Something New Yorkers often hear about in their day-to-day is what new restaurant opened in what trendy up and coming neighborhood. Well, last night, Neal and I went to just such a new trendy restaurant called Niche Niche. It’s located on the border of SoHo and the Village. The owner is Ariel Arce, who happened to also be our wine curator last night! She also owns Tokyo Record Bar and Air Champagne Parlor, and is apparently opening a new place soon.
Niche Niche purports to be a sort of dinner-party for a bunch of strangers. It’s a small place that serves dinner at 6pm and 8pm, and then wine and a la carte food at 10 and 10:30. You don’t get to pick off a menu. Each night, a different sommelier curates their favorite wines and a chef builds a menu around those wines. Everyone eats the same thing, but you can tell them if you have dietary restrictions and/or allergies and they will adjust the meal for you. The menu is a mirror in the back:
When we walked in, a line of women with already poured glasses of champagne greeted us. They gave us a glass and showed us to our seats. The host last night, Sarah, introduced herself, the team, the concept behind Niche Niche, and our wine expert for the night. Ours was Ariel, who has made champagne her first love for most of the last decade. She told us about the wines we would be tasting and let the chef explain the menu. Our table had an adorable place setting.
Then we got started with the meal. The first course was a charcuterie board.
As you can see, there was spiced butter that was really really good, an apple spread that was delicious, a really great hard cheese, a brie, and some prosciutto. The olives and pickles were also really yummy (how can you go wrong?) and I would love to know where the bread was from because mmmmmmmmmm. And I’m not much of a bread person.
Then they brought out fluke crudo with caviar. Neal got to enjoy this dish. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a veggie option for this course. They offered a salad, but a salad came with the entree, so I opted to forgo a second salad. All was good, though, I was getting full already anyway!
I honestly thought this was grapefruit slices when it first came out. Yup, you can tell I’m not a fish person.
The next course was the main meal: rock shrimp pasta with salad and…pizza? Yup, Niche Niche paired up with a local pizza shop down the street to add a little somethin’ to the meal. They made me a veggie pasta and it was really good! The crumble on top made the pasta for sure. Neal loved the rock shrimp. The pizza, though misplaced in that setting, was good, too.
I loved the dishes at this place. Everyone got different types of bowls and plates. I wanted to take these home!
For dessert, they hooked up with a local pastry chef to make us apple pie with fresh cream on top. I fell in love immediately. Neal was not as impressed and I don’t know why. The crust was perfect, the filling was so good and that cream! Oy, despite being so full, I was in heaven.
The real star of Niche Niche is supposed to be the wine. Last night’s wine theme was champagne because that’s Ariel’s thang. She knows champagne and she was excited to share it with us. She found 3 young champagnes and 3 vintage champagnes for us to try. The main attraction was from her birth year. They are pretty generous with the pours in terms of never leaving you with an empty glass. I think they may be more generous when it’s not champagne. That stuff is expensive! And delightful, I might add.
Throughout the night, the wait staff are willing and appear happy to engage with you about any of the wines. We talked to our waitress and to Ariel about the different champagnes. I learned that two of the types of grapes used in champagne are actually red wine grapes. I also learned that champagne is best served in a magnum bottle because it gives the champagne more room to breathe and create bubbles during the second fermentation. The chef came to our table as well to discuss the veggie options, which I thought was nice (though I felt a little bad that they would clearly prefer a uniform meal). You’re supposed to make friends with your neighbors, but I actually don’t think it’s set up well for that. They separate out the tables into your party size. If you want us to mingle, put the tables together! Then we would have become besties.
Once the meal and wine was over, it’s over. You only have a 2 hour time slot and they need to get the next group in. I was surprised so much time had passed. I never felt like I was waiting or bored. This place comes with a hefty price tag, though I think it’s a fair price for what you get. It’s about $200 for two. I am going back next month with a friend, and will update this post to talk about the repeat experience!
I also love walking through this part of Manhattan. It’s so beautiful, especially at sunset. We wandered a bit before and after to take in more of the area.
We hope you enjoyed our story! It’s part of our A Day in the Life series where we chronicle our days and give folks an idea of what locals in NYC do to have fun. We’re always looking for new things to do and share!
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