I read about a restaurant in the West Village, Joseph Leonard was its name, and it had been depicted as a rather trendy little spot. Having just moved to the area, i felt it my duty to go and scope it out. So i popped along for a lunch date mid week – i’ll admit, I was half expecting it to disappoint somewhat (just because it’s trendy, doesn’t mean the food is good), but i was pleasantly surprised.
Tucked away within the maze of cute streets, this eatery boasts a prime corner spot in the Village. It’s small and rustic looking from the outside, very much inviting to the passer by – inside, the exposed brick walls, wooden ceiling and an abundance of quaint bric a brac provide plenty of charm.
The vibe in there was relaxed and hipster-ish. Since i had arrived prematurely for my lunch date, i decided that a refreshing cocktail at the bar counter was mandatory …
Joseph Leonard’s menu is bistro-like, although with the odd (and welcome) little twist on dishes. We chose two hearty ones, both of which arrived well presented, & both of which were enjoyable.
At this point, I must give a special shout out to the Joseph Leonard hashbrown which was absolutely delightful….freshly made in house with super finely shredded potato, a perfectly crisp exterior and overall not too greasy (a downfall of one too many a hasbrown) – this one is very much a refined hasbrown. The housemade sausage was also particularly tasty & overall, i’d recommend this dish. P.S. I’ve since learnt that they do a mean bacon, so i’ve made a mental note to order that on the side next time.
Although not out of this world, i very much enjoyed the fried chicken sandwich, mostly due to the unusual honey, tobasco & mayo combination which made it particularly interesting. N.B. This sandwich is not available on the dinner menu.
Throughout lunch, staff were pleasant & friendly enough, but unsurprisingly for a trendy place, some of them did seem a little ‘too cool’ for their own good – not that this really bothered me.
My one tip: arrive early to nab a table, otherwise be prepared to wait since they don’t take reservations (they will however take your number and give you a call when a table opens up – an act i always appreciate from such ‘no bookings’ restaurants). Although we got seated right away, this was on a calm weekday lunchtime – bear in mind that at the weekend, particularly for brunch, you may have to wait an hour or more; and since it’s small, this probably isn’t the ideal spot to turn up in a group.
I strolled by Joseph Leonard one recent Sunday evening and it looked super cosy inside with flickering lights and a chilled buzz; “this would make for a lovely intimate date spot” i thought to myself (although i’ve also heard that it can get very noisy in the evenings, so best keep that in mind).
Dips Bites: The hip West Village spot that is Joseph Leonard has become a bit of a destination in the area – the kind of place one wants to be seen at. But it has more substance to it than just that; the atmosphere and setting are both pretty charming & the food is good too. I’d happily return to try out the dinner menu one day, and also check out the weekend brunch vibe another time. P.S. There’s also a late night menu served after midnight until 2am, which might just provide me with a reliable post drinking burger stop in the neighbourhood, i’ll have to go test it out.
170 Waverly Place, West Village (on the corner with Grove Street)