Square Peg: American Classics With A Twist
Just a few blocks east of the hopping Midtown Village and just north of Washington Square is relative newcomer, Square Peg. Opened in March on the at the corner of 10th and Walnut (in a former Marathon location), Square Peg features the food of executive chef Matt Levin, who made his mark at Lacroix and the now-shuttered Adsum. Owned by restaurateurs Barry Gutin and Larry Cohen (who also run Cuba Libre), Square Peg serves American diner-inspired food and shakes up an extensive list of classic and original cocktails.
The split-level dining room features dark hardwood floors, exposed brick, open-tread stairs and pendant lighting. While many of the aesthetics remained intact when the space changed hands earlier this year, new custom murals and artwork portraying nostalgic Americana decorate the walls
Square Peg's expansive beverage selection has a focus on whiskey cocktails, local breweries and dessert-like spiked shakes. The Apricot Julep sees Rothman's Apricot Liqueur and muddled strawberries added to the Southern bourbon classic, and the Bluecoat gin-based Jefferson Experiment offers an intriguing taste of ginger, elderflower and fresh citrus. Boozy shakes come in six variations, with Square Peg's own soft serve masking hearty doses of the hard stuff, making the cherry-topped glasses a dangerously delicious treat. The Little Lebowski makes us want to dip our side of fries in the Prairie Organic vodka, Kahlua and vanilla ice cream combination, just like a big kid.
The happy hour program lends itself to both afternoon (5–7 PM, Tuesday–Friday) and late night indulgences (10 PM–midnight, Friday and Saturday). A rotating selection of can or draft beer goes for $3, and often features the brews of Victory, Left Hand Brewing or Brooklyn Brewery. White and red house wines are $4, and the $5 specialty cocktails include the Midtown Collins (bourbon, Tuaca, fresh-squeezed OJ, Sprite) and a raspberry-bourbon John Daly. To nosh on while imbibing, choose from a $4 pulled pork slider, a $3 devilied egg sampler (topped with bacon, flying fish roe and pickled mustard seeds) and a $2 mac ‘n’ cheese grilled cheese.
Levin's full menu has a kid-let-loose-in-the-junk-food-aisle feel, with ingredients like Fritos (tacos in a bag; $10.5), Kool-Aid (as a marinade for the watermelon that accompanies the fried chicken; $17) and Heinz marmalade (it enhances the meat loaf with smashed potatoes; $16.5). Like the mad scientist of store bought goods, he’s skilled at transforming simple dishes into wildly eclectic plates. Brunch and lunch are also served, and feature all-day breakfast items like homemade scrapple hash and sunny-side-up-egg-topped poutine. Offering a little bit of something for all, Square Peg's playful appeal makes a great addition to the neighborhood.
929 Walnut St.; 215-413-3600
Photos by Danya Henninger
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