Best Tribeca restaurants
In a city brimming with kitchen rock stars, it takes a lot more than a Food Network show to attract attention. At American Cut, Iron Chef Marc Forgione isn’t turning heads so much as laying down a safe bet. Unlike his other recent debut—Khe-Yo, the city’s first Laotian hot spot—his brassy Tribeca steakhouse delivers more of the same to a city already pumped up with marbled meat and Barolo. A spin-off of his Atlantic City original, it’s a playpen for high-rolling carnivores, suffused with wafting scents of singed fat and smoke-laced bourbon.
Following Michelin-starred chef Paul Liebrandt's abrupt departure from Corton for the Elm in August 2013, Drew Nieporent has changed gears, enlisting chef Markus Glocker (Gordon Ramsay at the London) to infuse a multicourse European tasting menu with touches of his native Austria: roasted beets "Linzer" with caramelized hazelnuts and red currants; baked turbot with egg yolk and salted pumpkinseeds; and a rabbit "flavors of bouillabaisse" with saffron ravioli and sauce rouille. France dominates the wine list, with a solid lineup of white varietals from the restaurant's namesake, Bâtard-Montrachet.
Briny raw oysters out of the shell, wrapped in raw scallop and topped with osetra caviar, have a primal deep-ocean quality. A slow-poached egg in a far richer appetizer, meanwhile, comes swaddled in buttery polenta and sunchoke puree, with coconut-garlic broth and whisper-thin Serrano ham shards. Our favorite: butter-poached lobster with pomegranate pinot noir sauce, chicken with almond puree and black truffles, chocolate frivolous—Bouley is nothing if not a master of the saucier's art. Tables are all well lit and well spaced. The most romantic have a view of the fireplace and are illuminated by candelabras instead of table lamps.
The ever-changing seasonal menu, which rotates through 5,000 dishes that talented import Isao Yamada spent years testing, is best experienced as an intricate multicourse feast known as kaiseki. A meal might start with muted petals of raw kombu-wrapped sea bass, before building slowly toward a subtle climax: asparagus tips with pristine lobes of uni leading to earthy stewed pork cheeks with cider reduction and green-apple puree. In keeping with the basic tenets of this culinary art form, the savory procession concludes with a rice dish—top-notch chirashi or seafood and rice cooked in a clay casserole—and delicate sweets such as creamy soy-milk panna cotta.
The name means “grandma” in Yiddish, but to celebs, punksters and stroller-pushers who wait all morning for a table, it means brunch. The sun-blasted restaurant, originally a pie kitchen, has morphed into an all-day gourmet picnic; at the front, insulated from the pram parking lot, is the bar. The fluorescent dessert cases and gaudy floral wallpaper will fade after one of the signature “loco” cocktails (the Slow Comfortable Screw blends Southern Comfort, champagne and OJ). Top off your buzz with Bubby’s mile-high apple pie. Then, stick a fork in it you’re done for the day.
Like its older sibling, China Blue feels fashionable, but not overdressed in its 1930s decor. Wang and Zhang have switched from Café China’s chili-spiked Szechuan to the much tamer flavors of Shanghai for their sophomore effort, but they’ve retained their trademark aesthetic. The high-ceilinged, teal-swabbed dining room is unlike the city’s other exemplars of the regional cuisine, showcasing antique lamps, worn books and old typewriters like Art Deco calling cards. Young waiters whisk delicate, crab-rich soup dumplings ($10) to tables, while smartly dressed couples sip classic cocktails from etched-glass coupes. Where Café China relies on the one-two punch of chilies and Szechuan peppercorns, China Blue offers subtler interplays among salty, smoky and sweet.
This 40-seat izakaya—taking over the space atop Sushi Azabu—spotlights ramen's high-maintenance cousin, soba. Noodle master Shuichi Kotani turns out fresh tangles every 30 minutes, grinding imported Japanese buckwheat by stonemill and boiling it for exactly 20 seconds. The resulting strands are deployed in eight dishes, topped with roasted duck, Japanese bottarga or grated yam. Beyond the noodle bowl, Nobuhito Dosei (of L.A.'s Michelin-starred Mori Sushi) dispatches sushi and small plates: live scallops with smoked salt and yuzu juice; deep-fried tofu with nameko mushrooms in dashi; and kobe beef with wasabi and oroshi-ponzu sauce.
Inspired by historic American public houses that served as social anchors of towns and neighborhoods for centuries, Distilled is located in a landmarked space in the heart of Tribeca designed to create a welcoming and communal atmosphere. The menu offers a wide variety of regional American dishes as well as a beverage program that includes specialty cocktails, wine, craft beer and a selection of meads. We look forward to having you and your friends as our guests.
As New York’s first Laotian restaurant, Khe-Yo brims with trailblazer pride. The restaurant comes from Marc Forgione and his longtime right-hand man Soulayphet Schwader, a Laos native who delivers the cuisine of his homeland with upmarket style. Peer around to find a downtown crowd embracing the invitation to renounce silverware. Fingers grab at gnarled strips of moist sesame beef jerky, with a deep meaty twang. Hands cup lettuce leaves for chunks of whole grilled black bass in one dish, or fragments of fried coconut rice balls in another. “Bang bang” sauce—the striking house condiment of lime juice, fish sauce, garlic and ample Thai chili—takes up permanent residence on the table, alongside a basket of sticky rice, which you pinch off in balls with your fingers.
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: frisée 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.