186 Franklin Street, near Greenwich Street, Tribeca
Getting There: 2,3 to Chambers Street; 6 to Canal Street
Restaurant Review: Kutsher's Tribeca
With a menu full of updated takes on classic Jewish-American fare, Kutsher’s Tribeca has certainly brought a new distinction to the opulent, energetic neighborhood. Widely lauded with bestowed upon praise for much of the year that the restaurant has been open, the modern looking synagogue-esque interior packs in guests looking for that bit of refinement that a Katz’s or a 2nd Avenue Deli don’t seem to offer while noshing on “Chilled Borscht” ($10), “Pickled Herring Two Ways” ($13), or the always popular “Mrs. K’s Matzo Ball Soup” ($12). But not even the grand ambiance nor Tribeca’s liveliness would salvage the just so-so meal that we were served inside, despite our immense anticipation beforehand.
Kutsher’s Tribeca certainly deserves credit for its imagination- the niche of higher end Jewish inspired fare is one that remains widely unexplored here in Manhattan, and with the successes of so many well known New York City institutions and staples for similar fare, it’s only fitting that a place cater toward a more distinguished base of diners. From the street, the restaurant fits seamlessly into the surrounding neighborhood spots- its shiny wood paneled exterior could be mistaken for a chic, specialty clothing store. The massive front window however reveals a different animal altogether- the bright but diminutive bar is as contemporary looking as any we’ve visited recently with oversized desk lamps strewn overhead, shining down fancily on tasty cocktails like the refreshing “Mint Margarita” ($12) and “The Anawana” ($12). The back of the dining room is laid out like an actual temple, with bits of gold paneling surrounding the marble topped tables.
Unfortunately, aside from the décor, much of what remained of our experience was underwhelming. The “Lamb Brisket” ($29), despite sounding delicious served alongside a lamb stuffed cabbage and a bed of asparagus, was served incredibly fatty, underneath a cold tomato sauce. The conflicting of temperatures from hot meat to cold sauce was disappointing for a dish with such promise. Moreover the “Barbequed Beef Flanken” ($27) was satisfactory at best. The brisket was well charred and paired nicely with the polenta cake and crunchy grilled spring onions, but the collection of flavors could not fully compliment the rubbery cut of meat. All was not wrong however- the “Grilled Romanian Steak” ($29) served with braised greens was a well seasoned skirt that was savory and delicious, while the heaping “Milton’s Short Rib and Brisket Meatballs” ($12) were equally as tasty, served with a tomato and cream sauce. Luckily there’s no complaining about portion size here as the generous helping of “Potato Kugel” ($9) was a bit on the salty side, but the bubbling over bowl easily served our party.
For traditionalists looking for a fresh perspective on traditional Jewish fare, Kutsher’s Tribeca would seem to be a haunt worth visiting. Much of the buzz that surrounds it deals primarily with its big name restaurateur and its creativity in reinventing some much beloved cooking conventions. But the menu is priced inadequately with the level of food being brought to the table, and that’s something that not even the excitement of its surrounding area can save. In our trip to Kutsher’s Tribeca, we were left with a resounding “Meh.”
Rundown of the Meal
Mint Margarita ($12)
The Anawana ($12)
Milton’s Short Rib & Brisket Meatballs ($12)*
Lamb Brisket ($29)
Barbequed Beef Flanken ($27)
Grilled Romanian Steak ($29)*
Potato Kugel ($9)
Black and White Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich ($9)