This is all fine by me - as long as Thanksgiving still has its prominent place on the calendar. No one can argue with the fact that Thanksgiving equals family, thanks, and American food at its best. And this year I'm feeling particularly thankful and ready to celebrate such an American holiday. After a recent trip to Irving Mill, it actually felt like the month of November. This seasonal American restaurant (named after one of the greatest American authors) could pay a tribute to the upcoming holiday both in the comfort of its setting and in the preparation of its cuisine. Whether in the main dining room or up front in the bar tap room, this is a great spot to enjoy with a large group. And, if your group is large enough, I recommend the large round stone table bringing together these two sections. It's a great way to appear VIP, but more importantly, it can actually hold more food in the center - ideal for sharing.
We started the meal sharing several small plates. These included charred wax bean bruschetta with ricotta as well as the salt and pepper pork ribs. Both were great, but the ribs were out of this world, falling right off the bone and seasoned with the perfect amount of heat. If that wasn't enough, there was an actual Sausage section on the menu - the finest of American cuisine! I should have known from the start that it was going to be a great night. We sampled the lamb-olive sausage and the rabbit-ratatouille sausage, both served with grilled country bread and mustard. I was really drawn to the preparation of the rabbit. The mains are either pastas, meat or fish. I recommend the eggplant agnolotti, mini ravioli stuffed with ricotta, tomato confit and chili flakes as well as the roasted red snapper with autumn vegetables - a great way to eat fish in the "off season." But, in all honesty, it was the good old American Irving Mill burger with cheddar and fries that truly won me over that evening. It was one of the more simple, yet juicy and full of flavor burgers I have had in awhile.
Irving Mill's menu at certain moments definitely hints towards French and Italian inspiration. But, that is really what New American cuisine is all about - and basically what America is all about. However, it was the ribs and the burger, dishes that over the years have come to define true American cuisine, that were in a league of their own at Irving Mill. Sometimes, it's the most basic and most comforting things that win us over - and that is what Thanksgiving is really all about. Have a happy one!!
116 East 16th St.
New York, NY 10003