Lunch here was our best food experience of five days’ gorging in NYC. This place is understated, classy and cool in atmosphere, and the creative menus are loaded with fun and interpreted and served by an enthusiastic knowledgeable staff. Magnifico.
The main dining room and tap room are located on the southwest edge of the classy Chelsea neighbourhood, near the west river. It’s a big space with a very high ceiling, divided into two dining areas. A relaxed pleasant young girl seated us next to a window and pulled the blinds.
Wine. I always turn to the Burgundy page of a big wine list because it’s the only region I know well enough to assess producers and prices. I felt like I’d come home. Pages and pages of reds and whites young and old, with the reassurance of familiar names: Lafon, Roumier, Lignier, Lambreys… Prices starting sensible and extending all the way to the very high ceiling. We chose a recommended reisling, modestly priced, diesel fragrant, the temperature knowledgeably fussed over by the server until it was perfect.
We ordered off a brunch menu, starting with a shared beef tartare which had been done with smoked mayonnaise. Our server described the process when we inquired, which involved smoking the eggs before they are incorporated into the sauce. This lovely thing came with a buttered grilled baguette slice. Coarsely chopped, cold, full of meat flavour magnified by distant smokiness. Next came a short rib and crème fraîche pizza, which I expected to be cold but was a warm combo of the shredded meat on top of three-cheese melt with the sour crème discernible on top. No disappointment although maybe just overdone on the underside.
Servers seemed mostly Latin American, the main guy very colloquial, more than happy to talk (and knowledgeable) about the food and wine. The rest of the menu, and the dinner menu looked over online, suggest that we barely scraped the surface here. We were out the door into winter sunshine for I think around $160 Canadian, not at all bad taking the prevailing horrifying exchange rate into account.
Food 9.5, service 9.3, ambience 7.8, value 7.7. It’s on the list for our next visit to this wonderful town.