TYPE: French-influenced Contemporary American
VIBE: Cozy elegance OCCASION: A romantic date or civilized family celebration DON’T MISS DISH: Sauteed gnocchi with sage & chives DON’T BOTHER DISH: Wild striped bass with tomato confit DRINK SPECIALTY: 100-bottle global wine list PRICE: $55 & up INSIDE SCOOP: A downstairs private room for parties. HOURS: Dinner, 7 days a week, Mon – Sun, 5:30 PM – 11:30 PM; lunch & weekend brunch, starting late January (tbd). RESERVATIONS: Reservations recommended, especially on weekends. RESTAURANT GIRL RATES: 7
FINAL WORD: As the trend toward Contemporary American cuisine trickles outside its West Village epicenter, veteran chef, Dennis Foy, sets his sights on Tribeca with a splendidly well-executed, French-influenced menu of his own.
After spending over thirty years in haute kitchens in both New Jersey (Townsquare & Bay Point Prime) and New York (EQ & Mondrian), Dennis Foy settles into Tribeca with a eponymous new restaurant. An artist himself, Dennis Foy has transformed the former Lo Scalco eatery, into a warm space, elegantly furbished with brightly colored arches, cranberry-stained silk chandeliers, gold leafed-walls and dark wood floors. As if spending the evening in the chef’s home, diners sit among land and seascapes, all personally painted by Dennis himself (and for sale). While the white tablecloths and prices may suggest formality, the space manages to evoke a sense of ease, perhaps a product of a seasoned chef with a bounty of restaurants under his belt.
While rooted in classic French cooking, Dennis explores modern American fare, even dipping in his toes in molecularly-altered waters with a terrine of foie gras, featuring “Eis and Snow” – Eiswein gelee and foie gras powder. With his wife at the front of the house, Dennis focuses his efforts on a petite, but refined menu, including roasted lamb with acorn squash, crabmeat tian and arctic char with spinach & nutmeg. Having grown up in New Jersey only minutes away from Townsquare, Dennis Foy deflowered my then, unrefined palate (at the tender age of 12), with his signature crabmeat tian, sublimely sauteed crab, gently washed with chive butter.
Suffice it to say, I was eager to sample his lastest incarnation, a culmination of Foy’s “favorite dishes, techniques and ingredients”.
I was off to a nearly perfect start, surrendering to a simple, but intensely satisfying bowl of potato gnocchi – celestial sauteed dumplings, tossed with chives, sage, garlic and earthy, porcini mushrooms. I was beyond grateful to Foy for breathing new life into the now trite dish of caviar-topped scallops atop cauliflower puree, serving them instead, on a crisp bed of bright savoy cabbage with a simple swirl of buttery, parsnip puree. Then, it was onto a somewhat uninspired wild striped sea bass, served atop a mound of bland tomato confit, dotted with black olives, and black olive paper. But the impeccably braised short ribs were a work of art, pleasing on both the eye and the tongue. Nicely crusty on the outside, the short ribs were deeply moist and savory, expertly complemented by spiced red cabbage and baby carrots.
Dessert was the work of Kimberly Bugler, who fulfilled my deepest chocolate craving with her chocolate hazelnut dome – a dark chocolate shell mounted over layers of creamy chocolate mousse, crunchy hazelnut and a wonderful coffee-laced brulee. I wasn’t nearly as charmed by the coconunut caramel bar with a ribbon of litchi, but the accompanying mango lime sorbet is worth sampling, a impressive interplay of sweet-n-tart notes.
While rich in both flavors and textures, the fare here is surprisingly simple and yet, precisely executed – there’s clearly an accomplished chef in the kitchen. Though I’m not sure Dennis Foy’s will ever become a neighborhood haunt, it dutifully earns the title of dining destination.
Until we eat again,
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