So there are a couple of interesting things attached to our trip to Northern Spy...
First, we ran into Paul Tabachneck, who we met in the airport on the way to NYC from Pittsburgh a couple of years ago. When we walked into Northern Spy, there sat Paul. How random is that?!? He's a musician, a gregarious and upbeat guy, and it was fun gabbing with him during dinner!
Also, we had plans to go to Blue Hill the following evening. Blue Hill is more upscale than Northern Spy, and I was thinking it would be a fun comparison/contrast. So, some similarities of Blue Hill and Northern Spy...VERY local, high quality food from reputable sources prepared in a relatively straightforward fashion. And some differences...Blue Hill, high dollar and upscale, been around for about a decade; Northern Spy, casual with very average prices, been around for about a year. So Northern Spy on Thursday and Blue Hill on Friday!
I found out about Northern Spy Food Company on Facebook, when there was a post that the esteemed Jen Bekman had "checked in" there. I'm not exactly sure how that works, but I did a search on Northern Spy and subsequently put it on my list of restaurants to visit on this trip to NYC.
Northern Spy is cozy and super casual. It's open all day, and I don't think they take reservations. We got there around 6-ish on a Thursday, and it wasn't crowded. But by the time we left, it was, so there you go.
As far as being kid-friendly, I'd say that Northern Spy could be. It was on the louder side (but not too loud) so kids making some noise wouldn't be a big deal. It was kinda tight, so getting a stroller or whatever paraphernalia in there might be a little tough. I didn't see a kids' menu, but I think there was some stuff on the menu that kids would eat. Like roasted chicken. Kids like that, right?
We ordered some spiced nuts to munch on, they were you know, spiced nuts. Why not?
The menu was very reasonable, plenty of choices but not overwhelming. The salads were fantastic...full of flavor and plenty of food. I had the kale salad and Haley had the spinach salad. The fresh kale was cut up in small pieces which was nice, very manageable, and the cheddar, squash and almonds were a great combo with the really light lemon dressing. The spinach salad looked amazing, with ham, poached egg, and potatoes in a mustard vinaigrette. Thumbs up on both salads.
For entrees, Mindy had the roasted chicken and the wild rice on the side. The chicken looked golden brown and fantastic, but Mindy wasn't crazy about it. I think that's mainly because she's not crazy about chicken in general, but her hubby completely scarfed down her leftovers. He gave it a thumbs up. (That being said, Mindy has formulated a diabolical plan to replicate the wild rice with feta, mint, and lemon.)
Jeff ordered the pork meatballs covered in red sauce, which were a special. Haley and I also ordered them to split. I thought they were perfection, melt in your mouth, absolutely delicious. Haley isn't a huge fan of basil, and she didn't care much for them.
Jeff and I both had desserts, which were pretty straightforward. Jeff had carrot cake, which I tasted, and it was very good. Nice sized portion, but not over-the-top. Not too sweet either. I had almond cake, and I'd say the same for that. It was just perfect with a decaf. I think we would all agree that we ended the meal feeling well-satisfied and well-nourished, but not thinking that we'd need to run a 5k to knock off the calories. It was GOOD food.
Sorry, forgot the booze. There was a nice wine list, with some NY wines included. And a good selection of beers as well. I had a glass of something red, shame on me for not remembering. We were having a fun time talking, and you know, it was tasty and very drinkable, and well, down the hatch!
The prices were completely reasonable...entrees around $15. Wow! Look at the sources of their veggies, dairy, meat, etc. How could you not feel good about eating here???
And BTW, Paul, who is a local, said Northern Spy got a lot of hype in the media in NYC. He said they have something called "pork trotters" that are a special, and they're out of this world. Maybe next time!
Overall, I'd say that I'd definitely go back to Northern Spy. The food was super tasty and fresh, the atmosphere laid back. Comfort food, really. Good quality, good value. Next time, I'd like to check out the market...looks like fun!