When I find a good thing, I grasp it tightly and never let go. For instance: I still have (and regularly wear) clothes from high school, I've been using the same face soap and makeup for years, I refuse to write with anything other than a Pilot G-2 0.38 pens in black (though I cheat and use a Mont Blanc when I'm feeling fancy), etc. Similarly, when I come across a restaurant or bar I like, I'm happy to frequent it all too regularly, sometimes without ever varying the dish I order. When I lived in Brussels, that restaurant was Via Roma (I went often and had the same thing every time: salmon ravioli, the house wine and tiramisu for dessert, which I would share with my mother), in Boston it varies between Franklin Southie, Marliave, and Backbar, and if I lived in New York's West Village, that restaurant would definitely be Joseph Leonard.
What all these restaurants have in common is that they cater to a neighborhood and have a comfortable vibe that immediately makes you feel at home. What sets these places apart from other restaurants is the delicious food, the staff that remembers your name and the way you like your Manhattan, and the artistic detailing that makes their ambiance extra-special.
We went to Joseph Leonard on Sunday night. Our friend Oscar swears by it- says he goes every time he's back in NYC. When we walked into the tiny corner restaurant, I immediately knew I'd love it. I was charmed by everything from the chalk-board message to the open kitchen and soft light, and for the entire time we were crowded around our table, the world outside ceased to exist.
It's been four days since our dinner at Joseph Leonard and I'm still dreaming about the skate with potato puree, onion jam, arugula and lemon-caper brown butter sauce. Not to mention the side of roasted brussels sprouts topped with sriracha and the caramel mousse pudding (and I don't even like dessert, generally). Everyone at the table was supremely pleased with their meals as well as the overall dining experience, and we're not incredibly easy people to please. If you're in New York, be sure to stop in. I know I'm already looking forward to going again (and again and again!) when I'm next in the city.