Images by Karissa Ong for BeccaPR
15 years after the debut of the first edition of Queer Eye (For the Straight Guy), the reboot seems to have struck a more visceral chord than the original. As well, it seems fairly obvious that the stars of QE Mach II are more aware of their, ahem, “branding” possibilities.
To wit, Antoni Porowski, who is the epicurean expert on the new series – he’s just teamed up with restaurateurs Eric Marx and Lisle Richards of The Metric (Monarch Room, Wayfarer, Kola House) to open Village Den, a casual but cool new West Village eatery. How casual? Well, one can say that it takes its contemporary comfort food culinary mission very seriously, with breakfast bowls and fluffy almond or walnut pancakes in the morning; Thai chicken bowls and the Den Mother kale and maple roasted squash salad for lunch; and – would we kid you? – hipped up TV Dinners mixing proteins and sides, like the macadamia crusted fish sticks with cider-braised cabbage or maple parsnip mash, for your evening sustenance.
And stylistically standing athwart some of Marx and Richards’ decidedly more glamorous venues (like The Gilded Lily), the atmosphere at Village Den – by designer Buro Koray Duman – is low-key, airy and welcoming, with light woods, etched ceilings, lots of potted plants, and a large mural by Studio Jeremyville capturing the bohemian spirit of the neighborhood.