If you’ve ever walked around the east village, you probably know about Back Forty. They throw an awesome crab boil party every summer and boast an excellent burger. I’ve eaten at Back Forty a number of times and have walked away from the meals feeling quite satiated.
But, sorry to say, that’s not the case for Back Forty West, the new branch located in SoHo. The two-floored establishment sits on the corner of Prince and Crosby, right in the center of tourist mecca, which equates to several points against them from the get-go.
Yelp reviewers share gripes about Back Forty West’s slow service, and, for a change, I agree. It took the waitress about seven minutes to come over and take our drink order. I got the Back Forty West mixed drink, which was pretty good.
Back Forty West’s menu is arranged by what you use to eat the food i.e. “hands,” “fork,” and “spoon.” Under “breads” (an outlier in the categorization convention), we spotted some fava bean hummus and decided to order it. “Why is this under ‘breads’?” asked My Dining Partner. “Because it uses flatbread for the hummus,” I replied. But I agreed with his sentiment. Confusing. Why can’t they just use the word “appetizer”?
The hummus came with some beets and olives on the side, which I mostly enjoyed. On its own, the hummus had the right texture, but lacked any discernible flavor. MDP wasn’t a fan, but I ended up nearly licking the bowl–I guess I was hungry.
For dinner, MDP ordered the ribs with corn bread and slaw. The ribs were outstanding, but the sides were just okay. His corn bread was drier than most–which is pretty dry–and the slaw had an odd flavor that I couldn’t pinpoint. In typical fashion, I ordered the cheddar burger, which was accompanied by “rosemary” french fries. I put rosemary in quotations because it seems they were rosemary in name only–not in flavor. (Yelp reviewers also noted this fact.) I ordered my burger medium, and it came to me medium rare if not rare. I ate it anyway, since I’m not one of those people that sends food back, but I wasn’t pleased with their misstep.
Though we weren’t largely impressed by the food, we decided to order dessert. I had suggested that we might head to Balthazar for some treats after dinner, but ultimately chose the almond cake with some kind of sweet corn sauce to end our dining experience. The cake was fine, but the sweet corn sauce tasted strange with the cake. I wondered what ever possessed them to put these two flavors together. I’ll never know–and I can live with that.
Back Forty West is fine, but not great. I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re looking for a good burger in SoHo, you might try Burger and Barrel which is on Houston Street, but even that’s not nearly as good as, say, the Shake Shack.
70 Prince Street
SoHo, New York
Take the N/R to Prince Street. Walk east one block to Crosby Street.