In a slight twist on the farmhouse motif that's springing up all over town as the market-to-table phenomenon hits its peak, Peter Hoffman (chef/owner of Savoy and a pioneer in the eat-local movement) has given the casual Back Forty a cowboy gloss. Antique farm implements hang on the wall, a little covered wagon sits on a shelf, Dwight Yoakam and Patsy Cline ooze from the sound system, and every surface seems covered in recycled pine planks. A bit hokey for the East Village? No doubt. But the food conceit, also a departure from the norm, cranks.
The biggest section of the menu, "From the Garden," lists market vegetables, each with a little twist provided by an ingredient that might not be in your pantry: Parsnips are draped in a white anchovy and Aleppo pepper vinaigrette; Brussels sprouts come with a dried cherry and shallot butter; "fork mashed" potatoes are paired with lardo; tempura-battered Delicata squash arrive with a little squeeze bottle of smoked paprika mayo. It's thoughtful food, just unusual enough to be interesting without veering into weird. The main dishes, of which there are only six, are more straightforward: a burger, a BLT (with source-specified bacon, of course), grilled Catskill trout. And you won't be breaking the bank here: Most entrees are in the teens, and the most expensive one, a $24 whole spice-rubbed rotisserie chicken, easily fed our table of three. Cowboy up.