I was in New York most of the weekend visiting my friend, and Friday night’s dinner was at Freemans restaurant. This little spot is tucked away, quite literally, at the end of Freeman’s Alley off Rivington between Chrystie and Bowery on the Lower East Side.
To say the menu is rustic is an understatement. Dishes are meat-centric and with a clear focus on game. When venison, elk, wild boar and various fish appear on your menu, simply prepared and seasoned with a variety of herbs, I know I’ve found my restaurant version of home.
“The idea of the restaurant was to make a rugged clandestine colonial American tavern. The cuisine was also imagined to be early American: simple, rustic and inspired by old world traditions.”
Yes! Yes, I can get behind your colonial American tavern! I had the Hunter’s Stew that night, while my friends had the Arctic Char and Five-Cheese Macaroni and each dish was robust without being complicated and definitely not fussy.
We weren’t there for the cocktails, but I can easily see how plopping down at the tiny bar for a nosh and a drink could become a habit if I lived in the city. The drinks menu features 9 hand crafted cocktails, divided into wine-like categories such as “light and easy” and “dark and complex” making it easy to pair a cocktail with your mood.
The decor carries the rustic/American colonial theme to create a dark and cozy mood for the spot. If you don’t like the visual of a stuffed geese poised to fly off its wall placard or deer heads and antlers hanging as a reminder of what you’re about to eat – then this might not be your spot. It might sound rough, but Freeman’s seems to also have procured every last piece of reclaimed wood, tea light candles and woodsy vegetation for its decor, which softens up the “honey I’m home with a deer on my hood” feeling.
You can follow Freemans on Twitter, but the next time you’re in New York City I definitely recommend putting this on your to-do list.