Saturday, August 30, 2008

Croquer: The Village Idiot


God bless whoever came up with the concept behind the Gastropub. Any foodie has a soft spot for comfort pub fare, but knocking it up a notch with premium ingredients and epicurian flair is the bee's knees. I decided to drop into Melrose's young gastropub The Village Idiot to see how well it balances a fresh approach to classic British creature comforts. Given the faux-trendy, very "LA" neighborhood, initially I had my doubts.
Surprisingly, once inside the wide-windowed, brick and dark wood interior the tacky mess of Melrose instantly vaporized into a cozy haze of oak wood smoke. After settling into an open-window-side leather booth with a freind we appropriately ordered Black and Tans (which were not on the beer/drink menu?!). Large chalk boards high on the walls touted the grub, and we decided it was an afternoon fit only for an Oak-grilled Pub Burger (with Balsamic Onion Relish and Hand-Cut Fries).
We enjoyed our beers in the hazy sunlight whilst eschewing eye contact with countless vagrants outside, occasionally having to speak over the din of passing gaggles of fashion victims. Our burgers arrived promptly, oozing with gruyere, half-covered by a pile of magnificent fries. First bite scored high on the burger-meter - my only complaint was that my medium rare patty was disappointingly cooked-through (a burger lover pet peeve) - saved however by a remarkable moistness and deep smokey flavor. The onion relish seemed like a bit of an afterthought, living in a small outcast ramekin - and outshined by the rest of the flavors in the burger. Though satisfied and full after the meal, somehow our server convinced us that a light summer dessert was in order. We said absolutely to the nectarine trifle she explained in detail, layers of house-made poundcake, a light vanilla bean custard, sliced nectarines and a fresh mint-leaf-infused whipped cream. Sounds like a somewhat average trifle perhaps, but all of these house-made components were in fact incredibly light and airy, delicately sweetened by their natural flavors (and yes I'm sure some sugar). Like Jell-o, there's always room for such a dessert. This called for a glass of bubbly, and indeed the sparkling wine made this the perfect pair. Palates refreshed by the raw fruit and mint, spirits lifted by the effervescence, we paid the bill without looking at the check in order to extend the pleasance. This was late afternoon weekend dining done right.

Next on Tavern Talk: The York...

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