Peels has been on my list for quite some time. I remember when it first opened that it was too crazy to think of trying it, so I kept waiting and eventually, forgot I could try to go again. My friend A was in town this particular weekend. We’d had an eventful day – sitting front row for Porgy and Bess and then getting to go backstage after the show to meet Audra McDonald herself! She was so warm and friendly. We even wandered through Broadway Barks for a bit before heading for dinner. I made us a reservation, though it wasn’t super necessary since we were going at 6 – on the early side for NYC. I loved the interior of the restaurant. It had an unexpected upstairs area and far more seating than I’d ever anticipated from walking by the building countless times. It felt appropriately Southern.
While we waited for another friend of ours to join, we tried out an order of their hushpuppies. I had to try them for comparison purposes. I feel compelled to try them any time they are on a menu, although I’m almost always disappointed (looking at you Bubba Gump – crawfish hushpuppies? Never again). I have to say, the ones at Peels are some of the best I’ve had since leaving the South. Slightly sweet and crumbly. They also have a nice cocktail menu. Some highlights include the watermelon gimlet (tequila, watermelon, opal basil, and lime) and the Kentucky Corpse Reviver (bourbon, curacao, Lillet, lemon, and mint).
For entrees, we decided to share a couple of dishes. We ordered the fried chicken (cause you just have to) and the tuna tartare. The tuna wasn’t anything extraordinary but was nicely done, especially on a warm summer evening.
The fried chicken itself was good. The breading wasn’t too thick and it wasn’t remotely greasy, which is a pretty amazing feat. It was served with one of their biscuits – which was large, fluffy, and something I’d definitely do again if I return for brunch. Where they lost me though was the salad that accompanied the dish. I thought it was a nice touch. Fried chicken and a bit of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese … wait. Blue cheese? Uh uh. Proper dressing would absolutely be ranch. Such a bummer.
Another friend opted for their burger, which looked quite good as well.
For dessert, I had to try the Blackberry Eton Mess Fool. I still don’t know what the heck the name means. All I know is that the dessert was so good. Listen to the mix – blackberries, crunchy meringue, yogurt mousse, and mint ice cream. I’m assuming the “mess” comes from the presentation – everything all crammed into a tall container. Everything was perfectly mixed though that in almost every bite you could try all of the elements together. I wasn’t sure about mixing the mint in, but it worked. And being much more accustomed to the soft nature of meringue I just loved the crunchy meringue.
Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to Peels. I will definitely have to make a return visit for brunch!
Peels – 325 Bowery (at E 2nd Street) – 646.602.7015