Just over two weeks ago restaurateur Danny Meyer and former Tabla chef Floyd Cardoz opened one of the key pieces in their Battery Park City juggernaut, North End Grill, up for lunch. Cardoz's menu goes heavy on the seafood, offering raw options, shrimp burgers, crab soup, seafood sausage, cod throats, and more in a dark, sleek room with a large open kitchen. Just last week they got their liquor license and earlier this week, they opened for dinner. The opening has been a slow and gradual one but that doesn't mean workers and residents in Battery Park City haven't come by to check the place out. Actually, they've been filing raves for weeks.
So the locals like it, but is it something the rest of New Yorkers to cross the highway for? Check out the initial feedback ahead.
The Great News: Almost all of the Yelp reviews are positive, including this rave: "My friends and I wanted to try this place out as we live in the neighborhood and we walked in last friday evening and loved it ,the waitstaff are very friendly the ambiance is great and (was not opened to dinner ) Tapas are really good .for me the best was the tamarind margarita at last a great bar/restaurant in the Hood." [Yelp]
The Not As Great News: That said, one Yelper was slightly disappointed: "The service, like all Danny Meyer establishments, was impeccable..I had the Pumpkin Crab Soup, which was delectable and most certainly reminded me of Tabla, and the Bacon-Shrimp Burger with Spice-Dusted Fries. While the fries were perfectly crispy and ignited familiar taste memories of the spice traditionally dusted on chaat, the savory road-side Indian snack, the burger was disappointing and almost anemic looking. While eating my meal, the shrimp - as an ingredient in the burger - got me instantly reminiscing Chef Cardoz' wonderful Goan Shrimp Curry and after some time, started wondering what would have been...I hope Chef Cardoz can serve us great American food, but with Indian flavors." [Yelp]
The Good News: Battery Park TV files a full review after trying out the dinner service: "As one would expect from a Danny Meyer 4-star striving establishment, the details were well done...Chef Floyd Cardoz and his team prepares the wild salmon perfectly, and the Brussels sprouts are creatively chopped and grilled. Other meats and fish are dipped into the unusual wood oven using a Spanish-inspired pair of large steel wheels. The Josper grill allows other meats to be charcoal broiled. Pork chops and steaks are also available...The pecan layer cake portion looks small when it arrives, but is more than enough. But to be honest, many of the southern classic baked deserts around the corner at Blue Smoke can’t be beat. The best part of North End Grill (and Blue Smoke), is the new demographic that it draws to Battery Park. Although it was a rainy Monday night, the place was almost full." [Battery Park TV]
The Over the Top Rave: A Zagat user is floored: "Wow! Chef Floyd is back with a vengeance! The food is amazing - chock-full with flavor. The menu is nothing short of genus. This time we had the fennel & turnip salad, cod throat with a veal reduction (with finger lime pulp), lobster omelet, seafood sausage (a mousse like interior is lucious) and lastly a poached egg floating in a bath with osteria caviar and a salad topped with bottarga. what a delight! I can't wait to go back." [Zagat]
The Cold but Good News: Tribeca Citizen has a chilly but delicious lunch: "North End Grill is sparkling new, very friendly, and it doesn’t put on airs—making it rather like Battery Park City...I found it sit-on-your-hands cold, possibly because our table was in the center of the dining room, far from any of the discreetly placed space heaters...That North End Grill is serving the best food in Battery Park City is obvious. I was worried the food would be generic New American, but I can’t recall a menu so thoroughly appetizing. It’s all just different enough. I chose the turnip-and-fennel salad to start, followed by the shrimp burger; Adam went for the escarole salad and the seafood sausage. We didn’t order ambitiously, but it was freezing, and we craved comfort food. (Actually, once the salad came, I craved the soup, simply for the warmth.) Chef Floyd Cardoz seems to be having fun with hints of flavor—this isn’t Tabla, by any means, but surprises and delights abound in the cumin-laced fries, the Sir Kensington ketchup, the shrimp burger, which is “seriously fried,” in Adam’s words, and served on a pretzel bun. It’s too rich but insanely good, and it’s a new favorite thing." [TC]
More Good News: A Tribeca Citizen commenter is won over: "I had high hopes, but I was skeptical of their ability to make this a really great place that people will cross the highway for. We loved it! I think it will be a big success. I love the room. The drama of walking in through the kitchen with Floyd Cardoz smiling and cooking away was very impressive. Krystl and I are going to covet those kitchen bar seats, for sure! The food was equally strong. The onion rings were some of the best I have ever had, and they were very much the sort of thing you would expect from Chef Cardoz, if you ever spent any time at Tabla. I had a simple grilled pork chop, which was delicious, porky, and with an almost aged beef funkiness." [TC]
The Twitterverse: @MarcShepherd of NY Journal hasn't filed a review yet but he does note, "I'm at the new D. Meyer/ F. Cardoz place, North End Grill, on the 2nd night of dinner service. Smart-looking space." Meanwhile Robert Michael Murry notes: "one of the most amazing desserts I've ever had: Brown butter cheese cake with pear confit and buttermilk sherbet." [Twitter]