My favorite restaurants are the ones that do what they set out to do simply and well. No bells and whistles, just delicious food, nicely served. And that means that Pleasantry, the newest restaurant in OTR, is my new favorite place to dine.
Pleasantry is named after a street — the building sits at the corner of West 15th and Pleasant — but it’s also the perfect description of this polished-yet-easygoing gem of a restaurant. I couldn’t have been happier with the atmosphere or the food. Their motto — “Sip slow. Drink easy. Eat right” — feels so doable in this calm, inviting space that I returned for breakfast, lunch and dinner — although not in the same day!
The first time I went, I met a friend for lunch. Since I’d been coffeed to my max at a long morning meeting, I chose a chai latte ($3.50) from Pleasantry’s selection of daytime beverages. It was creamy and delicious, like a lighter, more refreshing grown-up chocolate milk.
I also enjoyed a most delightful chilled cucumber soup ($8), garnished with finely chopped mango and peppers, including a little jalapeño, fresh crabmeat and a dollop of what I thought was crème fraîche, but turned out to be even healthier Greek yogurt; it was still rich and delicious.
My friend’s Ancient Grains bowl ($8) was another sure winner, filled to the brim with healthy kale, quinoa and grilled veggies with a lemony vinaigrette. We shared a top-notch grilled cheese sandwich ($8) with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, kale and fresh herbed goat cheese on Sixteen Bricks multi-grain bread.
When Pleasantry added dinner service, I popped back over to check it out. They weren’t taking reservations (although they now do for parties of four or more), but luckily they weren’t crowded. I sat comfortably at the bar and watched the easy camaraderie among the staff. In a space as tiny as Pleasantry’s kitchen, it’s good to get along.
I was delighted to see red drum ($15) on the menu, a fish I’ve enjoyed in New Orleans but haven’t seen often around here. It’s seared crisp on top and served simply over a swirl of romesco sauce with a spoonful of olive tapenade and garlic chips. The fish was perfect, flavorful and flaky. The only element I didn’t like were a few slices of grilled leek — too harsh for my taste.
The server helped me select the perfect pour, Broc Cellars Love White ($6 for 3-ounces). It started tart but mellowed, and really held its own against the strong flavors of the fish and olives. Like all of Pleasantry’s wines, this one is organically produced and minimally processed.
I didn’t have room for an appetizer or dessert, but the roasted beets ($10) with ricotta, strawberries and country ham looked amazing, and I heard a lot of praise for the fried olives ($6) with bleu cheese.
So, finally, just to satisfy you loyal readers, I went back for thirds… errr, for breakfast, which is offered from 8-11 a.m. Monday through Saturday. I tried the Bloom kegged coffee on tap ($3.50) and it was super mellow. Usually, I add cream to iced coffee to take the edge off, but this was perfect as-is.
When you go, don’t miss the everything biscuit with cured salmon ($9.50). The “everything” part was all good — none of that garlic powder you sometimes encounter on an everything bagel. Instead, there was a delicious mix of caraway, sesame and poppy seeds on a rich square biscuit.
The salmon was perfect, and the cream cheese had been thinned to a sauce, which was garnished with fennel pollen from Carriage House Farm and a tiny bit of fresh parsley salad with capers and mild red onion.
I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the toast selections, too: avocado with veggies ($6), herbed goat cheese with lavender honey ($7) and pimento with country ham ($7), all served on Sixteen Bricks bread.
Pleasantry’s space is defined by its historic building setting, with white brick walls and a narrow, long dining room. The outdoor patio is very inviting, bright and airy with shady seats on the north edge. Many solo diners had staked their claim on the teak tables, with laptops open and coffee at hand.
Three visits and three delicious meals later, the only nit I can pick with Pleasantry is that their chocolate chip cookies could use a pinch of salt.
If this ever-so-minor flaw keeps the crowds away, all the more room for me to sip, drink and eat at Pleasantry.