375 Greenwich St.
City: New York, NY
Hours: Mon-Thu: 11:30am-11pm Friday-Saturday: 5:30-11:30 Sunday: 5:30-10:00
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Entree Price: $25-30
We had our hearts and stomachs set on Andrew Carmellini’s Locanda Verde after watching an episode of Serious Eats. So we hopped a train from from Brooklyn at around 9:30 on a Saturday evening, hoping that by arrival time a table would have opened up. We were wrong. There was a line out the door and the hostess informed us the wait would be at least an hour to an hour and a half. With a hungry 12-year-old in tow we decided to move on.
The V Café was nearby but looked like it was in the process of closing shop, and while the bar at Kushners, on Franklin Street, was still buzzing, the retaurant appeared as a vast wasteland. It also didn't help that a worker was taking out the trash just as we were about to walk in. Besides we really weren't in a pastrami-and-rye mood. Then we spotted Tribeca Grill.
It's actually a huge space with lots of exposed brick and a towering ceiling; a cross between industrial chic and contemporary with its formal white tablecloths. Protruding from the ceiling like giant upside down sombreros are funky stained glass lamps that to me seemed a bit out of place. A wraparound bar in the center of the dining room caters to a sexy, yet older crowd.
There were several tables open when we arrived. By now it was close to 11 o'clock and we were famished, which probably made the house rolls taste a bit better than they actually are. But I had no complaints. They had an excellent crust, with a soft, flavorful, almost sour center. Add in a slab of butter and we were set.
We ordered some drinks. They make a nice Hemingway-style cocktail with rum and maraschino liquer, although most tables seemed to be relying on the expansive wine list. Prices range from the high 30s for a bottle of red or white, to several hundred for a select champagne.
Our meal began with a plate of Brandade croquettes traditionally made with salt cod and potato. They were light and fluffy on the inside with a crunchy crust. My only complaint would be that there were just three to the plate, each about the size of a quarter. If you weren't careful you could have inhaled them. A grilled octopus salad with haricots verts, celery, almonds and fingerling potatoes was also wonderful, but a bit too spud heavy and weak on tentacle. An arugula salad with buffalo mozzarella was probably the least memorable dish.
My son raved about his swordfish. The waiter actually gave him a look when he ordered it. But even at his young age he's a bit of a gourmand and can tackle a grown-up plate. His fish was perfectly cooked and encrusted with pistachio. He even ate the artichoke and fennel on the plate. Now, if we could only get him to do that at home. My wife and I were sold on the grilled filet of beef, aka filet mignon. She ordered hers well done, a sin in my opinion, while I went for medium rare. Unfortunately, both arrived cooked to death, so much so, that I returned mine. I rarely do that and with good reason. When I tweeted about it the next day, I received a reply that the chef probably left me a little gift in the new one. I certainly hope not. But when you're spending close to 40 bucks on a steak it really needs to be done right. I must say, the restaurant was very good about it and made the switch without much of a fuss. And the new filet was well worth the wait, perfectly marbled and tender. Each bite savored. The garlic -whipped potatoes that accompanied it, and side of crisp onion strings, also hit the spot.
Desserts by Pastry Chef Stephanie Motir are wonderful. A raspberry cheese cake resembles a mini loaf with a wide stripe of raspberry jam down the center. Juniors eat your heart out. This gal can bake. There was also lots of apple flavor in a bowl of green apple ice cream that had four or five scoops piled high. And Tahitian vanilla bean crème brûlée, served gratis for the overcooked steak, was polished off by my wife before I could get in a single bite.
Tribeca Grill is a solid restaurant and serves its customers well. But it's also a bit pricey, checking in at more than $200 for a dinner for three.
Review By: Thomas Rafael