photo credit: Noah Devereaux
If you’ve ever eaten at the Cheesecake Factory, you might remember the fried avocado egg rolls. You probably remember the red velvet cheesecake. But you definitely remember the menu.
200+ items long and laminated like your Great Aunt Mary in Boca’s couch cushions, the Cheesecake Factory menu is - especially when you’re under the age of 15 - a sight to behold. Few things are more thrilling than knowing you could have literally any type of 3,000-calorie meal at your fingertips.
Why are we still talking about the Cheesecake Factory? Because while the meals here might not be 3,000 calories, Loring Place is great for the same reason: options. Lots of options.
Filled with people who have most likely never stepped foot in a Cheesecake Factory, Loring Place is a kind of fancy Greenwich Village restaurant owned by the chef who once made vegetables a very big deal at ABC Kitchen. Which means, unsurprisingly, there are a lot of vegetables here, too. But there are also many other things - not quite 200 of them, but a long menu’s worth of them, running the spectrum from very healthy to a bacon cheeseburger.
Whether you’re looking to eat just vegetables, or pizza and pasta, or grilled fish and duck, or fried chicken, or that burger, you can order with confidence at Loring Place. Everything is good. Several things are excellent. It’s not going to rock your world, but you’ll go home happy.
Loring Place already feels like an old reliable, and not just because of the food - it’s also run like a well-oiled machine. The design is simple but attractive. The food comes out quickly. There’s a killer private dining room. The servers wear crisp white shirts and chambray aprons, and while they’re extremely nice, you also get the sense that they’ve undergone a Marines-level of training. It’s a little loud, but judging by the crowds - from a couple on their 17th wedding anniversary, to women in leather pants annoyed to be waiting for a table, to a group of cool grandparents in from Westchester - people don’t seem to care.
With a lot of new restaurants, you often feel the need to get there as fast as possible. Maybe because you think you’ll see Gwyneth Paltrow, or because you’ve been told they might stop serving their chickpea-water-cocktail or their “bloody” beet burger. Loring Place isn’t like that. It’s simply the kind of consistent restaurant you can bank on for your next girls’ night out, or a birthday dinner for your mom (if she has good hearing), or a date night when you want to feel kind of healthy. The Cheesecake Factory isn’t going anywhere anytime soon - and neither is Loring Place.
Baked Ricotta & Roasted Kabocha
We would not blame you for thinking that squash should not be invited to this cheese/carb party. But you are wrong. This one of the best things you can eat at Loring Place, and we will be coming back here just for this.
A very good, very refreshing bite. Get it on the table if your other starters are of the mostly crispy/fried variety.
Crispy, Spiced Cauliflower
Not sure when exactly cauliflower went from being everyone’s least favorite thing on their dinner plate to completely losing their sht over it, but this is one example of why. Tempura-battered cauliflower, with a really tangy lemon sauce and chiles. You want this. Maybe two of them.
Wood-Grilled Broccoli Salad
Our favorite of the small plates, after the ricotta and squash. It’s basically a big bowl of grilled broccoli, with a bunch of other flavors and textures to keep things way more interesting than just broccoli. This is also a bigger portion than most of the other small plates.
Another fried vegetable, but this one is just plagiarism. And you end up just being sad they’re not french fries. Feel free to skip these, especially if you already have the crispy cauliflower.
Leeks & Pears
True to ABC Kitchen form, Loring Place is all about matchmaking with produce you don’t often see together. Turns out, leeks and pears are soulmates. Or at least really enjoying each other’s company right now. These are covered in yogurt sauce, sweet vinaigrette, and walnuts.
Brussels Sprouts Pizza
To be clear, we’re not sure we can actually call a thing with cheddar cheese instead of sauce a pizza. But this crust-thing (flatbread?) with brussels sprouts, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese is very tasty. A good thing to split amongst several people, but not necessary if it’s just two of you.
A curly pasta with crab meat, jalapeño, mint, lemon, and breadcrumbs that’s surprisingly light. Not a G.O.A.T. pasta by any means, but you’ll be happy with it.
At the same place where you could easily build an entire meal of vegetables, you can also get yourself a damn good burger. With bacon. We feel understood.
Duck isn’t our normal entree of choice, but this is excellent. A perfectly-cooked breast over a sweet sauteed kale mixture thing. Noteable only because we’re pretty sure this is the only mention of kale on the menu, and that is exciting.
Roasted Short Rib
When it comes to the bigger proteins, you don’t get a whole lot of bang for your buck here - these are still pretty small. Keep it in mind, especially with something like the short rib: a perfectly good version, but you’d be better off investing in a few of the other, more interesting small plates.
If you’re familiar with Dairy Queen, you’re familiar with the Blizzard. This takes that genius creation and turns it into something that will haunt you late at night. It’s worth every penny of its $12 price, even though, yes, it really is just a fancy fast-food dessert. Eat this or live a lesser life.
Loring Place is all about the upmarket twists on downmarket desserts. This one isn’t anywhere near as mind-blowing as the Blizzard, but it’s a chocolate cupcake with cream filling, so yeah, you’ll enjoy yourself.