Danny Meyer has a new place in town and it’s called the North End Grill. He has appointed Floyd Cardoz (of Tabla restaurant and Top Chef Masters fame) at the helm of this downtown located restaurant. When I say it’s downtown, it’s way downtown in Battery Park City. I imagine it does quite well with the corporate accounts – Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Canada are right around the block. Anyone that is familiar with the NY culinary scene knows who Danny Meyer is and the delicious food offerings he consistently puts out. (He is the mastermind behind Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park to name a few.) So Page Six snagged us a reservation and we were on our way.
The menu is more noveau American than anything. I have to admit I assumed it would have Indian influences due to the chef. There is even an entire section dedicated to eggs! Bourdain should visit – he is a self proclaimed “egg slut”.
Before hitting the wine, I decided to start with a cocktail: Negroni. Look at the vibrant color and I adore when cocktails are served with one large, perfect ice cube:
We all shared the roasted bone marrow with trout roe, trotter and cress:
OMG so good. The bone marrow had hints of beef flavor and, as you could imagine, was pretty decadent slathered on bread. The marrow was slightly smokey and buttery at the same time. The nice pop of salty trout roe replaced the sea salt usually served with marrow and worked incredibly well. I’ve never had caviar served with marrow but goodness does it work! Even Cookie Monster partook (and he does not like marrow) and we were all sort of fighting over the last bites. The marrow was served with a side of toasted bread that had slow roasted and sweet caramelized onions perched on top. Not really sure what purpose it served as it didn’t really provide any foundation on which to eat the marrow but it was tasty.
Page Six and I opted to get an appetizer and two additional appetizers as a main course. Cookie Monster took the traditional route and got an appetizer and main.
Page Six started with the tuna tartare with fried quail egg and crispy shallots:
Tuna was clearly fresh and the crispy shallots added a nice texture but this is not something I’ve never had before.
Cookie Monster and I chose off the egg selection and got the coddled egg with peekytoe crab, bacon and grits:
This dish was quite rich. You had the velvety egg yolk, when cracked, provided a rich gravy over the already butter infused grits. I didn’t make out much of the peekytoe crab however as it was lost to the stronger flavors of bacon. Everything sort of blended together when you ate it and it was difficult to taste any of the separate components outside of bacon and eggs. I would have really liked to taste the crab but it is just to delicate to fight the battle. In my opinion, it could have used something else as everything in this dish was somewhat mushy in texture: maybe something crunchy…..
For main course, Page Six got the lobster omelet with a side of beet and ricotta salad.
The omelet was perfectly cooked and not dry at all (I mean you can see how well the egg was cooked in the photo above). Folded in was luscious, slightly salty bites of lobster meat and the whole thing was topped with what tasted like a bordelaise sauce to me. Lobster is so well paired with egg.
Her side dish was roasted beets with orange infused ricotta:
(haha sorry – we had already digged in before I remember to take a shot.) To the right of the beet salad is Cookie Monster’s side of mixed winter greens.
For main course, Cookie Monster got the seared diver scallops with cauliflower:
Well executed. Scallops cooked perfect with a caramelized crust and the roasting of the cauliflower made them sweeter and slightly smoky. Scallops are pretty rich so the portion size was enough. I made a note to self that I need to start ordering scallops more often. I wanted more after my taste.
I got two appetizers. First was the grilled sardines with frisee aux lardons:
The sardines are butterflied and then actually brushed with bacon fat before going on the grill. The fish was delicious but I did not like that the tiny bones of the sardines were still in the fish. I know that sardine bones are edible and usually served with the fish as they are too small to pull out but I found them annoying and it put me off. If you love sardines or never had it (and don’t mind tiny soft bones), this is a great dish to start with – the fish is mellow and soft with lots of flavor. The frisee aux lardons were classically prepared. Frisee is tossed with bacon fat and chunks of crispy bacon.
The other appetizer I got was the clam pizza:
It’s sweet tiny clams on freshly made pizza bread that has been brushed generously with bright olive oil. Now this pizza is served with a generous heaping of CILANTRO – which I hate. Cilantro is not listed as an ingredient on the menu and because the cilantro is chopped it was impossible for me to pick out – not that I wanted to sit there and waste time. However the restaurant was so nice about replacing the pizza and even apologetic. They served up another piping hot version without the cilantro and I really loved this. The bread provided a nice chewy vessel to deliver the sweet clams. I kinda want it now.
Cookie Monster finished the meal with the sticky toffee pudding served with a side of ginger ice cream (he is sort of obsessed with this dessert for it’s gooey and caramel-y sweetness):
The room is beautiful, airy and modern – Page Six and I remarked that you truly feel like an adult dining at North End Grill. I cannot say the food blew me away but I really did enjoy my meal very much. I loved the marrow, I loved my pizza and I thought the scallops and lobster omelet were quite tasty. In fact, this might be a great place to take a client to dinner or even the folks when they are in town as the restaurant is comfortably spacious, pleasing to the eye and not too loud…plus the service is top notch.
North End Grill, 104 North End Avenue, New York, NY