Monument Lane
 
 

Reinventing rusticity in the West Village

By James Oliver Cury

Located on a busy corner in the West Village, this place certainly looks like it’s been around for a century or two. The five-year-old Monument Lane works every angle of rustic charm—worn wood floors, big exposed beams, old-timey maps, even a colonial flag on the wall. Its fitting decor for a farm-to-table menu, and with executive chef Lucas Billheimer—of Parlor Steakhouse and The Writing Room—at the helm, that menu delivers some clever new spins on Americana classics.

Take the house ricotta appetizer. Served on a wood block with grilled sourdough, the spreadable cheese acts as both star and vehicle for a medley of complementary flavors and textures, urging you to get just the right balance of fresh mint, toasted pecans, chile flakes, honey, and sea salt. Crunchy and gooey, hot and cold, sweet and savory—this is not your mother’s cheese board. And think you’ve had enough crudité in your life, too? Well, probably not with a green olive tapenade that tastes this good.

Sure, the menu changes both with the seasons and with whatever herbs and veggies the chef has just sourced (shout-outs to the farms can be found on their website), but these duck dishes aren’t going away, and they’re worth seeking out. If the duck drumsticks confit aren’t available, get the entrée with the divine dirty rice, a spicy Cajun-Creole touch that nearly upstages the bird breast and its crispy skin. A commendable selection of dishes round out the menu, all of which sound simpler than they are: roasted chicken and steak for the carnivores; oysters, mussels, and sea scallops for the pescatarians; and more than enough vegetables to satisfy even the pickiest vegan.
The local-sustainable theme extends, naturally, to the drink selection as well, which includes 15 craft beers (available in bottles, cans, and draft) and an all-American selection of wines from New York (North Fork, Finger Lakes), Washington, Oregon, and California. If you really want to go fresh and local, order a cocktail like the No Place Like Home—a vodka-based libation that pairs thyme and cracked black pepper with extraordinarily sweet strawberry juice from fruit that could have been picked just hours earlier.

For dessert, there are new takes on old favorites, like the fresh doughnuts with rhubarb and honey Anglaise, and then there are palate pleasers such as the dark chocolate pudding, which offers layers of flavor—from the sprinkling of candied pistachio pieces and toasted cake crumbs on top, to the smattering of crème fraîche dollops, down to the creamy interior, which pushes the limits of cocoa richness.

With the warm weather upon us, take advantage of the al fresco cafe seating for some lively people watching, as Greenwich Avenue offers a steady parade of monumentally attractive passersby.

hours

Dinner: Sun–Mon 5:30 PM–10:30 PM; Tue–Wed 5:30 PM–11 PM; Thu 5:30 PM–11:30 PM; Fri–Sat 5:30 PM–midnight
Lunch: Mon–Fri noon–3 PM
Brunch: Sat–Sun 11 AM–4 PM

price range

$22 (spring vegetables) to $38 (grass-fed beef strip steak)
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