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“The Tasting Room”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American Soho Moderate Good


I’m gonna be straight with you. It’s not the same as it was. The Tasting Room, in its new expanded location, is decidedly different. And that’s good in some ways and not so good in others.

Let’s go back in time for one moment here.

In its original petite post on First Street, The Tasting Room had become one of the city’s most darling restaurants. It became a favorite for romantic evenings, a sure thing for tight groups of friends, and one of the go-to spots to check in on the Greenmarket’s best. It was a personal favorite of mine, and one of the places that Adrienne and I took Susie before she moved to Rome last January. In the old Tasting Room, with Renee welcoming guests and Colin cooking downstairs, there was this amazing haze of really good energy. It was the feeling you get when eating in someone’s home, rather than in a commercial establishment open for the purpose of making money and turning tables.

But after seven years with a mere 25 seats, Renee and Colin, who now have two children, decided it was time to move their little pocket of love to a bigger 80-seat space. They found it on Elizabeth Street, and opened in late August with a wonderful bar serving some of the freshest, most intoxicating old-world cocktails in the city. Indeed, the bar is one of the nicest things about the change. Run by Richard Ervin, formerly of Morimoto, you’ll find a seasonal cocktail menu that mirrors the chef’s artisan philosophy. Drinks ($11) like the Sneaky Pete—lime, mint tequila, and the Iced Tea Italiano—lemon, Meletti Amaro, Sparking Wine, are all made fresh to order from just squeezed juices and house infusions. You won’t find cranberry juice because it can’t be made in house. Instead, you’ll find fresh squeezed grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime juices, and a line of house made sodas (cola, quinine, tonic, ginger, lemon-lime, grapefruit, orange and cream).

What has also changed, and certainly this is inevitable going from 25 seats to 80, is the vibe. The Tasting Room—a rustic space divided between a swanky front bar room and a larger main dining room with a communal table, oversized sliding Farmhouse doors, and local artwork lining raw brick walls—is a real restaurant now, not a cozy little ... [more, click below]

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