We're not going to lie, we were a bit disappointed upon walking into Four Horsemen for the first time, the wine bar and restaurant owned by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. There was no symphony of noise recreating "All My Friends" to greet us. Instead, the door simply opened and closed without making a single sound. How anticlimactic for the man responsible for trying to turn subway turnstile beeps into "beautiful musical notes".
In the interest of placing all cards on the table, this review is written with a bit of a bias. We're huge LCD fans. James Murphy has been one of the most influential people in NYC's downtown/Brooklyn music scene over the past two decades, and the contents of LCD's music has a special way of "innocuously" penetrating different people for different reasons. LCD, James Murphy, and their label DFA helped shape mainstream culture, while still remaining indie, with just enough mainstream appeal. This is important context for this review because even though we're huge fans, we had a bad feeling that Murphy's foray into food and beverage might face "tribulations". But we were wrong. Four Horsemen far exceeded expectations.
Four Horsemen is a really cool little room. It's the kind of place you walk into and immediately think to yourself, "I can definitely hang out here. Let's drink." It feels like a more comfortable version of Momofuku Noodle Bar, and is filled with a hip but unpretentious crowd. The attention to detail is impressive, from the colorful knives and wooden spoons to the subtle design details, like the slats on the ceiling going in different directions, and the super cool texture on the walls. Also, the natural wine list is well-priced and expertly curated.
But the most pleasant surprise about Four Horsemen is the food. The menu is quite ambitious for a wine bar, and the dishes are both delicate and clearly executed by someone who knows what they're doing in the kitchen. James Murphy isn't cooking, but whoever is has it figured out. You'll find small plates that are easy to share, for building a nice meal around all the vino.
There may not be a symphony to greet you when you walk into Four Horsemen, but that's OK. There are plenty of other reasons to go. James Murphy, he can change, and he certainly isn't bringing anyone down. Haven't heard any Daft Punk playing at his new house yet though.
It's time to do research, aka, sample a lot of different wines. Get into it with your server and get tips on what to order. Definitely get an orange one, and a pink one. F*ck, paint the grape rainbow.
They are very serious about their bread at Horsemen. You should be too.
Crispy fried tats, drizzled with aioli and a tomato chipotle sauce. Yup, these are good.
The best dish on the menu, this finely cut, silky tartare is reminiscent of the tremendous tartare at Estela. We need to order seconds.
Jerky of the finger food variety. Tiny slabs of homemade spicy dried meat that definitely warrant consideration on your table.
They make really cool vegetable dishes at Four Horsemen, and we really enjoyed the cucumber salad with fennel, buckwheat, and roasted onions. It was a little spicy, a little refreshing, and a lot delicious.
Another really nice, well-balanced, well-textured vegetable dish. Snap peas are not usually exciting, but they are when mixed with chili, cashews, and a tasty ricotta salata. This dish packs some heat too, which was a nice surprise.
A silky pasta of fat noodles and shredded pork with melted ricotta and basil. After a couple glasses of wine, this pasta will taste like Del Posto's. It's still pretty good sober, too. Order it.