If it’s Friday night and you want to go wait in line somewhere, I strongly suggest Freemans, owned by Taavo Sover and William Tigertt, and located at the end of Freemans Alley – it’s the latest cool alley – off of Rivington between The Bowery and Chrystie on the Lower East Side.
And if you can manage the wait, and survive the heroine-addicted models, the food is entirely satisfying on a cold winter’s eve.
The Good Doctor and I arrived at 7 p.m. at Freeman’s last Friday, and I got off to a “good” start by mistakenly brushing against a red-headed “addict” who instantly over-reacted and asked me what my deal was. Telepathically I informed her how I wished she would go play in the traffic and lock lips with the fender of the next M15 bus. From what I could pick up from her brain waves, she didn’t seem to know what the M15 was, so our convo ended quickly.
I immediately inquired about table availability with the table maestro.
The maestro politely informed us that the wait would be 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remarkably unfazed, we gave him our names, and he suggested that we return in 45 minutes to see if we’d broken the top 10 on his list of seatings. No problem, we said. Though he wouldn’t take our cell phone to give us a ring at the wine bar a couple of blocks over, we were undeterred.
Of course, the wine bar we visited was busy, too, but a glass of sparkling rose and pleasant company passed the time easily.
Upon return to Freemans, the joint was still jumpin’ and had somehow stuffed a few more people amongst the grisly animal horns on the wall. Everybody’s just a bit too pretty for my tastes at Freemans. Even the unshaven seem well-coiffed.
As the maestro had suggested, about an hour and half after we had originally arrived, we were seated.
Dinner Is Served
The waiter immediately gave us the menu (Good service at Freemans, I will admit.) which is remarkably inexpensive given the trendy types who could be spending more on their meals given the dough their likely spending on blow in the bathroom.
The Doctor had a glass of wine au table. I tried a house specialty drink – The Rum Buck or something like that. It was tasty and laced with rum and a healthy amount of ginger beer.
Then, we got to ordering.
I was not going to be denied the hot artichoke dip which was already being swallowed at the table next to us. Smelled like something Mom would make. I had to have it for starters. The Doctor shared it with me and ordered a filet mignon main course while I had the venison stew with butternut squash.
Looking around the restaurant, it appears that the Freemans eatery was carefully sewn together with period pieces from local frat houses whose members enjoyed hunting. We even noticed greek letters on a faux mantle. How “Animal House” of Mr. Sover who is also known for designing the Bowery Hotel bar.
The artichoke dip arrived and we destroyed it, right to the plate. Actually, I guess I ate most of it – I couldn’t stop. Fortunately, they didn’t serve the main course right away – again, another surprising moment of good service in that I expected to be hurried by the staff but was not.
Then, through the antlers, the entrees arrived. The Doctor reported excellent taste with her filet as well as a surprising horseradish sauce that complimented her beef (many things compiment the Doctor’s beef). My venison stew was hearty and hit the proverbial spot, yet the butternut squash was the superstar… delicious – maybe a bit too spicy for my gentle, earnest soul – but it’s a pleasant change from the run-of-the-mill green beans or broccoli.
All tolled.. we spent about $120 on the meal with tip.. the wait was ridiculous, yet service and food were satisfying. If you can survive the wait and the crowd, Freemans does not suck.
January 23rd, 2008
Entry Filed under: Food