I just got into a serious relationship, and it happens to be with the dinner at Prune. You may always see the line outside this East Village staple during brunch hour with every table devouring Bloody Mary’s and Dutch Pancakes, but you must save your Prune time for dinner. A minute for a little back story here: I was invited to a gorgeous outdoor Nantucket wedding this summer where I had the pleasure of enjoying the dinner meal cooked by the one and only Prune Chef/Owner Gabrielle Hamilton. The rest is history. This family-style meal exposed the freshness of local ingredients and herbs in the simplest way while showing off true flavors of actual produce. It was unreal. Visiting Prune in the city for dinner was just the same experience.
One tip here is that you can make reservations at dinner time (unlike brunch), so you have no excuse not go. However, we had the success of grabbing two bar seats on a Saturday night while walking in at prime time, so there’s that. It’s a small space, the mirrors make it feel a little bigger and almost as if you are in someone’s dining room. The menu offers a few things for everyone and a some things for those with a richer palette such as Bone Marrow and Fried Sweetbreads. The menu changes seasonally, and usually you can find the standard mains. We started with an awesome sardine appetizer with almonds and celery. Never thought I’d crave something like this, but the salt and soft fish combined with the crunchy accompaniments legit gets your tongue ready to rock and roll.
The Whole Grilled Trout with Mint, Onion, and Almond Salsa is one of the best whole fish dishes I’ve ever had and is now at the top of my list. I’d never describe a fish as juicy but somehow this one is, and it’s packed with flavor from just a little love and care with the herbs. I aspire to learn how to make this dish one day, and I wish I could eat this every single day. No need to share this with your companion. Keep it all for yourself unless they are willing to go half-sies with the Grilled Beef Short Ribs with anchovy butter. I’m running out of ways to explain how delicious and mouth-dropping each dish is here. The Short Ribs, which are massive, fall off the bone and also make you that happy full that is accepted. You know the kind where you’ve had enough, but can’t leave a bite left because it would just be disrespectful and you’d regret it the next day? The Duck Breast and Dark Meat Chicken stays on the menu often. I love how Chef Hamilton points out that it’s “dark.”
The Roasted Leeks, Cauliflower, and Mushrooms taste like candy, and you’ll polish these off in one second. It’s hard to find restaurants that put out dishes that portray home cooking. Many restaurants serve over the top dishes or are inundated with too much rich cream and butter. At Prune, what you see is what you get, and it is comforting. While you can go heavy here, you can also feel light and like you’ve just been fooled by the cooks in the kitchen because it’s so simple yet powerful. I have every positive word in the book to say about this restaurant. and I’d take every advantage to eat here as much as possible. If a restaurant could sweep you off your feet, consider it done.