My idea of a perfect Friday night has changed quite a bit throughout the years. When I first moved to the city, it was taking a nap after work, getting up and going out at midnight, dancing and drinking with some friends and many strangers until the sun started to come up. Now, my idea of a perfect Friday night is meeting up for dinner, sharing a lot of wine, grabbing a nightcap and heading home. And that’s exactly what I did last Friday night with a small group of girlfriends.
We snagged a terrific outdoor table which was perfect for all the SoHo people watching. It’s funny – I’ve been on the Upper West Side for years now – and for those of you who aren’t familiar with the different neighborhoods in New York, where I live might as well be the suburbs. There’s lot of babies and puppies and while people still have a certain fashion, it’s nothing like sitting on a sidewalk in SoHo on a Friday night. We even had the pleasure of watching this weird dude stand out front of his car all night while strangers sat in it and took pictures. It was like one of those wood cutouts of bodies that you stick your face in and pose for pictures. He even had a spare helmet for people to try on. I’m not joking.
Aside from the people watching, I loved the ambiance of Jack’s Wife Freda (ha. That sounds funny). It was small but cute – wooden tables and chairs inside and a giant communal table. The wine served in “carafes” which might as well been bottles, and the unpretentious non-wine glasses we drank out of gave it a laid back yet adorable feel.
But let’s talk about the food. Because afterall, isn’t that the best part? There were a lot of starters and sharing plates that were veggie friendly, and we decided to start with the cauliflower and fried zucchinis. There was some sort of white sauce on the cauliflower that I wasn’t prepared for -but upon tasting it I was pretty sure it was tahini. If you’re a strict vegan, definitely ask before partaking.
The cauliflower was delicious, it was roasted and served with lots of parsley and what I think were capers. It was mild but still flavorful. And the zucchini – well, I generally can’t find anything bad to say about anything fried. Especially zucchini. I didn’t try the sauce, since I’m 99% sure it was some sort of mayo base – just judging from how it looked.
For the main course, I was so excited for the vegetable curry. Luckily, I asked about the chutney that came with it – if anyone else has a strange mango allergy like I do – order it without the chutney. It will still be delicious. I promise.
In fact, it was so delicious that despite the fact I told myself I was going to take half home to eat the next day for lunch, I ate it all in one sitting. It was spicy and super flavorful. The vegetables were perfectly cooked, nothing was mushy and the cous cous instead of the traditional rice was a surprisingly delicious swap. The portion was huge (why I wanted to take half home) and it was so fragrant that the girls at the table next to us leaned in and asked what I had ordered because it smelled so good. How many times does the vegetarian dish get so many compliments at a very non-vegetarian restaurant? I made everyone at the table take a bite and they all agreed – simply delicious.
The other girls also loved their dishes and the bill was actually very reasonable for SoHo and counting the 3 “carafes” of wine we consumed while catching up and enjoying a great night of girl talk. While the night may be different from the nights of my early 20s, I can’t think of a better way to spend it than by having great food with cheap good wine and fantastic conversation. If you find yourself in SoHo, pop on in to Jack’s Wife Freda. You won’t be disappointed. And if the guy with the funny car is there – please, take a picture and share it with me. 🙂