Willow Road sure showed me. I will admit I wasn’t confident about how my meal would play out at this Meatpacking spot right next to Del Posto. I imagined it as a trendy, boozy spot with a huge dining room where you could see who was who. However, upon entering, my first impression was completely opposite. It’s a lot smaller than I pictured and if you didn’t know it, you’d think you were dining in the West Village. There is a bar that separates one dining area/kitchen from the other which is just a couple stairs up. I love the backdrop which is a black and white drawing of what appears to be a few standout buildings in Manhattan such as the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings. The best thing I put in my mouth was the first appetizer were the Glazed Yams with Pecans (which sadly is not on the menu anymore but I have to talk about them because they are so memorable and hold a special place in my heart). You don’t see yams on a menu as much as butternut squash or sweet potatoes so I appreciated this risk. It tasted like a bowl of cobbler. The Yams were tender, full of sugar and topped with pecans. I def could have added ice cream to this and called it a day. The Brussels Sprouts are also a nice snack to start with and balance out the sweet. They are made with Red Curry, Garlic and Lemon. Skip the Short Rib Meatballs. There are other meat dishes to focus on here such as the Glazed Pork Ribs. These babies passed my rib test: falling off the bone without even trying.
Glazed Pork Ribs photo credit Anna Malskaya
The Hamachi entree is unique as I’ve never had this fish cooked. I usually eat it raw so it really stood out to me. It was tasty but not as flaky and thin as most fish. If you are looking for something lighter and non red meat this is for you. The next dish which is what really turned me on to Willow Road and gained my trust forever was the Ribeye. If I order steak I always get a filet, but this hunk of meat came right out of left field. Maybe it was the bone marrow butter or maybe it was the caramelized onions, but this dish was unbeatable. Everyone was ordering the fried chicken and I really felt bad for those guests who missed this. Even the potatoes are addicting covered in cheese and probably some other ingredients I’m alright not to know about. The fact that it’s served on a skillet makes me so happy and even more invested in this dish.
For someone that’s got a monster sweet-tooth like me, skip dessert. You’re better off ordering a second ribeye. Just kidding- but really. Willow Road is a magical restaurant for me because I love it when my expectations are surprised and I walk out of a restaurant that really beat me.