This venue is closed.
The gastropub bandwagon arrived in New York, with the opening of the Spotted Pig in the West Village, and since then the fad has spun out of control here too. Take the self-described gastropub called the E.U., which opened down on 4th Street, in Alphabet City. The name stands for European Union, which has sort of a pubby ring to it. There’s a small red griffin emblazoned on the menu, and for $10 you can get a tasting flight of five “hand-crafted artisanal beers” delivered to your table on a butcher block. But the room feels less like a pub than a refurbished machine shop. There are no cozy-looking couches in the corner (an old gastropub staple). No pictures of fluffy sheep decorate the spare brick-and-porcelain walls. The lights hanging from the ceiling are fitted with the kind of industrial filament bulbs that used to be trendy a few years ago; there is a raw bar up front, piled with ice, in the timeless faux-brasserie style; and bread is delivered to the table not in a basket but in a white enamel pot. The menu at E.U. is a similarly schizophrenic mélange of received trends and styles, centering, it seems, on European comfort foods. You can get German sausages squeezed into a bun made of fresh pretzel dough, and two styles of Euro burger: the German, topped with liverwurst and bacon, and the Cheddar-and-gravy-smothered English (mine was overdone). From the “Tapas-Antipasti” section, I enjoyed “house-made” olives served in a little crock, and a decent mini-portion of hand-cut steak tartare decked with a quail egg. Liverwurst is included among the usual selection of Italian-style charcuterie (bresaola, prosciutto di Parma, speck). I liked my artichoke-and-spinach salad (topped with a fried egg) more than the rock-hard meatballs (dressed with a minty Indian yogurt sauce). And the grilled octopus (with bits of tomato compote and preserved lemon) is probably more palatable than any grilled octopus you’ll find in the gastropubs of London.
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