Last week we decided to to take my buddy and his fiancé out for dinner to celebrate their engagement. After booking and canceling a couple dozen reservations, we ended up booking a reservation at Freemans (Thanks Lina). This was my fourth time going there, three times for dinner and one for brunch, and still I had no remorse choosing Freemans over somewhere else. Sure we could have tried something new like Seamore’s or Rebelle, but I was really in the mood for eating and drinking while staring at some taxidermy. Also, since their menu is seasonal and changes often, it’s like eating somewhere new everytime.
We hung out by the bar as we waited for Mike (first timer) to find the restaurant. If you have never been, do not use Google Maps – as it will tell you the wrong location. To find it, walk to the middle of Rivington between Christie and Bowery – walk down the alley covered with hipsters and ‘artsy types’ until you reach the teal wooden doors. I had no intention of drinking that much, or eating that much, as I had my tuxedo fitting for my wedding the following night. After buying a two-thousand dollar tuxedo and getting it altered, last thing I wanted to do was not fit into it. Especially since I was out the night prior at Peter Luggers, and have been eating like a beast lately. But as we waited for our lost friend, I drank a few Köstritzers – nothing better than a dark black lagger when trying to take it easy… For a 472 year old brewery, it’s no wonder why they are still in business, this is one of my favorite beers and I drink their black gold every time I see it.
It was interesting watching Mikes reaction when he walked in. Half of it relief that he found the place, the other half confused as he walked into what looks like a West-Virginian hunting lodge in the middle of the Lower East Side. As we made our way to the table the girls drink their rosé and we ordered up two Bulleit Old Fashions. As we were all catching up listening to the story of their engagement – two more old fashions made it to the table. Then following our appetizer order, another two old fashions made its way over.
We ordered three apps, and on my way to order a third my fiancé gave me a nice elbow to the ribs reminding me that I have the tuxedo fitting the next night. First up, the Pork Belly Sliders with coleslaw and mustard barbecue sauce. These were delicious, and convinced me I may need to start going to Freemans and just eat these while sitting at the bar. They come two in an order, which I probably should have ordered another round, but no big deal. Next, Ipswich Clam Fritters. Similar to the fried oysters at Bacaro, I figured these would be lightly breaded and fried up – but once again I was wrong. These were in a doughy ball, kind of biscuity and fried. Think they came in an order of five, because I had three and heard everyone else bitch because they didn’t have one, I didn’t feel too bad about it. Lastly, the Steamed PEI Muscles, which was another crowd favorite. This was served with potatoes, corn, scallions, old bay butter, and grilled sourdough bread. We destroyed this dish, not even an ounce of the broth was left over – even contemplated eating the shells since the dish was so good. Then two more old fashions…
Before my main course came I ordered another Köstritzer, as I figured this would go better with my meat, and because I was starting to think the moose head on the wall was moving. I chose the Seared Filet Mignon, with sweet and sour onions, mashed potatoes and horseradish sauce. Steak was cooked perfectly, medium-rare with a nice reddish pink hue in the middle. I was scooping up mashed potatoes and stuffing them down my throat. The filet was tender and juicy, and complemented nicely by the onions. Nicole had the Daily Market Fish, which was Cod served with a side of Eggplant Caponata – which also was amazing. She didn’t really share much – but I got her back… The next morning as she was leaving the apartment I accidentally head-butted her in a unbelievably hungover failed attempt to kiss her.