Another restaurant has entered the highly competitive culinary fray in the South Street-adjacent part of Queen Village. Luckily for Village Bar + Kitchen, 705 S. Fifth St., flavor is in its favor. In addition, the bright corner space is inviting and relaxing while the menu focuses on comfort dishes with a New American twist.
The red deviled eggs ($8) give the familiar staple a colorful and flavorful makeover, with roasted red pepper and pickled red onions adding a pleasant pop to the filling. Salsa verde and queso fresco provide the garnish.
The Hamachi crudo ($13) is a cool and bright dish, with grapefruit and jalapeños providing the thinly sliced fish with a spicy kick.
Village Bar also knows when to show restraint, as with their poutine ($9). While other places load up the Canadian staple with extra ingredients to amp up the wow factor (often at the expense of quality), here it’s the perfect consistency of fries and just the right amount of gravy and cheese curds. Your Canadian friends will be quite pleased.
But the crowning achievement is the truffle bacon mac and cheese ($12). Usually, earthy truffles (or truffle oil) can be overpowering and a bit obnoxious when introduced to mac and cheese, but here they balance the fatty saltiness of the bacon. When melded with the exceptional pasta and cheese, the results are extraordinary.
We bypassed the meat-centric sandwich offerings for The Veggie ($11), a robust and surprisingly complex assemblage of roasted eggplant, red peppers, hummus, salsa verde and red onion. Your vegetarian friends will be quite pleased.
The only slight flaws were in the pasta dishes. The special, spaghetti alla chitarra with ramp butter, and their regular menu item, rigatoni with bolognese ($16) were both house-made but a bit too salty. Otherwise, Village Bar + Kitchen is a welcome addition to an area of town that’s trying to shift its focus from a bar crowd to more of a kitchen crowd. To change the tastes of Queen Village, it definitely takes a village.
Village Bar + Kitchen
705 S. Fifth St.
Daily: 5-10 p.m.