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Dinner at Tartinery

  • Cuisine: French, sandwiches
  • Atmosphere: industrial-chic, bi-level space
  • Attire: smart-casual
  • Ideal for: lite bites, great wine list, bar scene, trendy 
  • Price: affordable; all tartines (sandwiches) under $20
  • Phone: 212-300-5838
  • Location: 209 Mulberry St. (at Spring St.)
  • Website: click *here*
  • Directionswww.hopstop.com/?city=newyork
  • *All of my photos from this meal can be viewed on Flickr
    If location is your non-negotiable, then Tartinery should move to the top of your must-try list.  Whether you're in search of a full-service restaurant, or just a spot to enjoy a glass of wine and some snacks, this modern French bistro is well worth checking out. 
    And what could possibly pose as a better venue for Stacey and me, two Francophiles, to catch up with one another over, what else, light French bites and chilled rose?
    Floor-to-ceiling windows opened on to the street like an accordion, allowing the natural illumination of Wednesday evening's sunset to subtly light Tartinery's street-level bar space.  Just one flight downstairs leads to a dining room, offering guests more of a subdued ambiance in which to enjoy the restaurant's full-service food and drink menus.  The space's entirety is minimally designed, yet brilliantly premeditated, in an effort to showcase the original charm and skeleton of the building in which it is housed: exposed brick walls, unfinished wood, wrought iron, etc.  At the same time, however, modern accents are used to create the ultimate urban "old meets new" aesthetic: the bar is a cement slab, and the exposed brick walls are draped with metal netting.
    When I arrived at Tartinery, Stacey was already sitting at the bar, sipping a glass of rose and keeping my seat warm.  Instead of transferring the bar tab to a dinner table downstairs, we chose to remain in our perfectly-situated stools.  After all, this was where the action was!
    Midway through my first glass of wine, Stacey and I decided that it was high time to peruse the food menu.  I was thrilled to note that Tartinery's namesake, open-faced sandwiches (a.k.a. "tartines") were served on "your choice of organic multigrain bread, or Poilane's (imported directly from the famous Parisian bakery) rustic sourdough boule."  Oh, and did I mention that all tartines come with a house salad? 
    Within a reasonable time after placing our tartine orders, our salads (romaine hearts, a tomato wedge, unsalted walnuts, shredded parmesan cheese, creamy balsamic dressing) arrived.  The composition of greens was nothing to write home about, but I appreciated the fact that salad was served as a gratis starter course.
    Tartinery: house salad
    Just as the sun set over New York City, our tartines arrived.  I chose the "croque madame," which is France's sophisticated spin on a ham and cheese sandwich - topped with a perfectly fried egg, on toasted Poilane bread.  Layers, upon layers, of paper-thin slices of cured, salty ham were topped with a mound of melted, pungent gruyere cheese.  A fried egg and a dusting of finely chopped green onions consummated the tartine.  Aside from using my fork to pierce the creamy egg yolk, I left my silverware on the table, since the kitchen had pre-cut my sandwich in to four perfect portions.
    To me, nothing says "France" better than this brilliant combination of my favorite ingredients.
    Tartinery: croque-madame tartine
    Of the two desserts that we shared, I preferred the "Nutella Banane" to the "Fondant Au Chocolat."  The latter was Tartinery's version of a molten-chocolate cake, which I found to be on the dry side.  I suppose it is possible to screw up America's favorite dessert.  The "Nutella Banane," on the other hand, was delightful.  Served atop a toasted slice of Poilane bread was a warm schmear of Nutella (a spread made from hazelnuts, with a hint of cocoa) and slices of ripe banana.  This sweet tartine was light, yet perfectly decadent; truly, the perfect way in which a meal should end.
    Tartinery: Fondant Au Chocolat (molten chocolate cake)Tartinery: Nutella BananeConclusion: I really enjoyed my dinner at Tartinery, and admire the fact that the restaurant is French-owned and operated.  I don't seem to come across this very often.
    While there were some lows, (house salad, chocolate cake), there were many more highs: space, atmosphere, service, prices, wine list, and, most importantly, the tartines.  I look forward to my return.

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