Fedora is permanently closed
photo credit: Teddy Wolff
At one point in your life, you had a dream. It involved a townhouse with hardwood floors and perfectly-level art on the walls. There, you’d host dinner parties, and, near the end of them, someone would summarize something they’d read in the New Yorker. And you’d just sit there with a cup of decaf, thinking about how nice it is not being that person.
Maybe you had this dream for a while, or maybe it occurred briefly when you passed a Banana Republic and stared too long at the window display. If it happens to still be a dream of yours, we recommend you go to Fedora.
Fedora is a restaurant in the West Village from the same people who own Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey’s Grocery, and Bar Sardine. It’s one narrow room in the basement of a townhouse, and it feels like a casual dinner party at the home of a person who’s been to Milan at least twice. It’s dark and intimate, and, while it isn’t new anymore, the whole place seems to be getting better with time.
The menu here follows a pretty familiar formula: brussels sprouts, pork belly, roasted chicken, and other things that you’ve thought about making before drinking half a bottle of wine and ordering delivery. It might not sound exciting, and it isn’t going to win the James Beard award for Best Weird-Ass Modern Food - but it’s comforting, and you’ll finish all of it. The roasted chicken, for example, is one of the best in NYC, and the brussels sprouts have enough bacon and butter to qualify as an alternative fuel source.
So maybe don’t come here with someone who uses a napkin to take the grease off their pizza. But do come with a friend who’s had either a very good or very bad week. As soon as you walk down the steps and open the front door, your friend will feel just a little bit better. And, once inside, you’ll find a restaurant that’s as fancy as you make it - by all means, put on something you can’t afford and have a date night here. Just know that the servers all wear t-shirts, and, as a rule, that means you can as well.
Factor in the possibly-vinyl soundtrack coming from a small speaker in the corner, and what you get is a place that feels less like a restaurant and more like a living room that was converted into a supper club. The employees treat you like a friend, and the food is all exceptional - but still within the realm of what you could plausibly make at home. Which is to say, this place is the fulfillment of your West-Village-dinner-party dream. Use it accordingly.
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Chicken can be pretty boring, but this is actually one of the better things to eat in NYC. It’s crispy and perfectly cooked, and there’s foie gras in the mix somewhere.
Braised Short Rib
If you’re the sort of person who needs beef, order this. It falls apart under your fork and comes with an assortment of cooked and raw vegetables that you can snack on.
The steak tartare here comes mixed with little croutons and topped with trout roe. It’s smokey and salty and reminds us of a bonfire by the ocean, with a cow present. This is a good thing.
For some reason, these taste like butter and bacon. Maybe it’s all the butter and bacon. Order them.
We’re curious what they do with the rest of this egg. But that isn’t important. If pork belly is something that you order, this won’t disappoint.
A pile of slightly spicy sautéed greens with bits of ham hock. This is what all greens should taste like, and you might be able to convince yourself that these are healthy.