Sunday, November 11, 2012

ODEON in Tribeca

Odeon on Urbanspoon
I've discovered during my research that some of the more remarkable and serendipitous occasions has been afforded me when involving a spate of spontaneity, wandering around and giving 'chance' an occasion to flex it's muscles. And so it was with a trip to Odeon in New York recently. [It should be noted that this visit occurred on the Saturday prior to Hurricane Sandy making landfall and ODEON and many other structures in the Tribeca area were subject to the brunt of Sandy's furies and residual waters.]

When Watson and I retreated from a matinee performance on 47th St. of the remarkably fresh and lively performance of 'Once' at the Jacobs Theater, we had a plethora of evening functions before us: Esperanza Spaulding at the Apollo was an attractive draw but with our energy levels low on vitality, it appeared that a lower key evening might be in order. 

 Taking the F Train south to 4th St., with a change to the E train, and in very short order we stood before the construction site of the World Trade Center in S. Manhattan. Now suffice it to say that the emotional toll that such a visit takes on one's soul after being among those in this area for oh so many years, a time spanning decades, well, this is not the place to record any sort of testimonial about the events of 9/11/2001, however revered and humbled one might be.

Thusly, our primary focus in this space will be the fine eating establishments thriving in this area of Manhattan known as Tribeca, or the TRI-angle BE-low CA-nal St. as they like to say.

With iPad in hand and a very spotty 3G link we circumnavigated our way to a few choice locations in the area and simply chanced upon ODEON on S. Broadway and Thomas St. Walking in unannounced at approximately 6 PM on a Saturday evening found us introduced to several available tables but a full bar area with patrons wetting their proverbial whistle.

'No Issues' was the response from our fine host and we were immediately squired to a table and asked about our preferred libations. Now as many of you know I am a stickler for the attention paid to the proper blend of ambiance, theme, menu, and beverage availability. ODEON classifies itself as somewhat of a GastroPub and with an architecture not teeming with such a proclamation I was interested in how they would present themselves on paper……..and reached for the menu eagerly.

'Great Scott!' I rejoiced internally for their alcoholic profferings included 12 different bottled brews, fully HALF of which I had never seen before, in addition to another 3 on pull. But not content with that there was also a full 10 spot of Whiskey's offered including the relatively rarely found Stranahan's American Micro-Distillery of Denver, Co. Accompanying this list was also 13 very select Single Malt Scotch varieties including Laphroaig 10 yr., Bunnahabhain 12 yr., and one of my favorites - Macalan Highland 18 yr. which my father had me sampling as a small boy in the hinterlands of Scotland while on holiday. And with a very healthy listing of fine wines, champagnes, and other niceties there was enough to make even the most hardened curmudgeon smile.

Dropping his sometimes infuriating pretense for tea, Watson stretched his horizons if only for a bit and ordered a Radeburger Pilsner from Germany while I chose a Chimay Rouge Ale from Belgium, both of which were new experiences to us.

And an experience they were! The Radeburger was light , airy, and as fresh a pilsner as can be had and was the perfect choice for Watson's sometimes delicate constitution. Think the sudsy Stella Artois only much better! The Chimay Rouge Ale, in it's short, squat amber bottle offered a slightly fruity ale taste with a circular heavy gravity. Served in a petite wine glass, it's 11.5 oz. may have been light and fruity but it delivered on it's advertisements fully.

With our initial inquiries all met and exceeded, Watson and I decided to push this envelope and see how much this ODEON could take from our investigative eyes. Soups were thus ordered, a Celery Root for Watson and a French Onion Gratinee for myself, and *poof* they appeared on our tables in no time.

The French Onion Gratinee, served in a soup bowl that I believe is a hidden mandate in all restaurants that French Onion Soup be served in (ah, you know the one!), it was tart, brothy, served startlingly hot beneath a toasted crouton and cover of melted cheese, and had the finest slivers of delicate onion without a hint of sherry. The Celerey Root apportioned to Watson was served in a perfectly sized bowl-ette and it's mix of chicken, chick peas, and carrots along with the cream of celery root acted as a deliciously calming influence to Watson't grumbling innards.

Our primary plates were a Grilled Eden Brook Trout with Red Quinoa, vegetable salad, smoked almonds, and parsley butter along with a Sullivan Farms Pan Roasted Chicken with Autumn Vegetables and Au Jus.

The Eden Brook Trout was served skin on and folded closed on the quinoa, not a presentation we had seen before and initially gave the appearance of a much smaller portion than it was. However the burst of flavor in this dish was more than the sum of it's visible parts.

Just as impressive was the Sullivan Farms chicken in Au Jus. When I first spotted the term Au Jus I anticipated a simple broth of darkened chicken juice at the bottom of the plate. Yet this au jus was as sweet and as delicate as the Port I ordered later with desert and was more delicious than any broth I've had the pleasure to taste. And I'm making a note to investigate Sullivan Farms in the future for there MUST be something untoward occurring at this farm for this was the most succulent, most delicious piece of bird I've ever experienced. Also served skin-on this breast was done perfectly and I mean with exquisite attention. Magnifico'!

With the Chimay quickly downed, I opted for heft over delicacy and ordered the Schneider Organic Edel Weiss in it's 16.9 oz. bottle, a Yeti of a bottle for certain. But I was mistaken here as well with my initial anticipation for it too was as delicious and as delicate as I have tasted, and the size allowed me to taste, and taste again throughout the meal.

All the previous tastings notwithstanding, it was the simplest of deserts that sent our minds wandering into a fog not dissimilar to those induced by the demon morphine. A  bowl of freshly made ice cream with representative scoops  
of Chocolate Chip Mint, Chocolate Dream, and Cinnamon - simply the most astounding array of flavors in one bowl! Fresh Mint leaves within the ice cream had this Londonite transported to his upbringing in the Brentwood section of Chelsea with it's Leg of Lamb and Mint Jelly accompaniment made from the mint growing wildly in the fields. And the Cinnamon! As fresh and as willowy as a breakfast of French Toast with it's airiness swirling about. Touche' Old Boy! 

And so it was that with a Decaf Cappucino and a PortSmith Woodhouse Special 
Port we tidied up our bill and headed back out all the more elated at such a find, only to stumble into the chef himself at the door who asked how we enjoyed our meals. When we waxed poetic about it's grandeur he was all the more inquisitive about what it was exactly that we had. 

His genuine interest in specifics sealed the case for me as one of utterly superb dimensions and gained ODEON a tip of the hat indeed!

Come Quick Watson! The Game's AFOOT!

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