Considering just how many restaurants are in the West Village, it can be shockingly difficult to find one that you’ll actually want to go back to. Most fall somewhere on the spectrum of aggressively mediocre to overpriced and boring. The Noortwyck, a “seasonally-driven” spot opened by two EMP alumni, is a refreshing diversion. It’s the kind of place where you can eat flawless food in a stylish-yet-low-key setting.
A lot of places with menus this extensive have some dead weight. Here, that’s not the case. The menu is divided into five sections: snack-y things, raw bar things, salad-y things, pastas, and mains. Even seemingly uninspired dishes like oysters have some surprises like sweet-and-sour stone fruits in lieu of mignonette, and the pasta here is better than the pasta at most places that specialize in the stuff. Then there’s the dessert menu, a triumph unto itself, and arguably our favorite course. If you’re coming with just one other person, choose one dish from each section, then double up on dessert.
The food is elevated, for sure, but the feeling of the space is distinctly chill. You could have a special occasion meal here, but it’s almost better suited to after work catch-ups at the bar and low-key date nights with someone you’ve lived with for years. The room strikes a delicate balance between minimalism and warmth, with rich details like leather and velvet banquettes and a chic black-and-white tiled floor that make you feel like you’re hanging out in someone’s extremely well-appointed pied-à-terre.
This relaxed atmosphere paired with food that tastes like it has a graduate degree in haute cuisine is what makes The Noortwyck give us warm, cozy feelings. It’s rare to find a plate of truffle-covered pasta that renews our faith in truffles at a place where you can show up in your comfiest T-shirt. Since the menu changes so often, you’ll want to become a regular. We recommend doing just that.
They change the garnish on these depending on what’s in season. At the peak of summer, we had Peeko oysters with cherry and raspberry. They were bright, with a pungent hit of acid and a mellow fruity finish. It made us want to reserve a table in October so we can see what the fall oysters here are like.
Seeded Parker House Roll with Cultured Butter
It’s really, really hard to make whole wheat bread light and fluffy. The fact that this pull-apart roll feels like an everything bagel and a down pillow had a baby is the first sign that you’re about to have a great meal.
If just seeing the word “crudo” on yet another menu makes you want to roll your eyes, resist and order this anyway. The crudo here really does highlight the flavors of the fish rather than relying on jazzy garnishes and dressings, though the garnishes and dressings are also very good. On a recent visit, we found ourselves mopping up the tangy dressing from fluke crudo with the last scraps of a parker house roll.
There are a few salad options on the menu, and you should choose whichever one features produce that speaks to your soul. On an August visit, we spent a long time choosing between an heirloom tomato dish and peaches with burrata. We went with tomatoes and were served the best of the various elevated tomato dishes we ate all summer.
The pasta at The Noortwyck is handmade and built around, you guessed it, seasonal ingredients. It’s better than what you’ll get at 95% of Italian restaurants in NYC. We had a sweet corn and truffle agnolotti that we can’t stop thinking about.
The menu here tends to lean a little seafood-heavy, and that’s not a bad thing. The fish mains we’ve had strike that light-but-flavorful balance that so many restaurants seem to struggle with. The meatier options are rich and smoky. We like those too, but we don’t love any of the bigger plates as much as we love the smaller ones.
You could sit at the bar at The Noortwyck and have salad, cocktails, and dessert. For us, that’s kind of an ideal situation. We couldn’t stop eating a banana mille-feuille with impossibly thin layers of pastry or a deconstructed concoction made from chocolate cake crumbs and a subtly salty ganache. If we have a complaint, it’s that the ice creams served with the desserts are so good that we want more than just a little fine dining-style quenelle.