- scene: Large bar, communal tables, muted colors and understated decor; lots of well-dressed after-workers, either close to the office or their homes
- sip: TAVERN- anything you want, including original cocktails, a well rounded wine list, etc
- savor: Mushroom toast; Copper River Salmon (if available)' lobster; s'mores
- sit: With a date; with your significant other's parents who are staying downtown; with your sister, obvsssssssss
- spend: $$$$
- address: 41 Murray Street
- phone number: (646) 964- 4860
- website: www.washingtonmarkettavern.com
The journey from farm to table is an oft discussed trip, whether the farm is 150 steps or 150 miles from said table. I guess it is a trip that the animals and vegetables can only make once, but as diners we find ourselves at these tables with farm food over and over. Washington Market Tavern is a new restaurant in Tribeca also promising to make the best of nature’s bounty and serve farm fresh food, and they deliver on all accounts. Some of the dishes I had at Washinton Market Tavern were on par with the best fine dining establishments, all in a neighborhood spot downtown. Although ostensibly catering to locals and visitors alike, Washington Market Tavern has a menu versatile enough to visit several times a month, but prices that suggest more of a special occasion spot. When we find ourselves craving the mushroom toast ( and we will be craving it), we might next opt to sit at the bar and share it along with some drinks.
The decor is clean and bright, with high communal tables and booths in the front, and a sweet sky-lighted room in the back. Downstairs a real deal tavern is in the works, and will be a perfect spot in which to hunker down in the colder months. The menu is laid out in four main categories, and we were told that they read left to right regarding how to course out the meal and the size of the plates. We bypassed the $15 cauliflower listed as having ” many various preparations”, and opted for salmon sashimi, the mushroom toast, and the oysters to start. But before that, were treated to hot, homemade english muffins with a goat cheese pesto garlic spread that were more like heaven to table than farm to table. We were also gifted some homemade pickled veggies, all snap and vinegar, perfect munchies. The salmon was flavorful, if not completely original, with some salmon roe, hearts of palm and quite a bit of yuzu dressing. The oysters were enjoyable but not outstanding, very briny, which was accentuated by the salt of the caviar. The mushroom toast, served with a homemade “mushroom sausage” was sheer perfection, illiciting maximum flavors from the vegetables with a complementary sauce, and strong, well toasted bread that held up to the whole thing. Crunchy, earthy, rich and very unique.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that we love Copper River salmon and always order it in sushi restaurants when it is in season, so I was thrilled to see it offered as a main course. This is a full flavor salmon, and Washington Market Tavern created a bacon sauce to stand up to the fish, and the result was balanced and just awesome. The presentation was beautiful and every element on the plate was prepared perfectly. Sister’s lobster was equally as elegant, a simple twist on an in-season item,a lobster in a fancy sumer dress rather than it’s usual beach attire.
Yeah, and in case were weren’t full enough, we tried the smore’s dessert, which is in a nice little pot, with smoky marshmallows and silky, rich chocolate pudding. It could have benefitted from a little more graham cracker presence, either as a bottom layer or a crumble, but the favors were spot on. The presentation was also notable, a grey slab with some pine needles, evocative of the great outdoors but still cool enough for NYC.
I am excited to visit Washington Market Tavern in the Fall, with a whole new set of fresh ingredients for the chef to play with. This is a great spot for some sophisticated food that is not too serious, an understated place that over- delivers.