I enjoyed two dinners this past weekend, one planned and one impromptu. One was in the Greenwich Hotel, the other closer to Greenwich, Conn.
For my birthday, my wife took me to Locanda Verde, the new restaurant in TriBeCa’s Greenwich Hotel. It replaced Ago, the hotel’s former restaurant, and features Andrew Carmellini as chef. All we could get was a 5:30 p.m. reservation, but that was fine. It left the whole night ahead of us.
When we arrived, the bar was already packed and tables began filling with diners. When we sat down, we noticed there was some food, small grains of rice or pasta, on the floor under our table. It was graciously cleaned up when we drew attention to it, but an inauspicious start nonetheless.
My wife started with one of the house cocktails, while I ordered a glass of Pilandro Lugana 2007, a straw- and apple-flavored Trebbiano. It was delicious with the fresh sardines, glistening in saor (a mix of olive oil, vinegar, raisins and hazelnuts if I remember correctly). With my main course of grilled Colorado lamb chops, I chose Vietti’s Barolo Castiglione 2004, which was offered by the glass ($18). To Locanda Verde’s credit, wines by the glass are presented and poured at the table. Unfortunately, the Barolo was too warm, compromising its freshness and emphasizing the alcohol.
We also had the sheep’s milk Ricotta with grilled bread, crispy baby artichokes on a bed of yogurt and mint and the rustic potatoes, which were baked crisp with plenty of garlic and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
The food was delicious, the service excellent, the atmosphere casual and the bill reasonable. It was an odd mix of downtown hipsters at the bar and older diners (even I felt young), but I chalk that up to the hour rather than the typical crowd.
Saturday I played golf with my friend Tom Eagan. Tom and I worked together at Windows on the World in 1991 and ’92, and stayed in touch over the years as he moved first to San Francisco and then back to the east coast, to Connecticut.
I arrived early and we soaked in the pool at a club near his home before teeing off at the Griffith E. Harris Golf Course, affectionately known as "The Griff."
It was dark by the time we finished and I just missed a train back into the city, so we decided on impulse to stop by Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, N.Y. Tarry Lodge is an outpost of partners Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali. Andy Nusser of Casa Mono is the executive chef.
The place was packed, but our timing was perfect. A couple was just leaving the bar, so we slid into two chairs and selected an assortment of appetizers and a plate of pasta. I especially liked the octopus with potato, tender and creamy, and the sweet, piquant beets agrodolce. The pasta, tagliatelle with roasted sweet corn and jalapeño, had a nice crunch and spicy kick from the seasonal vegetables.
We washed it all down with a light, floral Bastianich Friulano Colli Orientali del Friuli 2007, from Joe’s family winery in the Friuli region of Italy and a fuller-bodied, solid Roero Arneis 2007 from Malvira in Piedmont.
I made it to the train just as it was pulling into the station. The air conditioning in my car was out and a steady stream of young, twenty-somethings on their way to a night of clubbing in Manhattan weaved past. I didn’t feel like lugging my clubs into another car, so I just relaxed and reflected on an enjoyable day.
Both restaurants delivered delicious food, simply prepared from fresh, seasonal and mainly local ingredients.
377 Greenwich St., New York 10013
Telephone: (212) 941-8900
18 Mill St., Port Chester, N.Y. 10573
Telephone: (914) 939-3111