We were looking for a place to get some brunch with our friends Jen and Gary and ended up at Tartinery in Nolita. I was expecting a small bistro, but when we arrived, we discovered a fairly modern place that seems to cater to a younger crowd rather than families.
Although, there is a bit of nostalgia as can attest the black and white photos on the walls (Jimi Hendrix, Serge Gainsbourg, a popular and scandalous French singer on top of his career between 1970 to 1991 when he passed away - check his interaction with Whitney Houston on Youtube...).
There are two main sections: upstairs, next to the bar, where couple of tables are lined up.
And downstairs, a more spectacular room with huge ceilings and wine bottles sitting in enclosures several feet from the floor, only accessible using the iron ladder.
The restaurant describes itself as a contemporary bistro: I would agree, although it can give the impression of dining in a dungeon!
Let's talk about the menu: the main concept is a tartine, a French term for a slice of bread with a spread on top. At Tartinery, it is simply a whole meal served on a piece of rustic bread. Imagine a buschetta but with limitless choices on top of the bread. There, you can pick three different breads: country peasant and health multigrain from Eli's bakery or rustic sourdough from Poilane bakery in Paris.
Before we started our meal, we ordered some beverages. Gary went for a beer from Corsica called Pietra.
I went for a fresh squeezed juice, the Delicious Trio, made with apple, pineapple and orange:
But an espresso was also welcome.
Anyway, before we ordered our tartines, there was one dish that caught my eye: Ravioles De Royans. Ravioles are little ravioli filled with cheese that you find in the Dauphiné province. It is sold in supermarkets, usually in sheets of 48 ravioles (left), and are cooked like pasta (right).
They can be eaten simply with a cheese sauce (Crème fraîche and roquefort is succulent), in gratin or even on pizza (all photos from my last trip to France - and yes, I take photos of everything I eat)!
At Tartinery, they made the ravioles with some cream and truffle oil.
This was small and it is unfortunate because I would have eaten it on my own. It was so good, so creamy, with just a hint of truffle scent.
If you go to Tartinery, you cannot miss this dish!
Then, we had our tartines. Jodi ordered the Saint Marcellin:
It was composed of Saint Marcellin cheese, prosciutto, arugula and olive oil.
It looked good, but was a total miss: not enough cheese and the prosciutto was very, very, very salty.
Jen and I each ordered the Croque Monsieur:
It was made of cooked ham chiffonade, gruyere cheese and béchamel sauce.
This was another miss: dry probably because not enough béchamel sauce and very salty.
Gary seemed to have a better chance with the Benedict tartine.
I was so disappointed when I left: not only I did not like the food, but I thought it was overpriced. This is unfortunate because this is a great concept. At least I got the delicious ravioles...
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!