A Classic New York Restaurant, Anton’s, Opens In The West Village
There’s a fantastic dish at Anton’s called Bucatini Baczynski, which combines a pile of that thick, tangly pasta, cooked to al dente perfection, with sweet, porky chunks of City Ham from J. Baczynski, the peerless Ukrainian butcher in the East Village. The fat, drippy slice of Hudson Rarebit pays proper respect to that venerable tavern staple with sharp Jasper Hill Cheddar, housemade bechamel, and bread from Balthazar. And just the name Pan-Roasted Schmaltz Potatoes brings to mind too-boisterous meals at Sammy Roumanian.
Anton’s, which opened this week in the West Village, is filled with homages to old-school New York institutions and classic European dishes, and because the chef-owner is Nick Anderer, formerly of Marta, Martina, and Mailaino, the food all up and down the menu is excellent. The name has history too: Anton is Anderer’s great great grandfather, who arrived in NYC from Germany in 1850. And the building itself is that Greek Revival beauty on the corner of Hudson and West 11th Street, one-time home to Anton’s co-owners Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo’s Italian spot, Frankies 570.
In other words, there’s a lot to be excited about here and, based on a single, enormous dinner earlier this week, Anderer, general manager and beverage director Natalie Johnson, and the rest of the Anton’s crew are ready to deliver on the hype. The menu has a lot good stuff going on, but you’ll want to spend as much time in the Macaroni section as possible. In addition to that Bucantini, there’s a terrific Angel Hair Francese, served lemony with lots of breadcrumb crunch, that Anderer lifted from the nearby, 100-year-old Gene’s; and hearty Lasagnettes covered in beef shin and lamb’s neck ragu. Linguini with Clams, Spaghetti Anchoiade, and Spinach Ravioli are your other options here.
The pasta is superb, but the good times at Anton’s definitely don’t stop there. The Fish and Meat section features a gorgeous sliced-up slab of Hanger Steak set upon a sea of melted onions, with bushels of parsley on top; Porgy and Prawn a la Manhattan, the seafood bobbing in a bright red broth; and a Grilled Pork Chop with Applesauce. There are a half dozen “bar bites” that you’ll want on your table (or with a drink at the bar), including the Rarebit, a pairing of Baczynski’s City Ham and Country Ham (it’s difficult to overstate how good this stuff is), a Cup of Chicken Broth, and Oysters and Clams on the half-shell, served either raw or broiled.
The stealth winner of the night might have been the simple, impossibly fluffy and flavorful cheese Omelette buried beneath a tangy green salad. (And next time I’m going to try the Red Aubergine Pureé with Burnt Toast.) The Baby Broccoli with Anchovy was a serviceable side dish, but I think the Chopped Spinach a la Noialles, described as “creamed spinach without the cream,” might have been the better order.
The room is pretty, romantic, and welcoming. The layout is the same as it was for Frankies—bar on the left, big dining area to the right, VIP-ish banquette nook in the back—but for Anton’s they brought in several big custom-made tables, still life paintings by a Georgian artist (there’s currently one more en route, it’s currently stuck in customs at JFK), and vintage lighting fixtures. It has the potential to be one of those restaurants that makes you feel as if you’ve walked into a fun party, but then are given enough private space for easy intimacy.
Anton’s is located at 570 Hudson Street, at the corner of West 11th, and is now open for dinner on Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. There’s also brunch on weekends starting at 11 a.m, and lunch on Fridays at noon (antonsnyc.com)