Peasant – Fire Good!

Back when I was a young boy, just becoming a young adult, my Father yelled to me in the house. “Come outside. I want to show you how to grill.” I looked at my Dad and said “how hard can it be? You put the hamburger patty on the grill. It turns brown. You flip it. Then you eat it.” With that my Dad made me get two eggs from the fridge and he made me breakfast of the grill. My young mind was blown. That’s the day I learned that fire is just a heat source and if you respect it, you can tame it.

Respect the fire and you will own it. That’s kind of the mantra at NYC’s Peasant. The SoHo eatery servers rustic Italian fare, all of which is cooked in a gigantic wood burning stove. Whether it’s the pizza, the pasta or the meats, it’s all tamed under intense wood burning heat. Dishes are in limited quantities, especially the seasonal and nightly specials so be sure to ask as soon as your seated. If you hear something you want to shove in your face, speak up immediately. I love a restaurant with a one page menu. It says they know what they’re good at cooking and they want to share it with you.

One more thing about Peasant, they keep it very natural in the restaurant. Most of the light is by candle and there isn’t a whole lot. As a result, it made things tough to get good pictures. I didn’t want to be blowing off a flash every couple of seconds in a packed dining room so therefore my pictures will apear a little dark. You’ll get the gist regardless.

Sounds like a perfect way to celebrate joeC’s birthday!

The meal starts of with some of the finest, crustiest, most perfectly baked Italian bread in the 5 boroughs. The inside are white and soft while the crust is not quite chewy, not quite crusty but all tasty. Eat it alone, with olive oil or with cheese but definitely eat it.

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Again, it’s just fire, but if you’re going to perfect cooking in a wood burning oven you have to make a great pizza. Thankfully, Peasant does that. Be sure to get whichever most strikes your tables fancy and eat it! The pizza is legit and made with very fresh tomatoes. The whole pizza is so delicious and robust; Crispy crust, buttery cheese with a nice creaminess, good spice if you order the spicy sopresatta and peperoncini.

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Have you ever eaten burratat? To put it simply, it’s fresh creamy mozzarella stuffed into less creamy but still fresh mozzarella. Some say it’s cheese, I say it’s a work of art. Do not miss out here and be sure to eat the basil, it’s incredible.

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One of the specialties of the house is their sardine dish. There was no way in hell I was even going to consider taking a bite of this. The other guys a the table were loving it.

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Speaking of seafood, I won’t eat, how about some razor clams? No thanks, but they did smell good. The rest of the 7 thought they were great.

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I love pasta and I’m a sucker for great pasta. I love all kinds of Italian dishes but if I could eat pasta for every meal, you bet your bippy I would. Realize too, that’s coming from the guy who pens Burger Conquest, The NYC Wing-Off & Steak Club 7! When it was asked at the table if we wanted to split some pasta for the table, I demanded that we do. The Lamb Ragu – unreal. Get on your horse and ride. Incredibly savory. Perfectly cooked cavatelli. Perfect au dente. The pappardelle was just simply delicious. Amazing use of basil. A true example of what happens when you take your time cooking something. The pasta was a double dose of awesome.

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Most of the fellas ordered the bistecca alla fiorentina. It’s a classic preparation to a classic steak; 28 ounce of dry-aged t-bone beef. One of my favorite ways to prepare steak. It comes with a side of Mac n Cheese. While normally it wouldn’t even be in question for me to order this, the cards were in a different hand.

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It in limited quantities every night but the seasonal special at Peasant is my favorite dish on the planet, venison chops. Here it’s served on cabbage reduced with prosciutto. The server couldn’t even get the full description of the dish out before my hand was in the air signaling that I had to have one!

Unfortunately my venison, much like the guys’ bistecca alla fiorentina it was incredibly undercooked. In fact, the French called it black and blue. Now don’t get me wrong, I think tartare is stupendous, so I am not afraid of raw meat. Tartare however needs to be prepared a certain way. A steak that’s just raw on the inside but charred on the outside is not even close to medium rare which is all what we prefer. I hate to say something negative about a restaurant that otherwise we loved but this really brought it down a notch for me. Especially with such a great cut of meat.

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Box on the other hand had a different story to tell. Peasant tries to use as much of the animals as possible as they would in Italy. As a result, tonight they were offering a split and cooked suckling pig’s head. Box is a huge pork fan and couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

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A good steak dinner needs a good green to accompany it and Peasant does it right with Italian green beans.

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With the exception of my steak preparation, which can easily be changed, I thought Peasant was great. Would definitely go back for more!

3.5 knives out of 5
-Rev

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