Saturday night Cookie Monster and I met up with Cowboy and his friend at Hotel Griffou restaurant. We sort of left reservations at the last minute even though plans were made weeks before and we were scrambling for anything on a Saturday night. Cookie Monster and Cowboy have both been to Griffou before but I had not and so we decided to meet there at 9:30 Saturday evening.
The restaurant is located in a cute boutique hotel. You are greeted by a friendly doorman and you walk downstairs where the restaurant is located. It’s dim, sexy, lots of deep reds and warm lighting – you feel like you are walking into some mid 17th century boudoir or vampire’s lair lol.
We all had the Smoke and Fire cocktail which is herradura tequila, ilegal mezcal, agave,lime & grapefruit juice with housemade habanero sauce:
That drink had a nice smokey finish and spicy kick. It was pretty good albeit a tad sweet for me.
For appetizer, I had the spicy grilled octopus with homemade caponata (which is like an eggplant ragu) and shisito peppers.
I am a huge fan of octopus and a huge lover of shisito peppers so this appetizer instantly jumped at me. The octopus was well cooked and not chewy at all. The shisito peppers added a nice fresh spicy taste to the dish and the caponata had depth and was full of flavor. HOWEVER, all these things combined did not work. It was random – they didn’t play together well, there was no contrast in textures…it literally was like someone took leftovers in the fridge and threw them all together. Also the caponata overwhelmed everything and there was simply too much of it on the plate. Overdressed.
Cookie Monster got the eggplant parm:
The sauce is really tasty but again- this plate was oversauced. The eggplant was too thinly sliced to stand up to the robust sauce. The eggplant simply was not hefty nor substantial enough to stand up to the cooking process and it was as though it had melted into the sauce. I literally felt like I was spooning chunky sauce into my mouth.
For main course, I wanted the sea bass special but they were out so I got the cacciucco alla livornese which was advertised as having shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, octopus & squid, in a spicy white wine & tomato broth with garlic bruschetta.
Underwhelmed. It was just a bunch of seafood cooked quickly together and then some tomato based sauce spooned over it. There was nothing interesting or special about this dish at all and what pissed me off was they served me a plain slice of table bread – no garlic bruschetta! Believe it or not, I was looking forward to dipping a buttery and garlicky piece of crunchy bread into my seafood broth. FAIL.
Cookie Monster got the chicken under a brick and he thought the chicken was juicy but again nothing to write home about:
So before I got to Griffou I was told the food was good but nothing to rave about and I have to say those opinions were pretty much true. The food was decent and definitely not extraordinary. I can’t say I’ll come back here but the restaurant itself is quite pretty. Not a place I’d go on a nice spring or summer evening because it’s very dark in the restaurant but it’s a sexy place to take a first date for a drink I suppose.
Hotel Griffou, 21 West 9th Street, New York, NY