the promised land of speakeasies and misleadingly nondescript little restaurants, manhattan still offers some truly magnificent places that remain hidden at the ends of alleyways and backdoors.
freemans restaurant is located at the end of freeman alley, a tiny little opening on rivington, just off the bowery. entering you first note the clandestine lighting and traditional decor. on the walls are masses of taxidermy – a disturbingly prevalent trend in nyc restaurant design. the clientele is varied, but somewhat in the know, since although the restaurant was opened in 2004 it is not easy to find. the menu consists of american classic cuisine, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's only burgers and mac'n'cheese.
they take reservations for only parties of six and more, others are treated as walk-in's: completed parties, first come, first served basis. sometimes the wait can be long, but we secured our spot right after an immaculately mixed drink at the bar by the entrance – the girl working there has such a delicate touch and grace in mixology that it's definitely worth a few minutes admiring. depending on whether you enjoy getting in the mood for dinner by sipping a cocktail and people watching, freemans' policy may or may not suit your taste, but i surely felt it was like a soft landing towards sitting down to a cosy table amongst the carcasses.
the rustic menu is wholesome, but portions are not extravagant – although the hot artichoke dip (pic below) is quite enough for four people as an appetizer, costs 10$ and tastes heavenly. according to the lifestyle trends i described here before, they serve wild game, sustainable seafood and local organic produce. the wine list is old-world style and changes often with small specialty batches, organic and bio-dynamic wines.
pics both from freemans restaurant, tweaked by me.
as we enjoyed one of the best meals of our trip here, the place is definitely worth a visit even if the decor may give you the occasional chills.