What better way to spend a November weekend then to head up to New York City and explore the lower East End including a tour of the Chelsea market and dinner at Robert Deniro’s Tribeca Grill, one of the bright stars in the area’s culinary heavens. Well, one better way would be to do it with good friends, and Gerry and Joann B. from Oaks, PA certainly qualify on that front. We met them at noon on Saturday, and after dropping our bags off in our rooms at the Marriott, we set off on foot to explore the area.
We got a peek at the construction slowly progressing at Ground Zero. Cranes dot the skyline that once featured two gleaming towers. It’s taking more time than one would have imagined but I feel confident that when completed it will be a tribute of which we can all be justly proud.
We walked down to South Street Seaport for views of the ferries on the river and the Brooklyn Bridge, still for sale, in the background. We grabbed some lunch at a nice outdoor restaurant called Sequoia, as we took advantage of the sunny, almost 60 degree, late fall afternoon in the Big Apple.
We walked off the food by heading up to the Financial District, checked out the New York Stock Exchange, the weekend wanderers on Wall Street, and the scores of street merchants peddling everything from photos to watches to designer handbags.
We headed down to Battery Park, paused for a visit to The New York Wine Exchange, and caught a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty poised as she always is as the beacon of freedom to millions who have come here seeking the opportunity for a better life. In fact, so many find her attraction so compelling that they attempt to replicate her beauty. There were three of them in Battery Park but although many tourists were fooled into thinking these were the real Statue of Liberty, a history buff such as myself never hesitated in knowing they were imposters. See if you can spot the REAL Statue of Liberty from these two photos.
If you picked the photo on the bottom you are a true patriot who knows their American history and probably excelled in the classroom. If you picked the photo on the top, I suggest you stop reading this blog immediately, call a doctor, preferably an Optometrist and think seriously about having yourself institutionalized.
As the afternoon sun slipped toward the horizon it was time to head back to the hotel for a pre-dinner glass of wine and a recap of the afternoon as we prepared for what we hoped would be an excellent meal at one of New York’s best dining spots. The four of us had been here a couple of years ago and enjoyed a couple bottles of the 2001 Shirvington at the Tribeca Grill.
I have decided I am going to discuss the wines that we enjoyed this weekend in a separate post simply because all four of them were good enough to warrant attention on their own merit. I will tell you that before dinner we had the 2005 O’Shaughnessy, Howell Mountain Cabernet and the 2005 Larkmead, Napa Valley Cabernet (I have just poured myself the final glass of the Larkmead 48 hours later and am about to drink it).
We took a cab (that would be a vehicle for hire as opposed to a wine varietal) from the Marriott to the Tribeca Grill for our 8 P.M. reservation. The restaurant was packed with weekend diners. It seemed every table in the room was buzzing with activity. Gerry and I had looked at the wine menu online and made our selections. I had chosen the 2005 Lillian, White Hawk Vineyard Syrah, and Gerry wanted the 2005 Venge Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Again, these wines will be discussed in the next post because there is much to say about both of these wines.
My meal began with a bowl of French Onion soup, correct temperature, lots of good onion flavor, a blanket of crusty cheese, and some bread to make your own croutons. A good start. The menu offered several interesting choices and mine was the
Grilled Long Island Duck Breast 29
Butternut Squash & Apple Purée, Spinach, sun-dried Cherry Sauce
The duck had been carefully sliced into multiple fork size pieces and then reconstructed on the plate to form an entire breast. It was crispy and looked picture perfect as it sat on the bed of spinach and squash puree. The portion size was excellent and the duck flavorful and cooked to perfection. I was very happy with my choice of entree.
Gerry began his meal with the Charcuterie Plate 14
Speck, Veal & Mushroom Terrine & Chicken Liver Mousse. He raved about Mousse and felt the Lillian wine was an excellent accompaniment to the entire dish. For an entree he selected the Grilled Dry Aged New York Strip Steak – 16oz. 39
Roasted Chanterelles & Blue Cheese Potato Purée
His plate looked delicious and his steak was done medium as he had requested. I did get to sample the Blue Cheese Potato Puree and it was absolutely incredible. In fact, it would have gone well with my duck and yes, I was envious that it wasn’t included with my fowl. It appeared to me that Gerry was slowly savoring each bite of his meal.
Once again, I was offered, and readily accepted, a taste of her salmon. It was perfect with a crisp crust, balanced beautifully on a cushion of horseradish potato mousse and the bacon and onion stew. If I had any complaint at all it would simply be that I would have preferred a bigger cushion of the wonderful accoutrements. Joann was quite happy with her choice. My wife, Kathy was torn between a few selections but opted for the Roasted Organic Chicken 23
Creamy Potato Purée, Porcinis, Brown Butter Carrots & Peas
Once again, Executive Chef, Steven Lewandowski displays his creative skills with a simple dish served in an elegant style and accentuated with porcini mushrooms, Kathy was completely satisfied with her poultry dish and all of us were totally impressed with the service and overall quality of the Tribeca Grill.
This turned out to be one of those dishes that looked better than it tasted. It was well done and the ice cream was delicious but it just may have been that I wasn’t as into the whole banana thing as I imagined. It certainly did nothing to affect my overall impression of Tribeca Grill as being an outstanding example of what makes New York City the dining capital of the world. Remember, it’s not the BYOB capital of the world, that title belongs to South Jersey, but there is no denying that the hundreds of great places to eat in Manhattan make it the home of the Holy Grail for gourmands.