Some of our favorite places these days span that nebulous territory between bar and restaurant: If cocktails or wine are your agenda, you can imbibe and maybe have a bite, and it’s dinner you’d like, that can be arranged as well. The divine Estela in Soho is part of this new breed, and now here’s a newcomer in the West Village, Wallflower, that offers a similar sort of flexibility.

As a collaboration between Xavier Herit, a longtime head bartender at Daniel, and Jared Stafford-Hill, who formerly headed up Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, this place already has some serious credibility. Herit’s cocktails are playful yet artfully executed – the Sho Sho is an intriguing mix of a carrot-based shochu, with sherry, lime, carrot-ginger syrup, and, of all things, root beer. Somehow this odd-sounding combination adds up to a smooth and balanced drink. Other quaffs impress with their presentation, like the Tete de Mule, a carbonated, seafoam-hued affair with gin, ginger syrup, mint, and green tea, served in a glass bottle. If it’s vino you’re after, Wallflower’s by-the-glass list is brief yet tightly edited, with a more serious roster of wines by the bottle for big spenders.

The plates here are more refined than they need to be, but again, this place toes the trend of serving fine-dining fare in a relaxed setting. The menu’s elegant options lean French: beef tartare, a handful of crudos, several soups, a foie gras sandwich with quince mostarda, and cheese plates, served “composed” style with a knife and fork – like the shavings of Brebis with eggplant chunks, slices of chorizo and almond oil, served with thick toast. It’s delicious, though if you’re sharing, you’ll wish for more. You’ll also find pates, hearty mains – including tender scallops with cabbage and caviar – and a few desserts. Though you can share and snack on any of the above, these dishes really long to be part of a multi-course dinner.

The cozy space, made up of two small rooms, is already a hit with the neighborhood crowd, who keep it filled but not jammed (we walked in easily midweek), pleasantly buzzing with small groups of friends or couples on dates. There’s a four-seat bar straight ahead when you enter, and the second room, to the left, sports cheery orange banquettes, whitewashed brick, and botanical wallpaper. Wallflower is just the kind of place to keep in your back pocket, for when a date is going well, when you’re still a little bit peckish or just want a last drink – and it’s also a place to come for a full meal; in fact, it’s ready to be whatever you want to make it.

Wallflower
235 W. 12th St.

New York, NY 10014

Jenny Miller