Continental / French / New York

The Odeon

When it comes to famous TriBeCa spots – nay, famous New York spots – The Odeon is a biggie.  The 80s was its true heyday, but in recent years The Odeon has seen a resurgence.  Once again it is populated by the haute couture gang, thanks to Condé Nast’s recent move to nearby One World Trade.

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While the crowd may have dipped for a while, the food remained consistent and has been waiting for those fancy New Yorkers to walk back through their front door.  When they arrive, they’ll be greeted by a hostess decked out in designer.  The night we were there she was wearing a bright pink blazer with shoulderpads so large I’m sure the intention was to out-80s the 80s.  I’m guessing we can expect to see a lot of linebackers on the runways of the next fashion week.

The look of The Odeon is typical of a Keith McNally restaurant: neon sign, penny tile, banquettes.  Also typical of a Keith McNally restaurant is their delicious burger.  Michelle was visiting from Kenya where the bistro style burger is nonexistent and when she heard they made a good one, she made sure to order it.  “I’ll probably only eat half,” she said, “but if it’s good, it’ll be worth it.”  And then she ate the whole thing.

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The only problem was that her burger didn’t arrive when it should have.  I had ordered two appetizers as my entrée (French onion soup and steak tartar) and they arrived but the burger never did.  We waited and waited until it got to the point that even I (who hates confrontation) was at the point of saying something.  Just as I opened my mouth the French waiter (who must also be a model) noticed the burger was missing from the table.  He was shocked and nearly appalled.  He apologized profusely and went back to the kitchen to sort it out.  Moments later a manager came out, apologized, and offered to take my food back to the kitchen and re-fire the soup.  When the food came out again (all of it this time), the waiter apologized again, sounding quite genuine.  I didn’t love waiting for food like that, but their attitude was great.

As I mentioned, Michelle loved her burger.  I was very pleased with my food as well.  The soup was good, though it could have used a little salt.  The tartar was ground a bit finer than I often see, which I really liked.  It was seasoned perfectly – just enough pepper and garlic – and served with toast points that were thin enough for me to really taste the beef and eat all of it without getting too full.  A simple dish but nicely executed.

This is the kind of 80s I’m happy to revisit.  TBD on the shoulderpads.

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