There’s a pretty good chance that, at some point, you will find yourself walking down Mulberry Street, looking for a dinnertime consolation prize because Parm and Rubirosa are on a two hour wait. When that happens, you’ll likely pass by Tartinery, a shiny looking new restaurant and wine bar just down the block from those places. We are here to ask that, despite the fact that there’s an indoor tree and some hot French people inside, you keep on walking.
Not too long ago, we found ourselves in exactly that dinnertime situation, and crammed into the overcrowded bar at Tartinery to try and figure out what the exactly goes on in this crazy place. We had a few glasses of wine and decided that the entire concept appears to be to draw in females with exposed brick and French dudes, and then convince them that open faced sandwiches are the new South Beach Diet. I’ve actually never seen a restaurant more determined to market to women. Not only are there about twenty different types of quaint tartine sandwiches on the menu and lord knows how many organic wines, but there’s also a full slate of fresh juice options, and they play Colbie Callait and the Plain White Tees on repeat because someone definitely told them that American girls love those songs. We made the mistake of going back for brunch recently, and I’m actually shocked that this place doesn’t offer a pilates class.
As you might have started to gather, the food at Tartinery isn’t nearly good enough to make you look past the fact that it’s just some dude’s idea of a girl’s ideal restaurant. The space is unappealing, the menu is all over the place, and somehow despite all of that, Tartinery is usually pretty packed – which makes it an even less desirable place to spend your time. If you’re really desperate to stay in Nolita and/or talk to French people, go to Cafe Gitane or Public. Ask nice enough, and those places might even put on your favorite Colbie Callait song, which is hopefully none of them.
Rillettes De Canard
This is a serviceable jar of duck rillettes with some crusty bread on the side. We certainly weren’t mad about eating it, but this isn’t something you have to order.
I suppose all of the tartines here are French, but this one might be the Frenchiest. It’s a fine sandwich with chopped ham, gruyere, and a bechamel, but it won’t impress you much either.
This tartine is thick with Saint Marcellin cheese, and then it’s topped with prosciutto. We had to scrape the superfulous cheese off like we do with an overloaded bagel. No thanks.
You can customize the brunch tartine by adding smoked salmon, bacon, mushrooms, or tomatoes with the bread and sunny side eggs. It’s fine I guess, but you could also get this for eight bucks with at about ten different places on the Upper East Side, and there it comes with a bucket of mimosas.
The only thing that is keeping Rubriosa from being one of NYC's classic Italian restaurants is time. Let's eat vodka sauce pizza while we wait.
Checking back in on Parm, now that the hype has died down. Three years later, the sandwiches are still excellent, and the novelty still makes up for the rest.
Public may not the hot spot that it once was, but what restaurant almost ten years into its existence is? Thankfully there’s still plenty of good action going on inside.
Cafe Gitane is the epitome of the "it" downtown cafe - a quintessential Nolita eatery and place to See and Be Seen that so many places try (and fail) to replicate.
Ruby's isn't winning any culinary awards anytime soon, but their simple salads, pastas and sandwiches will strike a chord with your taste buds.