224 Lafayette St (between Spring St and Broome St, SoHo)
Fatty Kat Eats: Grilled Haloumi, Green Shakshuka
This is where I make a funny joke about the restaurant's name - Jack's Wife Freda. I clicked "backspace" way too many times, because I make terrible jokes, so I'll just say that I think the name is ingenious. Don't you agree? I just get it. No wonder bougie hipsters and their parents flock to this SoHo haunt every weekend.
Months ago, I added this spot onto my wish list after catching sight of the crowds gathering outside every Saturday and Sunday. The menu didn't look that enticing, but sure, why not? I'm not afraid of bandwagons. Fortunately, we were lucky to only have waited 45 minutes, and the hostess/waitress was surprisingly nice for this kind of sceney restaurant.
I liked the placemat + menu combination (2 birds; 1 stone), which outlined a brunch menu that honored the restaurant's Jewish Mother Cuisine. I'm glad the place didn't sell out with eggs benedict and banana pancakes, because it seems so much more legit that way.
We started with the Grilled Haloumi, which looked heavenly on someone else's table. I can't help my food envy! The various ingredients, textures and temperatures made for a very interesting dish. I was a fan of the entire package, particularly the sweet grapes. However, the cheese on its own was slightly dry and rubbery. And since I couldn't get Cafe Mogador's roasted haloumi out of my mind, I wasn't really being fair.
The Mashed Avocado on Seeded Bread had so much potential but fell flat. Avocado automatically adds 100 fatty points to any and all foods. It's true. However, in this case: 1) the bread was too dense, 2) the pickled carrots overpowered the avocado, and 3) the avocado was too mashed (but that's a matter of preference). Luckily, the fries were in town to lift our spirits.
I didn't try the Mediterranean Breakfast, but it looked harmless enough. You add an Israeli salad, avocado and eggs to anything, and I'm down. Every table seemed to rock a fresh plate of these goodies, so I'm guessing it's a thumbs up situation.
The Green Shakshuka was Hulk-colored but entirely appetizing and adorable. I'm not entirely sure how one makes green shakshuka since I know tomatoes are crucial to normal shakshuka. Maybe green peppers? Cilantro? Spinach? Who knows. The pronounced flavors were pretty subtle. Though, if I were to Americanize this dish, I'd add some ham to these green eggs. But that's just me (and Dr. Suess). While the portion left something to be desired, the challah toast put my fork to shame as sauce scraper.
I know rose water is a very Middle Eastern flavor, so I ordered the Rosewater Waffle to see how it would taste in one of my favorite foods--the almighty waffle. I will seriously do anything when tempted with a hot waffle that is both doughy and crispy. Unfortunately, this waffle was just meh. I increasingly noticed the rose water flavor with each bite, but it was really the Lebanese yogurt and berries that distinguished this dish. It had that perfect golden hue, but something wasn't quite right with the batter.
I still need to go back for some of Freda's Matzo Ball Soup and couple of her sandwiches, but I got a great vibe from the friendly servers and people-watching crowd. It's safe to say this place is more hype than good food, but sometimes that's okay when cute hipster guys are around.