More NYC

Through a fortuitous confluence of happy circumstance, Jeff & I got to have

Dinner at the Tribeca Grill

I’d tried several times yesterday afternoon to get ahold of him to find out which leftovers he wanted for dinner, but when I finally reached him at 5:15, it turns out that he was actually in the city proper (which, of couse, changes everything).(1) I asked if he wanted to to come into town and meet him (which garnered a “sure, if you want”) and then we spent a few minutes trying to decide which of 14 zillion restaurants looked good and was not too far away from the Citibank building in Tribeca.

When Jeff suggested Tribeca Grill, I perked up, as that was one I’d heard of. A quick Google showed me why: it’s one of the most highly-rated NYC restaurants and has been around for 15 years. Being owned by Robert De Niro probably doesn’t hurt on the “wait, I’ve heard of that” front either. ;-)

Then I noticed that they were still running their restaurant week special menu (for a week many of the top NY restaurants run special Prix Fixe menus that are excellent bargains), even though restaurant week is over. WooHoo — that sealed it — we want to go!

There was trauma for a few minutes when I panic’d, thinking there’d be no way we’d get a table, but a small call solved that dilemma and off I went.

Appetizers were:
(me): Heirloom Tomato Salad with Sweet Corn Syrup & Opal Basil Vinegar — Good Lord this was fabulous. Honestly, I’d forgotten how much I *can* like tomatoes, because normally the ones I get are such sad, cardboardy imitations of the real thing. Sadly, Jeff seems to be allergic to raw ‘maters, so he couldn’t taste it (but that meant there was more for me ha ha!!!… erm. sorry.)

(Jeff): Warm Asparagus Salad with Morels, Lardons & Cippollini Onions, Fig Essence — Lardons are, it seems, bacon or the equivalent thereof. Tasted like bacon anyway. The big surprise here was how different, both in taste and texture the white and green asperagi were. Jeff was unimpressed by the morels (though I thought they were pretty amazing), as his family used to have a farm up in upper Michigan where they could go pick morels by the basketfull. (gasp!) Visions of being a billionare through a truly unusual route danced briefly through my head before Jeff explained that this had been back in the 70s, and that the farm had been sold long ago. :-(

Jeff also ordered a split of a chateauneuf de pape that was wonderful and round and not a bit bitey. Should’ve written down the name…

Dinner was:
(me): Goat Cheese Ravioli with Hon Shimeji Mushrooms, Spinach & Parmigiano Reggiano — wowsers. The ravioli were incredible…so melty and rich, but still delicate, and with none of the chalkiness that goat cheese can sometimes have. I ate some of the little mushrooms because I thought they were cute (they look just like I remember the ones from Fantasia looking but I avoided the spinach (it was soggy & I don’t care for soggy spinach…it gets too bitter…plus I had to save room for dessert).

(Jeff): Grilled Atlantic Salmon with Ramps, Shiitakes & English Peas, Horseradish Potato Purée — more wowsers. This salmon might have been the best I’ve ever had. Somehow it managed to be both pink in the middle (rare-ish) and flaky — meltingly good. I didn’t taste the rest of it, though I did notice that the peas were monstrously huge and looked like they still had some of that little stem that attaches them to the pod on them…very interesting and almost looked like tiny baby miniature brussels sprouts. Jeff said they tasted like peas.

(me): Tribeca Chocolate Torte — very good, but not a billion times better than any other amazing chocolate-upon-chocolate layer dessert. I almost wish I’d tried the berry ‘misu, but I was scared off by the “misu” (I’m probably the only human being on the planet who doesn’t care for Tiramisu… I dunno… soggy cookies. feh). I did have a moscato d’asti with dinner that was yummy…again, I should’ve written down the name. Doh!

(Jeff): Crème Brûlée — I only had a tiny taste, as I don’t much like creme brulee. I love the brulee part, but the creme is too eggy (I also don’t like “custard style” ice cream as much as I do regular style).

All told: wonderful. Service, BTW, was flawless. Plates were removed promptly after each course, but we never felt rushed. Sweetener wrappers vanished immediately, our waters were kept full (we’d gotten a bottle of San Pellegrino… bubble water I *like*) and, after the mains, the table was crumbed and the salt and pepper removed before dessert. It all very subtle (as good service should be, IMHO) and was an interesting contrast to the other school of waitering, the “Hi, I’m your buddy Tom, and I’ll be your server tonight! Is this your first time at the…”, that is becoming more common, I think.

(1) The building he normally works in is half a block from the apartment. Convenient, but not in the city.

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