I met up with a few of my favorite college friends for brunch while in NY over the weekend. I chose Westville because the Chelsea location was convenient for all of us and because I liked the brunch menu. It was simple but included all of the basics. We were seated immediately when we arrived, which I found slightly surprising. I had expected a wait, but I certainly wasn’t complaining.
Mat and Katherine both ordered the eggs florentine, one of the brunch specials, which included two poached eggs with spinach on toast and potato hash. Neither of them was thrilled with the dish. According to Mat, the dish was fairly cold, the potatoes “more offensively” so than the eggs. He described the texture of both as congealed. He did note however that his coffee was very good.
Since I had woken up with a scratchy throat, I was looking forward to some warm soup, and I was excited to see split pea soup on the list of specials. I was not so excited when the bowl arrived. I can understand wanting to do an interpretation on a traditional soup, in this case, not letting the split peas break down into a thick homogenous soup. But this really did not work for me. Split peas are different than standard beans. Split peas are meant to break down, not stay whole. They do not have a pleasant texture when whole. This soup might have been forgivable had it been flavored well, but on top of the textural issues, it was entirely too bland. I never, repeat never, add salt to food in restaurants. I don’t even use a lot in my own cooking. But I needed to add something to this soup.
Though our food this time around was less than ideal, service was quite good and the decor is charming. I would go back to Westville again, if only to have the market plate. Westville specializes in plates of simply prepared seasonal market vegetables. You can select one for $5 or four for $15. I had this once years ago and enjoyed it, and I have since heard several other rave reviews. I will happily go again, but I will stick to what I know they do well.
246 W. 18th Street
New York, NY