They don't call it the city that never sleeps for nothing, and fittingly everything in New York seems to take place later than a neophyte like me is used to. Brunch before noon is frowned upon; dinner can be consumed any time until the wee hours; and yesterday we ate a memorable lunch at 6pm after a languid, delicious happy hour(s) at Back Forty.
This laidback East Village eatery champions seasonal, local ingredients - simple food done damn good. After a bike ride we perched up at the bar, delighted to discover that all drinks are half price from 4-7pm Sundays. When they're five bucks, why wouldn't you test each of the cocktail options? We started with the new Bite of the Concords, made with muddled concord grapes and lemon-thyme. So fabulous, as was the Back Forty (basically a whiskey sour with maple syrup), a classic gin martini and the gin and prosecco concoction. The friendly bartender swore by the Red & Black though, an unlikely sounding margarita with strawberries and black pepper. My companions agreed that this was their favourite.
By the time the kitchen opened at 6pm, we'd had plenty of time to plan our attack on the menu. And despite how long we had to get our expectations up, the food was fantastically good. We started with the Kale Caesar Salad (with fried chickpeas and white anchovies), and a seasonal special of clams cooked in beer, with bacon and black-eyed peas:
For mains we reveled in a rare and tasty Ancho Pepper Lamb Sausage served with chickpeas, and the amazing Goats Cheese Stuffed Fried Squash Blossoms, with a summer succotash on the side. We didn't leave a scrap on our plates.
Finally a plate of oven-warm cookies - peanut butter and double choc - nestled up to a caramel-pecan slice rounded out the evening sweetly. I'll definitely be hoping to eat (and drink) at Back Forty again!