Supper

by Susan on January 6, 2008

[Food:3/5]

Supper’s simple and homey moniker aptly depicts what you can expect at this East Village eatery: straightforward Italian fare and incredibly reasonable prices.  

The open kitchen fills most of the anterior room while exposed brick and wooden tables, some of which are communal, provide the décor in the larger, back room. Despite these convivial surroundings and delectable dishes, on a busy night you’ll be hard pressed to feel relaxed. Supper doesn’t accept reservations and waiting for a table over drinks in the adjacent bar was a calm and pleasant experience. However, once seated in the restaurant we felt rushed. We would tell one impatient waiter we weren’t yet ready to order only to have another one approach us moments later with poised pen and pad. These same servers were visibly annoyed when we postponed ordering dessert, even though we had only occupied the table for just over an hour. The food came out at lightning speed, with entrees appearing before appetizers had even been finished. At times the music was so loud I thought it might also be a tactic to shoo lingering diners from their seats.

The menu layout, or rather, the lack thereof, favors disarray over simplicity. The permanent, laminated menu was a haphazard construction. One side featured the regular list of dishes; the other side listed specials by day of the week. To further muddle things, there was also a separate handout with additional daily specials. Entrees and appetizers end up uncategorized and listed in multiple places.

Straightforward dishes are often difficult to execute flawlessly, and Supper deserves credit for excelling at many simple preparations. A generous starter portion of Borrata mozzarella was so soft and creamy it was as if the gooey pile had been melted. Pillows of spongy and light Gnocchi All Aglio D’orata were some of the better potato dumplings I’ve had in long time. The Shaved Mushroom, Celery, and Pecorino salad consisted of all raw ingredients. Unfortunately, the result was bitter and unharmonious.

When my friend, one of the most adventurous eaters I know, ordered the Spaghetti al Limone I was floored at his seemingly dull choice. It turned out he knew exactly what he was doing. Though the al dente strings of pasta were only dressed in lemon and parmigano reggiano, the dish’s tang and acid were bold and flavorful.

The Veal Scallopine alla Milanese, whose execution is often faulty, was similarly wonderful. The veal was pounded paper thin; the breading a perfect balance of crumb and herb.

After the successful implementation of two classics, we expected the Pappardelle with Peas, Asparagus and Tomatoes to follow suit. It was instead, bland and in serious need of some zip.

Beef Amarone, two short ribs served with polenta and roasted fennel, was the most complex dish we ordered, and the most disappointing. The beef was tough and fatty, as though the braising process had been drastically shortened. The polenta gratin, a square of seasoned cornmeal and cheese, was overcooked to such a level of crispiness that it was difficult to cut.

The Hazelnut Panna Cotta dessert, whose chocolate top is poured tableside, was rich and smooth. The Affogato, which features two scoops of vanilla ice cream doused in hot espresso, was the final reminder that at Supper, simple reigns supreme.

Supper
www.supperrestaurant.com
156 E. 2nd Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 477-7600
Cash Only

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