned, the caviar adds just the right salty touch. Or the ricotta gnocchi in a light sauce. Pine nuts add an earthy flavor. The celery root salad is an interesting accompaniment which adds a welcome mild flavor to the dish. Then on to the main course, the traditional lamb with vegetables was my favorite. The vegetables were cooked to crisp perfection, as was the medium rare lamb shank. There are dishes to suit every palette, including duck, fish and vegetarian. And the desserts were practically perfect in every way (kinda like Mary Poppins). Banana profiteroles, crème brulee and chocolate lava cake, oh my! The trifecta of gastronomic delights was a fitting ending to the delightful meal.
Come for the experience. A little Britain in the heart of Greenwich Village, but with a hip downtown New York vibe all its own. Watch the beautiful people and soak in the scene while dining in a unique atmosphere.
Rabbit in The Moon
47 W 8th (between 5th and 6th)
New York, New York 10012