Restaurant Review: Little Eater
Although bowls of veggie combos take center stage at its North Market counter, Little Eater is much more than a bunch of well-crafted salads. The newest eatery offers a fully developed menu for market visitors. Little Eater’s paper menu is attached to a clipboard that sits at one end of the counter. There, you can view all the eating options; everything from custom made sandwiches to quiche, cookies, and yes, salads.
And for the salad centric crew, it is fun to put together an assembly of salad scoops for a meal. You can go full bore (or “boar”, if you’re going to pig out) and load up on four different salads for $12. This option permits an introduction to a variety of plant-centered combinations. One of the particularly likable things about the place is that the vegetable flavors are stars in each combo, not their dressings. The plant offerings play off of each other like little mini orchestras of flavor.
Consider the Red Cabbage & Jicama Slaw. The veggies are cut into long and loopy tendrils, which is always more fun than short and choppy. Candied pecans change it up in the texture department and a touch of grapefruit gives the salad a super-fresh accent.
The Celery Root & Apple Slaw scores on the same standards of long n’ loopy goodness. With chips of hazelnuts in the mix, it’s impossible to tell which strand is which, as apple and celery tendrils wind around each other creating a flavor that is a hybrid of both. While the salad is dressed in a “creamy dijon”, the dressing contributes at a level where you appreciate the mustard’s brine, but without any greasy, soupy excess.
The Cous Cous does not have the loopy shape, but variety is a good thing. It’s a heartier mix, populated with little cubes of rutabega and carrots with tiny, sweet surprises from a handful of currants.
Also on the sturdy side is a Sweet Potato & Black Bean Succotash; a few little accents from peppers and cilantro liven it up.
Beyond the salads, the sandwiches are fun too. At Little Eater, Butternut Squash ($11) is served between chewy bread. All by itself, the sweet squash might be underwhelming, but its attentive companions are what makes it over-the-top awesome. The squash is topped with wilted, dressed Kale and an apple/onion mixture that tastes like the holidays. Hiding underneath the squash is a lush layer of creamy Cloverton cheese. It’s a sandwich with lots of colors, and I’m pretty sure all those veggies deliver lots of good-for-you stuff too.
A thick slice of Quiche ($9) is proudly on display, It’s poofy, with the right balance of mushrooms and leeks and enough egg to hold it together inside a tender, traditional crust.
For snackers, there are odd little drop Biscuits ($1.50); dome shaped and prickly looking outside, but tender and cheddary inside. You can team them with honey butter, and you have a combo that puts Red Lobster Biscuits to shame.
Or a Chocolate Chip Cookie ($1.50), they’re palm-sized and easy to gobble down with a dense supply of chocolate chips.
You can find Little Eater inside the North Market at 59 Spruce Street.
For more information, visit www.littleeater.com.
All photos by Walker Evans.