Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: The Pavilion Market Cafe

Magazine article The New Yorker

Tables for Two: The Pavilion Market Cafe

Article excerpt

Open weekdays for lunch and dinner and weekends for brunch and dinner. Entrees $18.95-$33.95.

TABLES FOR TWO

THE PAVILION MARKET CAFE

20 Union Square W. (212-677-7818)

When danny meyer opened Union Square Cafe, in 1985, he was a pioneer in serving local, seasonal ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket. Meyer recently announced that he will move the Cafe from Sixteenth Street to an undetermined location when his current lease is up, on account of the rent being too damn high. That's bad news for the neighborhood, but good news for the Pavilion Market Cafe, a new restaurant that's moved into the Square's imposingly neoclassical band shell; it probably wouldn't exist without its predecessor, and might have a hard time competing with it. In a way, the Pavilion's loyalty to the Greenmarket one-ups Meyer's, because it's mandatory: part of the deal that the restaurateur Simon Oren (Nice Matin, Five Napkin Burger) struck to secure the lease was that he'd feature "market day" specials using goods from the farmers who set up shop just outside.

Across the menu, the food, though not particularly adventurous, is much better and fresher than you might expect from a restaurant in one of Manhattan's most trafficked hubs. An appetizer of fried calamari, scattered with sweet garlic chips, sliced chilis, and black sesame seeds, comes on a delicate tomatillo puree. Salads are meal-size but not unrefined: the shredded-kale Caesar is dressed with roasted-garlic vinaigrette and a pickled anchovy, the classic Greek elevated by sharp local feta and crisp nubs of toasted pita. …

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