- scene: Model off duty- sexy but approachable; warm lighting, large bar area
- sip: Well designed specialty cocktails wine, etc
- savor: Veggie and flavor-heavy dishes including artichokes with lemon ricotta and kale caesar salad; pastas
- sit: With a group on a weekend night before heading out; with a girlfriend for a sexy night out
- spend: $$$
- address: 9 Great Jones Street
- phone number: (212)203-2121
- website: www.acmenyc.com
What do a cajun joint, “new Nordic” cuisine, and a French/ Italian restaurant all have in common? The same orange and blue sign, at 9 Great Jones, bearing the name “Acme,” hanging outside. While the cuisine served at Acme has literally been all over the place, the location and the sign have stayed the same, and it seems as though this newest incarnation is poised to last a long time as well. Acme is a place with a cool vibe and a clientele that may tend to be more haute couture than haute cuisine, and the new menu suits all goals perfectly. It is an approachable mix of French and Italian food, executed really well, yet familiar enough to please those who don’t know rigatoni from Ricardo Tisci.
The interior of Acme looks very similar to how it looked after its major overhaul from the Cajun concept. The bar is quite large and beautifully lit, and the whole restaurant has a soft glow that almost makes everyone look air-brushed (almost.) The biggest update is in the form of noise reduction, with quite a lot of money spent to eliminate the deafening decibels that used to be the norm at Acme. There is still an energy to the space, but now with more of a chance of proper conversation. The cocktails are from an Employees Only vet and are very skillfully concocted without any unnecessary pretense.
As I said, the cuisine at Acme is billed as French/Italian, and there are some blatant examples of that (charcuterie, pasta, crudite) but the menu does not adhere to one type of cuisine in any obvious fashion. The flavors are all bright and there are some surprising combinations, but for the most part the menu seems like it is created to be a crowd pleaser, no matter what the group. The menu also has a number of hearty vegetarian options (a delicious and rich caesar salad, a carrot salad and a butternut squash steak) which are much more interesting than the giant crudite, which is impressive for its size but a little silly in my opinion ( in general, unless you are really at a beach club on the French Riviera, I think crudités are a lazy dish.) Other vegetarian standouts include the artichoke and lemon ricotta starter, which was amazing, and the naughty potato gratin; I also like that there is no preachy vibe about the veggies- it just speaks to the chef’s commitment to fresh seasonal items without it being plastered everywhere. The pastas I tried were all cooked nicely al dente, and all of the ingredients were utilized for their freshness and not masked. I had a really solid meal, which makes Acme a no-brainer to recommend to that friend that wants to try “the new place,” although in this case it is a new old place.
To be noted, Executive Chef/partner Brian Loiacano is super friendly and handsome, so he fits right in…Also, the lounge downstairs is still open, shall you wish for some boogie after your bites.