40 North Review – Eastern European Vibes in the North Side

Last updated on October 6, 2021 by Angie

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40 North is the new restaurant concept in the Alphabet City space located on the North Side. With James Beard Award nominee Bethany Zozula at the helm, the restaurant offers local and seasonal cuisine that comforts and inspires.

When we learned that Zozula would be leading 40 North, we had high hopes for this space which has seen its share of restaurants come and go over the past few years. Zozula was most recently the chef at the now closed Whitfield, a notable place for weekend steaks and brunch.

While 40 North’s menu is decidedly new, Whitfield fans will likely find a lot to like here. Appetizers include simple but well-executed preparations of steaks, fish, and chicken, while sides and starters use seasonal produce with Middle Eastern and Eastern European flavors sprinkled in.

Eastern European inspired dishes at 40 North

The drinks menu includes an excellent cocktail list with a mix of new creations and elevated classics like Maggie’s Manhattan with rum, wine syrup, amaro and bitters, which was balanced with a hint of candy. We also enjoyed a not too smoky mezcal and tequila drink that included a thyme infused syrup before switching to wine with our meals.

The wine list includes several options by the glass and a decently sized bottle list that ranges from the obligatory French bottles to offerings from Chile, the Finger Lakes, Austria, and Slovenia. Our server gave great recommendations for wines by the glass to pair with our starters, including a Gruner Veltliner mineral taster.

As for gastronomy, starting with the Khachapuri is an absolute must. This Georgian flatbread was stuffed with sheep’s milk feta cheese and grilled to perfection. The outer dough was thin, flaky and extremely crispy, while the cheese inside was mixed with green herbs and oozed seductively onto the plate as we cut the bread.

It was chanterelle season when we first visited, so we started with a large bowl of sautéed chanterelles in butter. The preparation was simple but delicious, and we absolutely appreciate the use of local and seasonal ingredients!

Moving on to starters, we chose the lamb selection of the day (shoulder) and trout. The shoulder of lamb was a small portion but it was cooked to perfection. The trout was pan-fried but delicate and flaky, and it was served with the crispy skin on top – heaven! Both starters had simple preparations but they were cooked with finesse, and the sauce game was also on point. We chose to try both the tangy and herbal chimichurri as well as the creamy mustard dijonnaise. Both provided excellent flavor hits for protein.

Entrees were also served with a choice of two sides, which change according to the season. During our visit between the two of us, we tried roasted cauliflower, harissa roasted eggplant and a zucchini crepe. The cauliflower was golden and crispy, and the eggplant was also nice but we could have used more harissa flavor.

But our favorite was the zucchini crepe, which was substantial in size and had the texture of a regular crepe but full of zucchini. A sweet and savory tomato jam and fresh basil topped it all off. We loved the zucchini crepe so much that we were inspired to try making it at home, with our own tomato jam. (Spoiler alert, theirs was better!)

For dessert, we tried Coeur a la Crème which was goat cheese and cream whipped together and shaped into a heart shape, served with a luxurious blueberry compote and stunning edible flowers. Looking at it, we expected it to be rich like cheesecake, but it was the perfect balance of light and creamy.

We are excited to see Zozula back in action and to see such a great restaurant concept in the Alphabet City space. The menu manages to strike a delicate balance between familiar and unique flavors, while nestling comfortably between casual and upscale. We can’t wait to go back to try some of the sandwich options, as well as the Sunday brunch!

40 North is located at 40 W North Avenue on the North Side in the Alphabet City building.

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