There is no mule tethered to a lamppost out front of Hundred Acres. Beyond that, Marc Meyer and Vicki Freeman (Cookshop, Five Points) have gone all out to evoke their signature farm-fresh image here, obliterating the poetically romantic charm of the former occupant (creaky old Provence, which they tried unsuccessfully to revive). There’s a new, less awkward entrance and long communal tables as well as pavement-side two-tops. White subway tiles mean to give the front room an old butcher-shop feel. The lush garden I loved out back has been stripped down to a farmhouse vibe with potted plants. But never mind. In just one week the kitchen already hits the mark with luscious, barely cooked sea-scallop-and-turnip kebabs, splendid fried chicken, and a marvelous soft-shell-crab sandwich with first-rate slaw and shoestring fries. Our persnickety burger mavens give thumbs-up to this one, pasture-raised beef with fancy Cheddar and fries to dip in Vidalia-onion mayo. In a rare reversal of the usual, the entrées (all $22 or less) are mostly better than the more aggressively priced (around $11) starters. Avoid the totally misguided tongue and over-gussied-up macaroni and goat cheese. But I love the fried asparagus and steamed littlenecks with garlic bread. Good rhubarb tart with whipped cream and blueberry pie with cream-cheese ice cream remind me this is a worthy work-in-progress. And if the glass skylight becomes retractable as planned, all eyes will be looking up.
38 Macdougal St., nr. Prince St.; 212-475-7500