Marc Forgione: A Tribeca Farmtable with Style
Marc Forgione made quite a stir in the New York blogging community recently when he kicked a New York Times Dining blogger out of his restaurant for undermining his authority in the kitchen (long story, read here). Articles abounded on who was to blame for the preposterous situation, yet all it really ended up doing was peaking my interest in the restaurant, one I’d been meaning to try for ages. After dinner on one Sunday night, Marc Forgione adds up to a gorgeous space with inconsistent seasonal American fare that ranges from truly exceptional to sub-par.
The charming restaurant, open to the square at Duane and Hudson in Tribeca, successfully transforms the current ‘farmtable’ trend into something truly chic. The spacious dining room is dark and sultry with black leather, exposed brick, slow circling ceiling fans, twinkling candlelight, and dark wooden tables. There are quiet nooks for canoodling, long tables for large groups, outdoor sidewalk tables for a casual dinner in the neighborhood, and a roomy backlit bar for happy hour drinks – just about something for everyone.
Unfortunately, while the setting is picture-perfect, the food is all over the grid from creative and artistic to bland and poorly executed to somewhere in the middle. The desserts were the most memorable part of the meal. Inventive, beautifully presented, sweet and savory, they twist and expound upon American classics. The ‘PB&J’ squished sweet strawberry ice cream between two soft peanut butter cookies – it was an updated and refreshing version of the ice cream sandwich. The Meyer Lemon Pies take the notion of fried dough and elevate it to a combination of lemon squares and Carnival-style fried dough with powdered sugar – delicious, texturally pleasing, and tangy.
Aside from the desserts, Marc Forgione rolled out some pretty tasty appetizers, including a soft well-made potato basil gnocchi in a salty savory lamb bolognese and a ‘hangtown’ fry with eggs piled over fried oysters, paprika aioli, pickled red onions and bacon. The gnocchi was portioned for elves with just 5 or 6 petite gnocchi ‘kernals’ swimming in a bowl of bolognese, yet it tasted pretty damn delicious; the hangtown fry was significantly heartier with satisfying breakfast notes and warm familiar flavors.
While the start and the finish were very good, even inspired, the middle, the entrees, were certainly not good. On the one hand, the Long Island fluke, pan-seared with a far-too crusty crust, was too thick, too crunchy, and just too much – the accoutrements included everything from bacon to mustard – all the strong flavors muddled together to leave quite the bizarre taste in your mouth. On the other hand, the steak and potatoes was bland and uninteresting. The quality of the meat wasn’t good enough for the steak to sing by itself, yet the accompanying ingredients were so boring I can’t for the life of me pinpoint what they were. The entrees yoyo-ed between too much and not enough – either way both fell entirely flat with both me and my boyfriend.
Marc Forgione’s got quite the spark and a look worth drooling over, yet the kitchen needs to iron out a few kinks. Inconsistent food left my party wanting, at times. Either way though, Marc Forgione shows promise – and utterly oozes style.
Perfect For: a luxe business dinner, date night, Sunday Night Supper (for $39!), happy hour downtown, uber-chic al fresco dining, wine and dessert