Best Tribeca restaurants

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  • Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

    corton4

    Corton

  • Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

    theharrison1

    The Harrison

  • Photograph: Marlene Rounds

    locandaverde1

    Locanda Verde

  • marcforgione2

    Marc Forgione

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Mehtaphor

    Mehtaphor

  • Sushi Azabu

    Sushi Azabu

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    806tamarindtribeca01

    Tamarind Tribeca

Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

corton4

Corton

Blaue Gans
Kurt Gutenbrunner draws from his Austrian roots at this Tribeca restaurant, located inside the former Le Zinc space. The restaurateur hasn't done much in the way of decoration—he kept the large posters from the last tenant and added oversize mirrors—and instead focused on the food. For starters, choose from savory sausages like weisswurst (pork and veal sausage served with a soft pretzel). The wiener schnitzel, a traditional German breaded and fried pork chop, is superb. We were so stuffed afterward, we could hardly finish our kaiserschmarren, a cinnamon-dusted crumbled pancake with apple compote. 139 Duane St between Church St and West Broadway (212-571-8880, kg-ny.com)

Corton
Veteran restaurateur Drew Nieporent's white-on-white sanctuary focuses all attention on chef Paul Liebrandt's finely wrought food. Sweet bay scallops anchor a visual masterpiece, featuring wisps of radish, marcona almonds and sea urchin. Order the sweetbreads and a server arrives to show off the eggs used in the dish—pastel-hued specimens so gently poached, it takes less than a pinprick to unleash their yolks. Desserts are no less striking: Choose the riff on French toast, with brioche, passion-fruit curd, brioche-infused ice cream and a pungent smear of Stilton. 239 West Broadway between Walker and White St (212-219-2777, www.cortonnyc.com)

The Harrison
Chef Amanda Freitag (Gusto) meets her match in restaurateur Jimmy Bradley at the seven-year-old Harrison, where she recently took the reins in the kitchen. The menu marries Freitag's Italocentric rsum with the restaurant's signature New American cooking. Fried baby artichokes featured ricotta, pea leaves, sweet peas and spring-onion puree; a lamb chop marinated in rosemary and anchovies hid under buttery carrots and fennel. The lush olive-oil cake was also on point, thanks to pastry chef Colleen Grapes, a Bradley vet. Like an auteur director, he inspires not just great performances, but a loyal cast, too. 355 Greenwich St at Harrison St (212-274-9310, theharrison.com)

Landmarc Tribeca
This downtown dining destination quickly distinguished itself among Tribeca restaurants by serving heady bistro dishes (bone marrow, crispy sweetbreads) until 2am, and stocking the wine list with reasonably priced half bottles. Chef-owner Marc Murphy focuses on the tried-and-true: frise aux lardons, boudin noir and several types of mussels. Metal beams and exposed brick add an unfinished edge to the elegant bi-level space. Those who have little restraint when it comes to sweets will appreciate the dessert menu: All desserts come in miniature portions and cost $3 a pop; a tasting of six goes for $15. 179 West Broadway between Leonard and Worth Sts (212-343-3883, landmarc-restaurant.com)

Locanda Verde
Owner Robert De Niro swapped his train-wreck trattoria, Ago, for this blockbuster replacement helmed by chef Andrew Carmellini (A Voce). Carmellini's bold family-style fare is best enjoyed as a bacchanalian banquet. A single charred octopus tentacle served with tangy romesco won't last long in the middle of the table. Nor will the chef's ravioli—as delicate as silk handkerchiefs and oozing pungent robiola. Locanda is the rare Italian restaurant with desserts worth saving room for: Try the rich, crumbly brown-butter plum cake. 377 Greenwich St between Franklin and North Moore Sts (212-925-3797, locandaverdenyc.com)

Marc Forgione
Chef Marc Forgione embraces his fate as the godson of American cooking (his father is local-foods champion Larry Forgione) at this homegrown eatery framed by brick walls and rustic cedar. Though the fare is inconsistent, the junior Forgione ekes out some successes. Halibut was anointed with an emulsion of tomato broth and lemon oil (think liquid gazpacho), and a juicy rib eye with chimichurri sauce, marrow, fried onions and hash browns was superb, if made too precious with a side of boutique salts. Forgione isn't trying to escape his father's shadow; his work-in-progress restaurant indicates that he's running toward it. 134 Reade St between Greenwich and Hudson Sts (212-941-9401, forgenyc.com)

Mehtaphor
Following up the cult success of his East Village cubbyhole, Graffiti, Food Network star Jehangir Mehta expands his playful riffs on Pan-Asian flavors at this new venture in the Duane Street Hotel. Yet for all the wizardry on display—Pop Rocks oysters, beef tartare with guacamole sorbet—the most compelling dish may be the one that most faithfully evokes his childhood in Mumbai. The meatless Indian Street Burger channels an everyday roadside snack called pav bhaji: essentially, the contents of a vegetable samosa flavored with Thai chiles and tart tamarind, then stuffed into a bun. Follow the addictive sandwiches (two per order, plus garlic fries) with a Coconut Fizz—the blend of house-made coconut-chili sorbet, vodka and seltzer has the creamy fizziness you'd expect from a soda-fountain float. 130 Duane St at Church St (212-542-9440)

Stuzzicheria
Bar Stuzzichini gets a smaller sibling, with a pared-down menu of Italian small plates. A daily happy hour (4--7pm) offers a free nibble (like chickpea sliders or beef meatballs) with each drink—choose from cocktails or 40 wines by the glass, bottle or quartino. 305 Church St at Walker (212-219-4037, stuzzicherianyc.com)

Sushi Azabu
This stealthy sushi shrine—tucked away in the basement of Greenwich Grill—attracts solo diners who happily hobnob with the talkative chefs while popping exceptional nigiri morsels into their mouths. You can order la carte, but the $58 prix fixe is a generous bargain: First-rate sashimi and grilled salmon starters are followed by half a roll and seven plump pieces (among them luscious chutoro and sweet, silky raw shrimp). For dessert: Try the classic Mont Blanc chestnut parfait. Unorthodox in this setting, but delicious. 428 Greenwich St between Laightand Vestry Sts (212-274-0428, www.greenwichgrill.com/sushiazabu/sushiazabu.html)

Tamarind Tribeca
A stunning spin-off of the original Tamarind in the Flatiron District, the Tribeca location convincingly draws from all corners of the subcontinent with its sprawling menu. Beyond the requisite chicken tikka masala (one of the best we've had), the dishes delight at every turn: A lamb appetizer (Nizami Keema) combines tender grilled strips with soft minced meat and pillowy nan, while Punjabi Mutton—actually made with goat—falls off the bone in a rich, vibrant curry. But the most consistent pleasures come out of the twin tandoor ovens, visible from the main dining room; superlative lamb chops—tangy, spicy and tender—and moist sea bass slathered with thick yogurt and a subtle blend of roasted spices that enriches the flaky fish without overwhelming its delicate flavor. 99 Hudson St at Franklin St (212-775-9000)


 

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