Dropping into The Shop on Washington Street feels like stepping into a work of art. Its interior was designed and built by their team to resemble an urban setting, as seen in the exposed red brick wall, which was restored by the owners to give off a metropolitan loft vibe, and the wooden dining tables, which were constructed by hand.
Shortly after being seated, we were greeted by an enthusiastic waiter who gave us our menu. This year, The Shop is offering a three-course meal for a fixed price of $12 for lunch and $20 for dinner. For those on the run, the courses can be all at once, though if you are expecting to stick around longer, each course can be ordered separately. Our waiter explained that the cuisine of the cafe was inspired by French, Mediterranean and American flavors drawn from the owners’ travels around the world.
The first course consisted of appetizers, most of which were vegetarian options and seemed fairly healthy. I tried the chickpea hummus with chili sambal (a type of hot sauce), olive oil and corn tortilla chips. The hummus was very smooth with bits of chili, which was pretty spicy and added a kick to the seemingly plain appearance and taste of the hummus. The chips were a bit salty, so for some, this appetizer might be overpowering.
The six main courses offered for Restaurant Week are diverse, ranging from an organic quinoa and spinach salad to smoked pork and roasted red pepper eggplant-whip savory crepe. With upscale options and sophisticated flavors, the $20 price was fair.
For an entree, I chose the roasted chicken flatbread pizzetta, which was topped with spinach, garlic, ricotta, mozzarella, provolone and red wine vinaigrette. I was very pleased with my flatbread not just for its presentation, but also for its homemade taste and simplicity. It contained whole ingredients, so I was able to taste every part of my meal. The crust was fluffy but also a little crispy at the ends, which I prefer over a slightly burnt or doughy crust. My past restaurant experiences with flatbread usually ended in every topping falling off the dough, though to my pleasure, everything stayed in place here and was not messy at all. The portion size was perfect for just one person, too.
I was most excited for dessert, which was a fruit crepe sprinkled with powdered sugar and house-made whipped cream. The crepe had just enough sweetness, and the spread was perfectly sweetened and did not taste processed at all. I especially loved the fruit paired with the whipped cream, which was so light it melted on the tongue and had a cooling effect inside the mouth against the warm dough. The dough was spongy and extremely thin, resembling the texture of a traditional French crepe.
The Shop succeeds its intimate and relaxing atmosphere paired with a tasty three-course meal for a reasonable price. Particularly for those especially in love with New York City and homesick for its unique dishes and aesthetically pleasing cafes, The Shop is the perfect place to visit.