DRINK: Sparkling rose
START WITH: Maryland lump crab cake
ORDER: Wild mushroom risotto
FINISH WITH: Stroll over to Billy’s Bakery for a slice of peanut butter cake.
After the sudden & curious departure of co-owner Alex Freij (Industry), Diner 24 has literally overnight ditched its name and upscale diner menu for globally-inspired fare and the new title of Tour. As tables literally pour out onto the Chelsea sidewalk, this spirited venue begs to be the center of attention. With a windowed facade, stone walls and a tiled ceiling, the only thing missing’s a disco ball to nostalgically whisk you back to high school for a game of spin the bottle (if only the lights weren’t so damn bright).
After running the show at Ide Mae Kitchen-n-Lounge, chef Kenneth Collins is moving away from his Southern culinary accomplishments to try his hand at just about every other cuisine under the sun. Organized by country, the new menu spans the global map: Greece, Italy, France, Far East,
Latin America, and America. At the stroke of midnight, Tour pays homage to classic comfort foods like mac & cheese with a dedicated late-night munchie menu.
Around the world in one meal, I began my trip in France with a Pierre Robert salad, tossed in a gently sweet walnut-sherry vinaigrette, which perfectly offset the saltiness of a decadent hunk of cheese. Then, onwards to Latin America where I sampled the pulled pork arepas, an overly smoky pork tangle atop an all too dense corn muffin, that tasted more like American barbecue than a Venezuelan dish.
In an attempt to show off his versatility, Collins fails to capture the authentic flavors of most countries. Dubbed Thai by Collins himself, the chicken spring rolls were reminiscent of mediocre Chinese takeout. Though geographically logical, the “Greek” baby lamb chops were unnaturally forced onto the same plate as overdressed eggplant and a feta salad.
The one diamond in the rough was an exceptionally light and flavorful wild mushroom risotto, speckled with sweet squash and fresh peas.
The desserts were nothing to speak of, so I won’t other than to mention a so-called “peach cobbler” so indistinct, it could’ve easily been mistaken for apple. But the dessert and the rest of the menu are mostly beside the point at Tour, where diners seem too busy scanning the scene to even notice what they’re putting in their mouths.