Former Prune chef Ned Baldwin spent two and a half years looking at more than 60 different restaurant spaces around New York. Finally, on Sunday, he'll open his neighborhood "American" restaurant, Houseman in the far west reaches of Tribeca. The restaurant is named after a Norsk word, husmanskost, which means everyday Norwegian food. Baldwin says the idea of everyday American food is harder to define, but it's what he'll cook here along with fellow ex-Prune cook Adam Baumgart.
The menu, which is printed on newspaper along with the weather forecast, the date, and an old school news-style caricature drawn by an artist for the restaurant, changes daily, but not radically, says Baldwin. There idea is to change things slightly as new products come and go from the season and to swap out the menu's one large format dish each week. To start, that dish is a fried black sea bass with a green sauce inspired by the one at Great N.Y. Noodletown.
Other dishes on the menu are smaller and meant to be shared by the table. There's a bread and butter order with bread from Andrew Tarlow's bakery She Wolf; artichokes with walnuts, mushrooms, and rye berries; fried favas; and roasted spring chicken. There's also a burger made with two three-ounce patties topped with Swiss cheese, a mix of mushrooms and onions, and fried rosemary on a classic Martin's roll. "We're not trying to hit a home run, we're just trying to be a successful business that serves delicious food," says Baldwin.
The restaurant will open for dinner on Sunday and start weekday lunch service the second week of September. Check out the menu and some photos of the space below.
A peek inside the kitchen: