The Porch at Collier has been open a week or so, in the greatly renovated former Hong Li space, next door to Big Easy Grill and the new location of Verde. I’ve been eagerly waiting for both of these restaurants to open due to the shortage of casual eating/drinking within stumbling distance of my home. The food was terrible at Fox and Hounds, but it was my go-to spot for a quick beer or three.
I’ve been to Verde twice now and think it’s solid within its genre. They changed the salsa recipe last week, and it’s improved. They really did a lot of work on that space, it’s very spacious and cool, easily a place to watch a bunch of football. While the food format is very similar to Taqueria del Sol, I like that there’s table service and it’s more of a place you can hang for a bit.
Back to the point. I was on the way to lunch in Midtown but discovered I had a blown tire so I put on the spare and decided to stay close to home, thus my chance to visit The Porch. Helmed by Ryan Stewart, formerly of The Glenwood, Eno, and Farmstead 303, the Porch at Collier is a big space, with an amazing roof top (just in time for Winter!), with a feel somewhere between modern lounge (read: purple couches and shiny things) and casual pub. There’s a mix of regular tables, bar style high tables, “loungin’ areas”, and a long wood bar. I sampled two items from their lunch menu, a safe mix of wraps, sliders, soups, salads, and a few other unfocused selections.
I started with the calamari, just because I wanted to try a couple of things. Calamari usually “is what it is” but something fried and crunchy sounded good. The cornmeal crust is well done, and the chorizo and romesco-like sauce add interest to this huge portion. If you want fried calamari, I’d recommend it.
My main was the lamb sliders. I tried to improve my putrid photo by using some of those fancy image filters available in Flickr. It really worked well, huh? Having just enough lamb funk, with a good bit flavor from the goat cheese and pickled onion, I enjoyed these, except that the well toasted but otherwise simple buns were too large for the patties. No matter, I just tore off the edges. The small side of french fries were exactly like hot McDonald’s fries, which is not a complaint.
While not destination worthy in my opinion, my two selections were of better quality than anything I had at Fox & Hounds. I just hope the place catches on as a bar hangout, I think it will be critical to their success. They did have a separate cocktail/beer/wine menu which looked decent. I do worry that the upscale/loungy vibe won’t draw those that are simply looking to hangout and quaff a few suds in a familiar place. But I plan on going back soon. The dinner menu appears to have a few more selections with potential.