A couple of months ago, I reviewed a great restaurant downtown, Stella Public House. Stella shares a space with a more relaxed, hip place, Halcyon. Halcyon is a much more relaxed setting than Stella, with couches and high top tables in place of the more family-friendly four-seaters of their neighbor. The atmosphere is hip and sexy, with low lights and a full, curving bar serving up hot drinks and cocktails.
Besides wonderful coffee drinks and cocktails, Halcyon has a full menu of tasty food items for munching or bigger items for a full meal. We were hungry when we visited on a cold, rainy evening, so we took full advantage of both menus! Since we didn't want to be up all night, we ordered two of their gourmet hot chocolates to warm our bones.
French hot chocolate was heavenly, rich, creamy, and not too sweet bliss. The peanut butter cup was just decadent, like a liquid Reese's peanut butter cup, but with high-quality ingredients. The hot chocolates are served in huge cups, so it's a great item to share after a romantic date or to console yourself after a bad date.
The special of the night was a margarita pizza, and I love a good wood-fired pizza. We also ordered the East Village signature sandwich -- a grilled chicken sandwich served on a ciabatta roll with bacon, avocado, and tomatoes with roasted chipotle aioli and pepper jack cheese. The sandwich comes with a salad or chips, but I think a salad with homemade dressing is always in order when the choice is presented.
The pizza was magnificent. Thin crust with the perfect char from the wood oven, and topped with fresh mozzarella, simple red sauce, and fresh basil. I think that margarita pizza is perfection in its simplicity.
The chicken sandwich was one of the best that I've ever eaten. Thick slices of applewood bacon and fresh avocado really made the sandwich sing. I'm not normally a fan of aioli, but it was perfect and spicy on this sandwich. The bread was soft with a nice hard crust to give it bite.
Of course we had dessert. You pretty much expect that from me at this point, right? This dessert was something that I don't have often enough, Italian chocolate mousse. The signature dessert, The Great Budino, is much thicker and fudgier than its French counterpart, with a dense texture and feel. Served in a tall latte glass topped with whipped cream, caramel, and a sliced strawberry, I was completely charmed by this dessert.
Both Stella Public House and Halcyon are great places, with distinctive personalities. You can order off of either menu if desired, but they are definitely separate establishments with distinct atmospheres and philosophies. I love both places, and will definitely return!