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The Early Word: HQ

After suffering through an opening week hiccup—technical difficulties shuttered the place on Tuesday and Wednesday after a Monday opening—new Soho bistro HQ is definitively serving food again. A special Eater correspondent ducked in last night and offers a short report:

I went to HQ last night about two hours after it opened officially (again). I liked the experience and would return—and the restaurant was much further along than 5 Ninth in its early weeks. (Not that I would put the two in the same category, but at least at HQ I didn't get stuck in the ladies room because door handles had yet to be installed on the inside.)

The atmosphere at HQ is crisp and modern yet warm (The Harrison meets main floor of Il Bagatto?). The lighting is bright, which along with the newness and "extras" standing around eager to do well gave it a movie set feel from the outside and an Apprentice/Kitchen Confidential ambiance on the inside. I was informed dimmers will be installed, which will help considerably. In the meantime, the bright lights showed off the shiny tin ceiling, sleek fans and unique wine glass chandelier.

For the food and drink scoop, read on after the jump.
At the bartender's encouragement I tried a sparkling white cosmo - very tasty and not too sweet, though not exactly sparkling. The martini glass was a little clunky for my taste. There were a handful of tables and a few folks at the bar when I arrived. We were seated at the end of the banquette, which I think was intended to give us space from the other diners, but since the banquette ended at the waiters station, and there weren't many tables to wait on, we felt rather surrounded a good part of the time.

I was eager to try several things on the menu but settled on an appetizer to share and two entrees to split with my dining companion. The pork belly app and snapper entree were the best. Nothing blew me away, but all were enjoyable and I would certainly return another night.

· Eater Dish: HQ [~E~]