Picture yourself on set of Bravo's hypothetical new show Americas Next Top Masseuse. They build an uber-slick marble and stone spa, fully equipped with wood paddle ceiling fans, sparkling tiles, cushy couches and private cabanas. The manufactured sound of running water mixed in with an old Dido track off Ultra Chilled Volume 2 set the sonic mood. Are two Amazon women going to come out from behind the curtain and give me the massage of a lifetime? Nope, I'm about to get dinner at Travertine. Bummer.
Situated on the southern end of Nolita, Travertine feels incredibly out of place. It would make more sense in the Meat Packing District, and even there it would be extreme. I'm sure there are people out there who'd enjoy this kind of setting, and they probably just checked into the Gansevoort Hotel, already have reservations at Spice Market for dinner and definitively don't read Immaculate Infatuation. If the food was amazing we wouldn't be as hard on Travertine as we are, but the best dish we tasted all night was an homage to the specialty of the restaurant located there before they took over the space. The bottom line: don't Waste your Time or Money. There are way better options in the city.
I'm usually a fan of all things carpaccio, especially some good raw beef. Our waitress swore this was one of their specialties. Our table of three didn't finish it. Enough said.
This thin lasagna-esque pasta was another staff pick and another let down. The spinach and truffled sheep's milk ricotta was a nice attempt, but fell flat on its face. Skip.
Little Charlie's Linguine
As covered in the review, this tribute to Little's Charlie's (the neighborhood staple that resided here previously) trademark pasta of pancetta and cockles in a fire roasted tomato sauce was easily the best thing we ate all night. The linguine was al dente, just the way we like it and the sauce was nice and spicy.
Prosciutto Wrapped Cod
Of all the food we ate that was actually a Travertine original, I'd have to say this was probably the best. Most likely because it wasn't a fatty piece of meat (see below). My issue here is that the Savoy cabbage slaw that accompanied it overpowered the cod and didn't go well with the prosciutto.
Long Island Duck
Served with beluga lentils, arugula, and a carrot maple sauce, this duck wasn't all it was quacked up to be. The serving size was minimal, and it may have been the fattiest duck I've ever been served at a restaurant. Gross.
Porcini Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
I guess Travertine enjoys serving fatty meats, or maybe they just hated us. Once again, we got served an unusually lard heavy piece of meat. The presentation of this dish was impressive, as the three pork tenderloin pieces rested on a volcano like mountain of cannellini beans, crispy artichokes, and Chianti honey. It was fine, but not $26 fine. We expect more.
Honeycrisp Apple Crostata
The people of Travertine were singing the praises of their pastry chef from the moment we walked in, so even after a disastrous meal, we decided to give a dessert a whirl. Well, we're glad we did, as this crostata was very solid. Not solid enough to salvage this body-slam of a review, but good enough to at least throw a little less salt on our $100 a head wound.