Joseph Leonard is 650 square feet of seriously hyped restaurant. By my estimation that makes about four bloggers per square foot that wrote it up based on a pencil sketch and insider information from a delivery guy. I guess that makes us late to the game.
So while we won't exactly follow suit and take you through the place of origin of every antique light fixture and picture frame in the building, we will tell you this - it looks like a tastefully furnished studio apartment that's 50% bar (my kind of apartment). It's also pretty obvious that the restaurant was conceived in the spirit of Little Owl.
Every inch of space serves a purpose, including the upper level bar seats, perfectly engineered for surveying the action while you eat. The menu is American with both French and Southern touches, and while dinner is generally better than brunch, it's a nice place to dine any time of day. We like it and will visit often - a new West Village go-to even - but you'll find that all that hype is pretty hard to live up to. Don't look to us if you go in expecting a religious experience and come away a little disappointed. That's what you get for spending too much time on Yelp.
People rave about this. It's exactly what it sounds like - toast that has become soggy from pan drippings, covered in mushrooms and a poached egg. Its a nice dish, but I wouldn't put it in my "poached eggs make everything better" hall of fame.
Steak au Poivre
Very well executed, and ridiculously good, this might be my favorite thing on the menu at J. Leonard. I swear there is more going on with the seasoning here than just black pepper...maybe some star anise? It doesn't matter, it's tasty. Oh yeah, and it sits on top of scalloped potatoes cooked in duck fat.
Crispy Braised Pork Hock
We've had plenty of pork hock and shank in our lives, but this one stands out because it has an incredibly tasty and crispy skin. Thank you deep fryer. Also the greens on the plate were surprisingly tasty. Might have been the most flavorful pile of arugula I've had. It's amazing what a difference a correctly seasoned salad makes.
Brussels Sprouts with Sriracha
Sriracha makes everything better, and you know this.
Nice because it's served on a croissant, and we like that. This is a good brunch option, and comes with some of those brussels sprouts.
Saucisson a L’ail
One of the better things we've had a Joseph Leonard, brunch or otherwise. Excellent hand made pork sausages with a huge extra crunchy hash brown on the plate. Order this and a bloody mary with a beer chaser and you'll be feeling like a million bucks.
Biscuits and Gravy
The homemade biscuits were nice, but the gravy was too light and not porky enough. Having biscuits and gravy on the menu is cute and all, but please don't tease me. There should be so much thick gravy on the plate that I can't see the biscuits, but merely sense their presence.