Back Forty West
A locavore's delight, Back Forty West (East, on Avenue B, closed a while back) is so dedicated to all things natural that an order of a diet Coke wasn't possible--the place serves only organic soda. The restaurant is two floors with a welcome fire in the fireplace on one of the winters colder days. Walls carry a mix of rustic art and everything is so au naturel it's all you can do to keep your clothes on. But do.
The menu changes with the season as does the daily soup offering served on a board with bread. Beans, potatoes, squash, harissa and other veggies wore a top of almonds for an after-crunch. Brussels sprouts was a generous, well-seasoned portion while the mushroom and egg dish made a good lunch choice. The grass-fed burger is a crowd- pleaser, frequently ordered with the basket of rosemary fries that I eyed at a neighboring table. Across the aisle, two women were busy , one with pulled pork; the other with the "meatless Reuben" with cheddar, housemade sauerkraut and roast mushrooms. Live juice brings combos like cucumber, basil and jalapeño, enlivened with booze, in this case, tequila.
The big bar downstairs accommodates a crowd who lap up cocktails with twee names under headings like Shaken (Some Like It Hot with jalapeño infused Ford's gin, cucumber, St. Germain, egg whites); Stirred (Rum Negroni with many items including the currently trendy Aperol); Tall (Bloody London, a Bloody Mary Britted-up with gin); Draft (Oxbow Farmhouse ale from Maine) and Bottles and Cans (semi-exotic beers including Green Flash West Coast IPA from San Diego and Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale from Michigan. White, red and rose wines as well as several ciders flush out the alcohol offerings.
Many food items have a vaguely Southern echo like the buttermilk fried chicken and waffle combo; crispy smoked pork belly and the fried pig's cheek. Bear in mind that Back Forty is as local and seasonal as they come so what's available one day may not be there the next. At brunch, , the thick cut bacon is a pork-lovers' dream as much as the sticky bun lives up to its name. House sausage and eggs come with rye toast. Coffee isn't just coffee, it's George Howell Terroir Coffee that can be had as drip, Americano, cappuccino, espresso and other ways.
The restaurant offers various "feats" including a crab boil, an Octoberfest meal laden with Bavarian cheese spread, pretzels, wursts and plum cake and other specials for holidays.
Parties are big here; for a group of six-plus, you get family style tasting menus served on large platters. There are farm tables for up to 22 guests. If yours is a larger group, the upstairs can be yours for up to 45 guests. You can opt for feats with beef, lobster, burgers or the Chef's Farm Table Menu that brims with possibilities. Back Forty West is open Mon-Thu, 8:30am-10pm; Fri, 8:30am-10:30pm; Sat, 10:30am-10:30pm; Sun, 10:30am-6pm. All major credit cards accepted; reservations a good idea.
Review By: Mari Gold