Eatin’ in New York 2
Prior to traveling to New York, Jeff took a quick look at the 2012 James Beard finalist list. One name jumped out immediately, Tremont. Upon checking the restaurant website, he learned that indeed the place was named for Cleveland’s Tremont area and the three guy behind it all spent time there. So where does a loyal Clevelander dine in the Big Apple? Tremont, of course and it couldn’t have been a better experience. Jeff is not sure why, but octopus is always prepared perfectly in New York. The Tremont version was mixed with garlic sausage, sweet onions, chilies and lemon. The octopus was butter-soft; the sausage would have made any ethnic Tremont butcher proud and the sweet, hot, tart mixture added a host of flavor. He was off to a great start. The glazed Pork Shoulder was crunch on the outside, impossibly tender and flavorful on the inside and the grain mustard added just the right amount of earthiness needed for this heretofore ignored porcine cut of meat. The rutabaga kraut was a wonderful and inventive side. It made Jeff wonder why chefs everywhere aren’t using this tasty, tangy vegetable more. Tremont New York was the perfect place to start his eating adventure in New York and these guys have really done Cleveland proud.
While wandering around TriBeCa, Jeff considered another visit to Locanda Verde, a fabulous place with some of the best nouveau Italian cuisine he’s ever enjoyed. Instead, he decided to try the Tribeca Grill. While Robert De Niro’s ownership may have graced it with initial patronage, good honest food has allowed it to continue. Jeff grabbed a bar seat and simply had the Maytag Bleu Cheese and Endive Salad with a nice glass of Italian wine. It was good, but the most memorable aspect of this visit was the genuine care and friendliness of the lunchtime bartender/server. Lunch was almost over, regardless, he made Jeff feel welcome, wanted and unhurried. His care was reason enough to schedule a return visit for a whole meal.
After a day of work and preceding tickets to a hot evening performance, Jeff squeezed in an early Saturday dinner at Aldea, a Mediterranean eatery that has garnered a bit of notice over the years. He started with the excellent Green and White Asparagus served with seared ramps and a soft-boiled duck egg over the top. A quick slice and chop allowed the gooey egg goodness to envelop the grassy green and spunky white split stems. Ramp, quick becoming a chef’s secret ingredient added a perfect amount of “pungent” to the mix. For dinner, Jeff decided on the Arroz de Pato, a delightfully original blend of rice, duck breast, duck confit, chorizo sausage and citrus. This was heaven on a plate and not a grain of rice went uneaten. The cashew-banana mousse dessert sealed the deal. The next time he is in New York, a return is inevitable.
No trip to New York can be complete without a late-night visit to La Masseria. This is Jeff’s “default” restaurant for after-theatre food in the theatre district. The orecciette with broccoli rabe is his “default” selection. Sometimes soup precedes, sometime salad begins. Regardless of the start, this is a nice place to finish an evening.
New York is a place that many dollars can be spent for and endless variety of food. Much will be good, some will be great. Before planning a trip, careful research will enable you to maximize your value and enjoyment. Save your money, buy good food!
51 Bank Street New York, NY 10014 212-488-1019
377Greenwich Street (at N Moore) New York, NY 10013 212-925-3797
(Tribeca Grill website features a danger warning)375 Greenwich Street New York, NY 10013212-941-3900
31 W 17th Street New York, NY 100 212-673-7223
234 W 48th Street New York, NY10036 212-582-2111