Villanelle was opened in February by novice restaurateur Catherine Manning. The relatively small space (44 seats plus a bar) is modern with a laid-back elegance that comes from natural materials like bare wood and white washed brick. Due to the restaurant's close proximity to the Union Square Green Market the food can focus on seasonality and local ingredients. The menu is concise with both a la carte and prix fix options. This is elevated cuisine with delicate plating, unlike some of the restaurants that dot the NYU campus area. Sample dishes include chicken liver mousse with chicharron, risotto with chanterelles and Colorado lamb with eggplant. You'll find a carefully curated wine list and imaginative cocktails to pair with the meal.
The Loyal is the newest addition to the John Fraser portfolio which includes NYC hits like Dovetail, Narcissa and Nix. The space is a bit of a departure from the other businesses on Bleecker which are mostly pizza, taco and sandwich shops (not that there's anything wrong with that). The vibe is semi casual, polished and reminiscent of a bistro. It could serve as a neighborhood date spot or special occasion venue. The food is seasonal American dishes and there are a TON of items to choose from. The menu is broken down into 6 ample sections including bar, snacks, appetizers and accessories. Pasta & grains include mushroom carbonara and polenta with truffles. Entrees are all over the map with duck, chicken, shrimp and steak. While variety is important, perhaps this needs to be edited down a bit. However, if the idea is to keep 'em coming back often, it's not a terrible strategy.