Greene Hook is new in town. It is rough around the edges, ready for refinement, but full of promise. Imbalance and excess were apparent throughout the regular menu items and the Hudson Restaurant Week prix fixe menu. Not only did the dishes feel unperfected, but also the fluidity of the eatery has not yet reached full potential. But, Greene Hook is on its way.
The Spanish octopus starter from the main menu was scrumptious and layered. The octopus was tender and delicious with a fatty, succulent feel. It was the reference point for the feel of the other elements of the dish: surprise avocado echoed the texture of the octopus, while slinky shishito peppers paired with the slinky yuzu-compressed cucumber. The charred purple pink of octopus stood out against the melee of greens and the frizzy tempura, but each element combined to delight the senses.
The skin of the entrée duck breast was crispy, whereas the center was almost over done, so the meat lost that gamey lusciousness that is associated with duck. Cashew crumble offered a richness that is already innate in duck, while sweet tart pickled grapes cut the decadence of the meat. A sunchoke puree brought a creamy element to the dish, its color and flavor matching the roasted turnips. Green beans brought color and freshness to the plate, helping with equilibrium.
Proportions were off in the prix fixe pork belly appetizer— not enough crispiness to forgive the fat of the pork belly, not enough meat to savor the flavor, not enough peach to cleanse the palate, and not enough corn pudding to usher in summer. The peach and corn pudding were nice touches, helping to tip the scale towards balance, but the greasy fat outweighed and overwhelmed all, leaking into the golden yellow pool, contaminating it. The concept and aesthetics were on point, but its execution underwhelmed.
One of the prix fixe offerings is the Scottish salmon entrée. The salmon had a beautiful crust, salty and substantial, but the meat itself was overwrought. The dish was buttery and drowning in that luxurious savoriness without enough relief. Momentary reprieve was found in the thin disks of peppery radish that were fresh and crisp. Even the earthy Swiss chard could not escape the relentless butter notes. The deep green vegetable could have deepened flavor profile and lightened the monotone heaviness through contrast. The bacon, chewy and crunchy, contributed to the buttery decadence with a meaty sharp saltiness.
A non-conventional crème brûlée was the dessert course of the prix fixe meal. Part of what is so delightful about crème brûlée is texture and the play of warm and cold, the satisfying crack of the brûléed sugar crust, the custard smooth as silk. The modified crème brûlée managed to encapsulate similar flavors with the addition of too dense, too thick, immutable chocolate ganache. The texture of the middle layer was grainy and not completely effortless, while the foam was fun yet almost flavorless. The play on the classic needed a shock of intensified flavor and further play with consistency.
Greene Hook has some innovative and attractive offerings, but it is still quite green. With settling, the bar eatery can be a real regular spot in the neighborhood and a delicious addition to the Paulus Hook community.
There are only a few days left of Hudson Restaurant Week. Take advantage of the deals. See some of foodie ventures previous #HudsonRW adventures here.