Almond Tribeca: A Potential Gem In Tribeca's Restaurant Row

Almond is a bustling French-inspired bistro located in in New York's Flatiron neighborhood. Chef Jason Weiner has successfully replicated the concept (which originated out in the Hamptons) down in Tribeca, where it holds its own among some of the city's most popular eateries. We had the opportunity to visit the Tribeca location, which opened late last year, at the invitation of the restaurant, and while the kitchen still has a couple kinks to work out, what they do well they do very, very well.

The space is large and inviting, with a bar area up front and a raw bar and two dining rooms beyond that. Each table gets a fair amount of room, and service is attentive and just inconspicuous enough. The cocktails are well-made; we were especially fond of the Zen Why Sea, made with Hendricks gin, lime cordial, and grapefruit bitters.

Weiner's creations are clearly inspired, and when he gets dishes right, he gets them very right. His appetizer of "Brussels sprouts, hot and cold in the style of Caesar salad" is perhaps one of the best Brussels sprouts dishes in the city right now; shredded raw and roasted sprouts are tossed with anchovies, croutons, and house-made Caesar dressing. It's addictive — and simply the best thing we ate all evening. Seared scallops were cooked perfectly, nicely complemented by a pea/basil coulis and house-smoked bacon. A roasted Berkshire pork chop that was described on the menu as being served with creamy smoked paprika beans and pickled onion, however, was in fact a thin chop in a pool of soupy beans, buried under a pile of sliced avocadoes and fried onions along with the promised pickled onions. The flavors were vaguely Mexican, but it was a muddled and busy dish. While it was still tasty, it was the first time that I'd been served an item that was completely different than what was advertised on the menu. And while a small plate of bacon and Swiss "poppers" were tasty and craveable mini-gougères, a side of focaccia bread pudding was dense, burned on top, wet in the middle, and over-salted.

While there are still a few kinks to work out on the menu, all the pieces seem to be in place to make this restaurant a Tribeca hit. It's a large, bustling space in a great location and the service is spot-on, but Weiner and company need to give the food just a little bit more love in order to let the restaurant really shine.