As soon as my boyfriend and I walked into Little Owl tonight, we were warmly greeted by one of the owners (I think), who also shook hands with each of us on the way out. The same level of thought and care went into each of the dishes that we ordered tonight. I had the halibut, which was really wonderful. There was a generous portion of halibut with a golden brown crust on top that gave the fish a nice texture. The halibut had a very clean, fresh taste. This dish was served with green mashed potatoes, but I don't remember what ingredient made them green. My first bite was creamy and wonderful, but succeeding bites were a bit more grainy--perhaps because the fish juices had diluted the mashed potatoes. My boyfriend ordered the NY strip with radicchio, pancetta, and fennel. The steak was perfectly cooked and flavored. His only complaint was that there wasn't a side dish, just a garnish on top. I ordered the brownie cake for dessert off of the limited menu (about 5-6 items, including an ice cream and sorbet option). The cake was good.
There was a lot of eye candy at Little Owl--golden brown "crispy chicken," a thick slab of pork chop, plump shoft shell crabs, and huge scallops, among other offerings. I'm excited to go back.
I feel compelled to post because we were also there last night (and had been previously as well), but did not have such a pleasant experience as shirlotta.
1. We had a late-night reservation and waited a totally normal 10-15 minutes to be seated. Within seconds of being seated, however, our quasi-harried waitress tells us that we should "get our order in to the kitchen quickly before it closes" then proceeds to hover as if we will instantly comply. This is utterly ridiculous. If you can't treat late-night resos with the same grace as earlier ones, don't offer them!
Also, the waitress repeatedly tapped one friend's shoulder to get him to pay attention and order. Blech.
2. One person's substituted entree ingredient arrived 5 minutes after his entree, as a side.
3. My crispy chicken was half moist, half dry.
4. I only ate the greasy "bacon torta" lump that accompanied my chicken because I happened to be pretty hungry last night.
5. We finally surrendered our plates at the third attempt to wrest them away.
I know that I'm not mistaken about our feeble experience because we were given a gelato & mead peace offering, and exceptional personal attention by a co-owner as we were leaving.
While I appreciated his desire to fix a poor waitstaff/meal situation, this city is far too rich in restaurants for me to waste another visit to Little Owl.
ps - Yes, the scallops and sliders were tasty and well prepared. Whoopee.
re: Non Cognomina
The Little Owl also got a good writeup on NY Magazine's "Where to Eat" issue (1/8/06)
"...where the high quality of the cooking is out of all proportion with the room's unassuming style and pint-box size."
It's on my to-try list. (I just won't be going for a late dinner--thanks for the headsup)
i went to little owl yesterday night (sunday) around 7pm. there was no wait for the bar, so my boyfriend and i sat down immediately. the waitstaff was very friendly, and i loved the space - cozy with floor to ceiling windows taking advantage of the sweet w.village corner views. the building across the way has a little owl statue on the roof.
we shared the seared scallops over lobster risotto to start - this was excellent. it was the best part of our meal. the appetizer had been split between two plates (very considerate of them, since we hadn't requested this). the scallops were nicely seared and flavored, with a lovely brown crust. the risotto was flavored with spinach, pecorino (i think) and sizable lumps of lobster meat. delicious. for the main course, i had the halibut (over the corn and vegetables instead of the mashed potatoes). the halibut was a bit dry, actually, but still fairly good. my boyfriend got the crispy chicken, which was very tender, especially considering that it was all white meat. it was good but not spectacular, perhaps could have had more complex flavor. for dessert we had the strawberry custard and the raspberry beignets. the strawberry custard was baked and not quite what i expected, not very creamy but with a nice fresh strawberry taste. the raspberry beignets were lovely, the fluffy donuts each containing one fresh raspberry that had been folded into the batter. they were served with nutella - very good.
overall a very nice experience, but i'm not sure i'll be back there soon. good to try at least once!