Tribeca wine bar Racines has a new chef and menu in place that brings it back into the ranks of a more accessible, everyday wine destination.
After a residency from fine-dining bigwig Paul Liebrandt with tasting menus and expensive a la carte options, Racines now has executive chef Diego Moya heading up the kitchen, and he has put together a more affordable new American a la carte menu specifically designed to complement the restaurant’s 2,500-bottle-deep wine list from wine legend Pascaline Lepeltier.
Moya’s focus is on simple dishes that showcase local produce, such as warm scallops from Montauk with bonito and Meyer lemon. Other dishes include grilled leeks with lovage and anchovy; roasted sunchokes with coffee and ham; and roasted chicken thigh with walnut and espelette pepper.
The menu, in full below, brings back some price accessibility to the wine bar. Now, dishes range from $12 to $24, which is more in line with its opening menu and rejoins the ranks of the more casual but ambitious wine bars around town such as Wildair and Cervo’s.
“It’s really fun to draw up tasting menus, but it makes it hard for people to come in. I thought it would be a nice move, especially with how great the wine list is this year, so people can pop in and have a few dishes,” Moya says. “We’re really trying to do something with modern simplicity — dishes that appear very simple but actually have a lot of thought and creativity behind the presentation.”
Master sommelier Lepeltier also put together a cocktail list, which is a first for the restaurant. Together with Daniel and Up and Up alumni Alisa Savina and Ellis Srubas-Giammanco, Lepeltier created drinks such as the space cowboy (green tea-infused gin, Salers, brandy, yuzu) and the deadman’s hand (rye, vermouth, amaro, maraschino Luxardo, cherry bitters).
Paris import Racines had a bit of a shaky moment in March 2018 when its newly appointed executive chef Eric Korsch was accused of misconduct at his former job. Korsch left, leaving a gaping hole in the kitchen that Liebrandt ended up filling with food at a higher price point. But that was only temporary, and now Moya is in the kitchen permanently. Moya last owned Hemlock, a short-lived Lower East Side restaurant and had since been contemplating his next move.
Racines opened in 2014 from David Lanher, David Lillie, and Arnaud Tronche, with Lepeltier joining last year as a partner from now-closed Rouge Tomate, which she turned into a wine destination. Racines’ list is now a collaboration between her and Tronche, with a bench of 2,500 bottles.