On a beautifully breezy Wednesday night, Westville Hudson was quietly buzzing with an early dinner crowd. A cheery sidewalk chalkboard proclaimed that it was 'wine Wednesday.' This is the newest installment of the small New York based chain, opened in 2012, and by far the largest. Since the first one popped up in 2003, in a small but charming space in the West Village, the restaurants (four in total) have come to be known and beloved all across lower Manhattan. While the spacious inside, with it's unpretentious, simple decorations, was welcoming, the outdoor tables were too hard to pass up on such a lovely New York evening. Westville is all about simplicity. Fresh ingredients, cooked just right, no fuss no muss, just good food. A quick glance at the specials list featured a sangria for the night (red or white), that just couldn't be passed up. And yes, the sangria did count towards wine Wednesday. It arrived in a full sized glass, (a welcome change to many sangria pours). While a little on the sweeter side, it was a delightful addition to a light summer meal. My companion decided to keep things simple, ordering the classic kosher beef hot dogs with sauerkraut and market vegetable, sautéed zucchini with tomatoes and melted mozzarella. The hot dogs were grilled just right, nothing fancy, just done well. The zucchini was truly delightful, perfectly cooked to still preserve the light, bright flavor with just enough olive oil, salt, and pepper to enhance the natural tastiness of the vegetable without drowning it in too much seasoning. Westville has a love affair with vegetables. You won't get a single overcooked, mushy, uninteresting veggie in the bunch. Veggies are their speciality, which is why I went for the market veggie plate, four veggies for $15, which is a harder choice than you'd think with nearly 20 different types of vegetables to choose from! I went with the green beans with almonds, lightly covered in olive oil and garlic. The green beans maintain a delightful fresh crunch, without being undercooked. My second choice was the beets with goat cheese, a simple classic combination, that does not disappoint. I also opted for some cold dishes from the evening's special menu; a caprese (tomatoes, basil and mozzarella) with cherry tomatoes and watermelon with feta and mint. The tomatoes were delightfully juicy, but completely overpowered the small amounts of basil and mozzarella. I had a similar complaint about the watermelon dish--the feta was rendered nearly flavorless by the watermelon. While they were both perfectly lovely, not the usual "wow" moment I am used to from the Westville market plate. For dessert I chose the cheesecake with a chocolate crust and chocolate topping. The chocolate's initial flavor was a deep, dark, richness that you'd hope for, but there was something off about the second wave of flavor, that suggested a slightly lower quality chocolate. The cheesecake itself was the correct combination of light and heavy, so the dessert wasn't a complete loss. Overall, the meal very pleasant. Westville has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants here in the city, reliably delicious food at good prices, and with a casual but friendly staff. It also offers plenty options no matter where you are on the health spectrum, trying out the newest craze in fad dieting or gorging yourself on good, hearty piece of grilled meat. Westville is the correct choice, no matter what you crave.
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