“Please be honest, we love honesty,” was the request of Sean MacPherson at Margaux on Wednesday night, at which our menus came with comments cards. “Oh, don’t worry,” we told him, “we will.” The restaurant, which opened officially last Monday, is the eating spot at the Marlton Hotel, MacPherson’s latest property located on West 8th Street at Fifth Avenue, and like it’s older sister The Bowery Hotel, the Marlton is set to become a go-to for the downtown fashion and culture crowd; on Wednesday our fellow diners included designers Prabal Gurung and Johan Lindeberg and Paper’s Mickey Boardman. Serving Mediterranean fare, Margaux is less ‘falafel joint’ and more ‘cool, countrified-urban’. You cannot go without ordering the Farmers Board with avocado hummus, red quinoa tabouli, mashed beets and spicy sweet potatoes, scooped with buckwheat pita. And if you’re craving potato chip naughtiness, get the crispy sunchoke slices with lemon labne. The burrata appeared atop a garlic muffin (it’s more of a biscuit in texture, really) with crushed basil and our diver scallops with celery root and a variety of mushrooms were a highlight. There’s a French feeling to the space, with a particularly post-war Parisian vibe in a rear atrium, which feels like a kind of homage to those literary cafes in Paris frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein etc. Of course, the Marlton has its own literary connection — Jack Kerouac wrote a number of books while living at the hotel. The question is this: will it be a hangout spot? Yes, it’s less expensive than Gemma at the Bowery, so very conducive to casual dining, and let’s be real, New York City needed a Greenwich Village-area spot for East and West villagers to conveniently rendezvous. One of the comment-card questions asked if we would change anything, what would it be? We couldn’t think of a single thing.
Margaux at The Marlton, 5 West 8th Street, New York NY 10011 Marltonhotel.com