August 22, 2009

Tartine - A charming, always packed West Village staple

Off for some "exploring" yesterday afternoon, I found myself at Doma on Perry street and Waverly around 4pm.

After settling down for some coffee and entertainment via the Honda commercial filming across the street (which coincidentally stars my friend Yue!), I started to hear my stomach growl.

Early you say?  Yep, but then I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to try a West Village staple that I've always walked by, but never had a chance to visit.

Due to massive crowds vying for a table in its tiny quarters.

The restaurant?  French bistro Tartine on the corner of West 11th and West 4th.  We waited until 5:30pm - the earliest I could stand to eat dinner, and raced over there to grab a table.  I don't think Tartine gets too crowded until about 7pm, so it's best to squeeze in before then.

Super cute, super small, it feels like a classic neighborhood haunt for locals.  That is, West Village locals.  Fully hoping for a celebrity sighting, looking out the window served as great entertainment as I waited for my boyfriend to run to an atm.  Tip - this place is cash only.

Oh, and BYOB!  So of course he picked up a chilled bottle of wine on the way  back.  Perfect way to cool down on the steamy August evening.

My intent observation and perseverance paid off as 5 minutes after settling in, I saw none other than Mischa Barton walk by.  Now, if celebrities claim they don't want to be bothered or noticed, why do they always dress so aggressively?

Normal people simple don't walk around on an August afternoon in black jeans, black leather jacket and a fedora.  

Indian Curry at Tartine
Anyhow - back to the restaurant.  I ordered one of the specials - Indian curry mussels and fries.  Man, was it good!!!  Sauce was made with coconut milk and cilantro, and what I determine to be LOTS of butter.

It was delicious...I nearly drank myself sick finishing off the soup.  Mussels were cooked perfectly and the fries rival those of Balthazar.  Yummm! 

My boyfriend went with the Spicy chicken and guacamole with fries.  This strangely seemed to be a very popular dish as we saw many other diners order the same thing.

To be honest, I'm not sure why as I swear by the mussels as a far superior choice.  The chicken was served in medallions in a nice spicy sauce with guacamole - which seemed a little random for this place.

While it was good, it wasn't stunning.  Not like the mussels....

Tarte Tatin at Tartine
Finally, although I was stuffed silly having drank up all the remains of my curry stew, I couldn't leave without dessert!

I went with the classic Tarte tatin - caramelized apples with puff pastry and vanilla ice cream.

Absolutely wonderful. Only thing with these hot desserts + ice cream means you have to race to eat it so quickly before the ice cream becomes vanilla soup.

All in all, Tartine was wonderful - highly recommend!

Although try to get there on the earlier side or you might be waiting a while since the restaurant is so tiny.

Lastly, try to score a table at the window or outside if it's nice.  And keep your eyes open for a celeb sighting!  In that area, I'd say it's a 50/50 chance on any given night!

254 West 11th St. (at West 4th)

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