EAT DRINK SLEEP
Saturday night a friend and I finally visited the often-hyped Longman & Eagle. As we entered the dimly lit, bustling gastropub, I was instantly gripped by the energetic, yet somehow relaxing vibe. I was into this place already and I hadn’t even tasted the food.
With no reservations accepted and a spot on Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants in America” list, there was sure to be a substantial wait time. We were quoted an hour and a half, but lucky for us, we scored two stools at the bar, and front row seats to the bartenders mixing up all sorts of inventive cocktails. Longman & Eagle’s extensive drink menu is phonebook-thick, with a whiskey selection so broad it puts a liquor store to shame.
The wait staff was incredibly friendly and did not steer us wrong when providing recommendations. We enjoyed two appetizers at the bar, along with our wine, as we waited for our table. The menu allows for adventurous indulging, but also offers options for the not so exploratory eater. From pastrami cured sweetbreads and seared duck testicles (seriously!) to pan roasted salmon, Longman & Eagle’s menu runs the gastronomic gamut.
We started with a “safer” choice of Chanterelle Agnolotti, Sweet Corn, Crispy Chicken Skin, Pea Shoots, Grana Padano. These “naked ravioli” as the bartender described, were long, soft pillows filled with grana padano, incredible wild mushrooms and pieces of fried chicken skin goodness, all placed on top of a wonderfully rich, creamy sauce with corn. This small plate dish was so good, but I already couldn’t wait for the next one – Gulf Prawns and Grits, Organic Egg, Braised Collards, Black Pepper Shrimp Gravy. This unique take on the southern favorite featured a sauce that truly made the dish. The pepper shrimp gravy had a robust, smoky flavor with a little more than a hint of spice. The egg atop the grits was to be broken in order to ooze and blend with the other components. And the shrimp, which arrived whole, were large and cooked just to the point of done.
Once seated at our table, we ordered the Seared Tombo Tuna, Parisienne Gnocchi, Peas, Artichokes en Barigoule with Black Garlic Aioli. I loved this dish! The tuna was insanely delicious, slightly salty and enjoyably simple. The black garlic aioli was slightly mustardy and a perfect accompaniment to dip the tuna in. Finally we shared the Slagel Family Farms Burger with Aged Wildmer’s Cheddar, Neuske’s Bacon, Beef Fat Fries, Brioche. The burger was extra juicy and definitely tasty, but nothing that knocked my socks off. But the fries – OMG the fries! They were piping hot, delightfully crispy on the outside, while being a tad thicker and potato-y on the inside. These were something special; I guess cooking fries in beef fat makes them so wrong yet so right.
Having had such a great meal, there was no room to spare for dessert. So once you’ve had had enough to EAT and DRINK, it’s time to SLEEP! Longman & Eagle moonlights as a quaint hotel offering six rooms at affordable prices. We didn’t take advantage of this extra offering, but with a few of their $3 whiskey shots, that would have sounded like a great idea!
When the tab came, we were left with a tiny bite of passion fruit pate. What a sweet end to such a fabulous night.