Tag Archives: tribeca grill

Restaurant Week Wrap-Up: An on-going list of where to go for NYC RW (Updated Winter 2015)

6 Apr

I have now been writing about Restaurant Week for over 5 years. It is one of the most frequented sections on the blog, so I wanted to make it a bit easier and summarize the best, the good, and the bad. I will continue to add to this list as we try new places for Restaurant Week. (Last update is from Winter 2015)

A brief synopsis on Restaurant Week: Participating restaurants serve a prix fix, 3-course menu for lunch ($25) and dinner ($38). (Prices updated for Winter 2013). They participate on all weekdays for lunch, dinner, or both, and some also participate on Sundays. More information for each season, participating restaurants, and menus can be found here. You can also book most reservations on OpenTable, though the best reservations usually go as soon as the newest Restaurant Week is announced. There are two each year, one in the winter and one in the summer, and while it is called “Restaurant Week,” it is usually about 3 weeks long and some restaurants extend even beyond that.

So who had the best Restaurant Week menu? Who didn’t skimp on portions? Who obviously thinks Restaurant Week is a total waste of time? Read on! (Click on the restaurant name to link out to the original review I posted)

Top RW Noms (Book now! Even if RW is another 6 months away):

  1. ilili: I have been to ilili twice for Restaurant Week and I think they are the best of the best. Great selection, plentiful portions, and gosh darn GREAT food. Everyone left raving about it.
  2. all’onda: An amazing meal when not Restaurant Week, an amazing meal at a better value when it is Restaurant Week.  The up-charges are worth it for their (famous?) uni bucatini and the short rib for two.  I do not know how you cold possibly leave disappointed from all’onda.
  3. Riverpark: Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark does Restaurant Week right by featuring their usual menu so diners can try out the Restaurant exactly as intended. Each bite was fantastic and totally worth the supplemental charge, and we imagine would be totally worth it even if you don’t pay for any supplements.
  4. Bar Primi: Restaurant Week offers a great way to try this great restaurant.  They RW menu offered a great sampling of what the restaurant has to offer and felt like a great value for the quality of food. If you need an excuse to try this Caramellini favorite, let Restaurant Week be it!
  5. The National:  Chef Geoffrey Zakarian opened a restaurant that lives up to his impressively amazing looking television cooking.  The Restaurant Week menu here is one of the best with great dishes throughout. I would just be sure to add the delicious brussels sprouts to your order!
  6. Cafe Boulud: This was just barely edged out by the top restaurants. The braised veal cheeks and the chocolate dessert still both echo in my mind as some of the best bites I have EVER had. Their menu was limited, but there were enough items to keep me happy. I have been dying to go back.
  7. The Modern – Bar Room: Delicious. Small portions but well worth it (and it’s not like you leave hungry). Service was a terror, but the food made up for it. (I went back for Summer 2011 and it was just as good and with great service this time around).
  8. Olives: Small selection but all very tasty. It’s a nice intro to a Todd English restaurant, especially since it’s usually a bit pricey
  9. General Assembly: A great choice for non-Restaurant Week that I keep recommending as a crowd favorite, an even better selection for Restaurant Week since you can sample the menu without spending too much money. Just be sure to add the side of corn creme brulee to your order!
  10. Barbounia: Fantastic food and good portions. Impressed by the food and the nice service. They understand that Restaurant Week is all about giving people a reason to return.
  11. Ai Fiori: They only participate in lunch, but it’s a very nice menu with some hits (the skate) and some misses (the terrine).  The skate alone was good enough to recommend despite the so-so terrine app.
  12. Butter (the original):We stuck exclusively to the Restaurant Week menu and enjoyed every bite. I wanted to lick every plate clean. Amazing flavors, fair portions, and a real taste for why Chef Alex Guarnaschelli won Next Iron Chef. We tried Butter Midtown but didn’t manage to reserve on the right day for Restaurant Week. Our first meal was fair but latter ones were better!

Average RW Noms (I’d probably go back and try them again, but they weren’t special enough to hit the list above):

  • Kutsher’s TriBeCa: This was a tough choice about making into the top category.  The only reason it’s here is because the meals above were just that good.  Restaurant Week is a very good way to try this restaurant, but I’d probably go for their regular menu just as easily.
  • City Hall: The food was quite tasty and it’s nice to be able to enjoy a meal at a classic New York establishment at Restaurant Week Prices without feeling like you’re getting Restaurant Week quality service and food, which is typically lackluster. I thought they put some creative dishes on the Restaurant Week menu (besides the usual chicken, fish, or meat selection that most have) and that we really got a taste for what’s on their regular menu.
  • Aquavit: The entrées here were a bit on the average side, however, the uniqueness of the food, the fun of doing a flight of Aquavit, and the INCREDIBLE desserts just barely pushed this one to the top list
  • Todd English Food Hall at The Plaza: This meal was good but there were a number of executional problems with the dishes and service. The menu is VERY limiting in comparison to the huge menu (that has many different stations), so you can’t truly enjoy what makes this a “Food Hall.”  I would probably not bother with Restaurant Week here and just go and get whatever you want off their regular menu.
  • Craft Bar: I can’t put this in the top list since we actually accidentally booked a reservation that was NOT Restaurant Week (be sure to review the list carefully so you know who serves on weekends). I do think it may belong there, however, as the food was great and the servers were AMAZING about taking care of us since we made the mistake (they gave us 2 apps on the house)
  • Bread & Tulips: Everything was just fairly average.  The desserts were especially sub-par.  Passably good but just not good enough.
  • Pera: Very average. I didn’t feel like the food was anything outstanding but this place is always hopping and is convenient to Grand Central.  Probably no need to wait for Restaurant Week if this falls into a convenient meeting location to get a solid meal.
  • L’Ecole: This was very hit or miss. Amazing appetizers followed by a total let-down for the entrees and so-so desserts. They also billed their lobster as the “Rolls-Royce” of lobsters and it was one of the worst I’ve had.  And from our experience, don’t bother with the wine pairing.
  • Millesime: The food here was fair, with a stand-out dessert that elevated the meal. I was disappointed by my pasta dish due to its blandness, but those that ate off the regular menu seemed to enjoy their dishes.
  • Black Duck: A solid Restaurant Week experience. The initial choice of fish, chicken, or pasta wasn’t an awesome selection, but each dish tasted great. I would like to try this place again and order off the regular menu.
  • Tribeca Grill: My short ribs were pretty good, but I’ve seen better Restaurant Week menus and tried better food. I’m not sure if this was the fault of RW or if the restaurant itself just isn’t top of the heap.
  • Delmonico’s: Good but not great. I’ve had better steaks in Manhattan by far, but there is something fun about going to this place just for the history of it.
  • Ruth’s Chris: Been meaning to try this place but haven’t gotten around to it? Restaurant Week is a good time to get a taste. Their regular specials menu is also quite good, so if you don’t make it for RW, it’s okay.
  • Asellina: Total average in every way.  Standard food that was good but not great.  A solid choice but not a top one.
  • Blue Smoke: A great meal, as always, but it’s reasonable enough to go anytime rather than making a special Restaurant Week reservation to check it out.
  • Angelo and Maxies: I was actually impressed with this place, but I think their non- Restaurant Week offering is probably just as good. (NOW CLOSED)
  • 10 Downing: We had an enjoyable experience here, however, something just wasn’t totally right for most of the meal. Service was spotty, there were too many inedible things on my plate (shallot skin? garlic skin? seriously untrimmed meat?) Everything was plated beautifully with a lot of attention to detail, color, and the season (summer). Not to mention, one of the best panna cottas I’ve ever tasted. (NOW CLOSED)

Disappointing RW Noms (Not sure why they bother with Restaurant Week):

  • Park Avenue (Summer): While we had some great nibbles, it really felt as if this is one of those restaurants that doesn’t like Restaurant Week and it comes out in their food. I might try them again for their regular menu, but I wouldn’t suggest it for Restaurant Week at all.
  • Perry Street: Come on Jean Georges! I expect more from you. Nothing was bad, but nothing was great. A Restaurant Week faux pas perhaps.

Bad RW Noms (Just plain wrong):

  • Villard Michel Richard: After a fantastic dessert tasting in Chef Richard’s new bakery shop (Pomme Palais), we were curious to try the restaurants in the same hotel, but scathing reviews had us tentative to try at full price. Restaurant Week proved the perfect excuse to check it out, and it proved all those reviews absolutely right.
  • Mercer Kitchen: Awful in every way. This place is what gives Restaurant Week a bad name. Awful menu. Small portions. Food that seemed like it could have been cooked at McDonald’s. I haven’t been able to eat cooked salmon since this night. It was THAT bad.
  • Russian Tea Room: Bad service. Food that hardly could pass for wedding food. This place could have such great potential as a NYC icon but instead, it’s just tacky and bad.

What are your favorite Restaurant Week places?

Where are you trying out this year?


nom-icon with site

Tribeca Grill: Tasting Event Courtesy of Rue La La

7 Sep

Sometimes I look around and truly realize that I live a charmed life.  This blog has provided opportunities that I couldn’t have imagined. I have been invited to amazing complimentary dinners, been awarded a free Kodak Gallery book, and been given many opportunities to try new products.  Recently, I received an invite from Rue La La to enjoy a complimentary dinner and wine tasting at TriBeCa Grill.  I wasn’t quite sure what it would be, but they said I would be sitting with other bloggers and enjoying a meal and wine directly from the vineyard.  I was in!  Why not?

I had been to the TriBeCa Grill once before, for Restaurant Week, and had a so-so experience.  I was happy to have the opportunity to try it again.  And I recently found out that Robert De Niro was a co-owner, so if Vito Corleone approves, I had to give it a second shot.

I arrived and quickly learned that this was actually an event that Rue La La offered from their NYC Local site where many people bought into this opportunity.  I was even more humbled to have been invited as I sat at a round table with 3 other couples.  They were all surprised to hear that I blog about food and it led to some fun conversation throughout the night.  I was the only single person at a table of couples.  This was one of those moments that I was happy that I have no problem being chatty.

The menu looked great, and I did the usual schpiel with the waiter about peppers.  He said it wouldn’t be an issue.




The wine was supplied from Joseph Drouhin vineyard and one of the brothers from the family that owned the vineyard, Laurent Drouhin, was there to tell us about the wines.  He was an absolute charmer, with great charisma that really captivated everyone’s attention as he spoke.  All learned that all Burgundy is really Pinot Noir (red) or Chardonnay (white).  Suddenly it made sense that I have recently found a fondness for Pinot Noir, seeing as though I have always been a Burgundy fan.  We learned a lot about the vineyard, including that in 2009 it was certified organic, making them the largest landowners to be certified.  We heard some great quips from those that make wine, including “When I see my dogs eating the berries, I know [the wine] is ready.”


The chef also came out to say hello, however, he seemed more on the shy side.


As we waited, we were served awesome chardonnay (Saint Veran) which he described as “beachy,” which was apropos.   There were numerous passed hors d’vors, including some awesome short rib pot stickers.

Our first item on the menu was diver sea scallop carpaccio with yuzu raita and sea urchin vinaigrette, paired with Drouhin Vaudon CHablis ‘Premier Cru’ 2008.  Sadly, I was so into the chat that I completely forgot to take a picture.  I also didn’t get the sea urchin vinaigrette due to my allergy, which as a bummer, but it was delicious.  It was summery, fresh, and creamy with a slightly grassy note. The cucumber with it was great but mine seamed to be missing the yuzu sauce.  The wine was grown in a cold climate, in a chalky and limestone soil.  It was good on its own, but it really sang when paired with the scallops.

Our next item was the Mushroom Crusted Halibut with gulf shrimp raviolini and lobster consomme.  It was supposed to look like this…


But mine came out without the mushroom crust and without the raviolini.  I was disappointed by this fact, and quickly realized that they thought my allergy was to BLACK pepper as well as the vegetable peppers.  This is the most annoying part about my allergy.  In every language, black pepper and peppers are the same word.  But they are not related.  I cleared it up with the waiter immediately, but it wasn’t in time to get that raviolini back on this plate.  This fish was, sadly, overcooked. But the consomme was sensational.  Looking back, I wished I hadn’t eaten this entire piece of fish, as it was the worst thing all night (since it was overcooked) and I wound up far too full by the end of the evening.

The wine that was paired was a Drouhin Beaune ‘Clos des Mouches’ Blanc 2008.  The story of this wine was interesting.  It was on the 1st vineyard the family purchased and it was actually produced by accident.  In 1928, they were only producing red wine and told the pictures not to pick the white wine grapes yet because they were not yet ripe.  Some white wound up mixed in with the red, and when they tasted this white, they loved it.  It became the housewine for the famous restaurant in France, Maxine.  The name translates to “enclosure for flies,” however, flies were really bees (honey flies) and it happened that there were many in this area. It was smoky and long lasting.  One of my favorites of the evening.


Next was the currant glazed duck.  It came with summer truffle and a duck leg confit croquette along with herb roasted heirloom carrots.  I thought it was a very well composed dish, with a great balance of sweet with the fattiness of the duck.  The carrots were garlicky and awesome and the croquette sang to me.  Some found the currant glaze too sweet, but it was right up my alley.

The wine was the Drouhin Savigny-les-Beaune ‘Clos des Godeaux’ 2009.  It was from a vineyard that was purchased by the family in 2009 and was fruity and smelled like my Grandmother’s Italian Plum Pie.  It was my second favorite of the evening.  We were informed that the 9s were very good for wine years, and 2009 was one of the best in the last 110 years in the Burgundy region. I agreed.


We then were presented with a selection of artisanal cheeses (Coupole from Vermont, Le Marecha from Switzerland, Ubriaco Speciale from Veneto, Italy, and Cantalet from Auvergne, France).  I honesty couldn’t tell you which was which, but they were all great.  And made even better by the fig jam, quince paste, and raisin walnut bread it was served with. That bread was simply scrumptious!

The cheeses were actually served with 2 red wines.  One was the Drouhin Clos de Vougeot 2004.  I thought this was a bit strong and almost blotted out the flavor of the cheese.  The second wine was produced just 5 miles away, but was completely differently.  I really loved the Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny ‘Premier Cru’ 2003.  I thought it was fantastic and my top wine of the evening.  It smelled a bit like port and I thought it was the perfect foil for the cheeses.  Interesting, Laurent Drouhin asked the room who liked which one.  1/3 were with me, and 2/3 preferred the first wine.  He made the point well that wine preferences are very personal.


Our final dish of the evening was a strawberry cheesecake with strawberry rhubarb sorbet.  This was… unnatural.  The color was a little too fake and the taste reminded me of fruit loops.  I couldn’t get past it and didn’t really enjoy this (which is strange for a dessert lover like me).  Someone else mentioned that it tasted like those Hostess packaged strawberry treats.  Neither comparison was something I would want my dessert to taste like.  It was a shame after such a lovely meal.


Our table left very satisfied, and the number of glasses we amounted over the course of the evening amused me.


Overall, both the food and wine at this event were fantastic.  I’m really thrilled to have been invited and this definitely elevated my perception of the restaurant.  Laurent Drouhin said the wines were made to be “Food Friendly” and he was absolutely right.  I will pursue these wines and hope I can find them in local stores.  (If only I could figure out how to pronounce them).  I’m bummed that my allergy mix-up at the beginning meant I didn’t get to try things the way they were intended, however, even without that it was great.  I will make a point of going back here.

And I have to thank Rue La La for being so good to local bloggers and inviting us out to this event.  There was a handful of us in attendance, and we all enjoyed ourselves very much.  I have purchased a number of local packages from Rue La La (and don’t even get me started on how many pairs of shoes have been shipped my way courtesy of their shopping site) and have always found them to be one of the better “deals” sites.  This event was personal and professional and all around delicious.  They just recently launched local editions in Chicago and Miami and I highly encourage you to check out their site to see if they have deals in your area.

Thank you again to TriBeCa Grill, Joseph Drouhin Wines, and Rue La La for reserving a seat for me at this dinner.  It was NomAlicious!

Tribeca Grill- 2010 Restaurant Week

3 Mar

My second (and unfortunately final) stop for NYC Restaurant Week Winter 2010 was Tribeca Grill (corner of Greenwich and Franklin) with the wonderful Carrie.  I had never been, and I was excited to see they had a very delicious sounding Restaurant Week Menu.

I had to go with the Chestnut soup (LOVE chestnuts!) and it was good, but not great. It just wasn’t chesnutty enough. 

Carrie went with a regular green salad.

Carrie also chose the black truffle cavatelli and was kind enough to give me a bite. It was delish!

I went with the red wine braised short rib that came with brussel sprouts, chanterelles, and pancetta.  It was quite tasty!

I tried to avoid eating TOO terribly and chose to spend my calorie budget on the short ribs rather than dessert… but I couldn’t just NOT get dessert.  So Carrie and I both chose to go with the gelato.  She chose the coffee.

I went with a fruit trio.  I think it was strawberry, banana, and something?  I’m not sure what.  It was good but far from the best I’ve had.

Overall, I think it was a decent restaurant week menu and I’m glad I got to try this, but I’m not sure if I’d be in any rush to go back.

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10