Good things come in small packages at The Marshal in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s a narrow, old-fashioned room in a 19th-century building — the kind of authentic, distinctive little spot nearly every tourist wants to experience. They call it quaint, creative or adventurous. It’s the antithesis of all the restaurants in their hometowns.
Patrons sit at bare plank tables topped by flickering candles in Mason jars. Warm, country-style bread from Brooklyn’s Three Monks Bakery and airy, fluffy, housemade whipped butter soon appears. Only 24 people can be served at a time. Though few tourists know of its existence, New Yorkers, especially the ones who live nearby, are well aware of it. Young families, writers, singers and hip singles crowd this neat, traditional nook.
An enthusiastic, warm young crew guides you to a variety of fresh farm-to-table treats delivered from local purveyors (e.g., Satur Farms, Phillips Farm, Arcadian Pastures, Andrew’s Honey, Flora Nursery, Norwich Meadows Farm). These first-class ingredients are incorporated into creative, little encountered but thoughtfully conceived dishes like apple, sunchoke, and micro-greens salad with (of all things) some NYC bee pollen that enhances its Vermont blue cheese, roasted walnuts, dried cranberries and Keith’s NYC honey vinaigrette. Squid from the Hamptons is roasted in a wood oven with herbs and plenty of garlic, then served in garlic-scape pesto. Kale is the current darling of many NYC kitchens, and their Three Kale Salad does it proud. Its curly green, Tuscan, and purple varieties are mixed together with garlic aioli dressing and toasted walnuts. Rare Montauk black pepper-seared ahi tuna is elevated by shots of chili oil and balsamic vinegar.
Young families, writers & hip singles crowd this neat, traditional nook...
The Montauk monkfish benefits from Phillips Farm’s lemon verbena marinade and sautéed spinach while six roasted New Jersey scallops were given an unexpected and welcome send up by their Norwich Farm watermelon gazpacho with cucumber, fennel, and Phillips Farm jalapeno.
Don’t neglect the farm sides. The menu lists more of them than it does appetizers or entrées — for good reason. I’d suggest three: a warm, ripe peach half covered with brown sugar, Vermont blue cheese, and walnuts; a roasted beefsteak tomato half crowned with cow’s milk cheese; and herbs and chilled roasted beets (Dagele Bros.), Micro Bull’s blood beet greens (Koppert Cress Farm), Vermont creamery goat cheese, and sherry vinaigrette.
There are three desserts, two of them chocolate: a tall, respectable sundae, a thin slab of chilled chocolate fudge with a scoop of vanilla ice cream at its center; and oh how the sweet red-hued ricotta toasted walnut crumbled with its Port poached apple and plump sour cherries.
628 10th Ave. (44th-45th Sts.), 212-582-6300; www.the-marshal.com