Published on April 20th, 2013 | by Greg0
tbsp: Grab Dinner At This Cute Chelsea Cafe!
Artichokes. We’ll start there- specifically, the fried artichokes that were the best we’ve had anywhere. You may have been by or heard of Spoon, the catering company and great brunch and lunch spot that’s been “family-owned and operated since 1999″, serving hand picked, seasonal organic produce grown upstate. Next door, they’ve opened up and started serving dinner, with a fairly restrained modern American menu.
The sibling restaurant is called tbsp (link to PDF dinner menu), and we recently visited for an evening tasting. Start off with a Stumptown coffee or cappuccino, or a cocktail, like their take on the Greyhound ($12, vodka, grapefruit juice, thyme with a bit of black peppercorn). We sipped on some wine as well; the menu isn’t large but includes a wide variety, including a solid Pinot Noir from the Pinot Project ($10). They offer a daily soup special, and ours was the watermelon gazpacho- fresh, tasty, but a little flat ($7). It could’ve just been by comparison with the excellent aforementioned artichokes though, lightly battered with tempura and complete with friend lemon slices that made for a tart combination that will have us coming by whenever we’re in the neighborhood. Staff was helpful, friendly, and attentive, offering great suggestions and helping make the evening special. Candlelit and surprisingly big, it’s a space that is used well and doesn’t have you feeling cramped like many other NYC options.
Reasonably priced and generous entrees provide something for everyone- like the grilled salmon ($19), which is served not only with a spicy house made green harissa and red quinoa pilaf, but also with the chili and garlic sauteed winter greens. Prepared medium rare, it was crispy on the bottom and pink throughout, and made for a complete combination. The quinoa was a bit bland, but offered a good contrast in texture to the rest of the dish, and everything looked lovely on the plate. Same for the beer braised pork shoulder (a bargain at $17), which came on a platter like those you’d expect with a make-it-yourself fajita, with pico de gallo and black beans, as well as some excellent avocado and surprising jalapenos on the side and arroz verde (green rice). The meat was fall-from-the-bone tender, and the sauce was excellent. If you need sides, they offer several, including Yukon baby potatoes with Maldon sea salt ($7).
Finish off with a dessert- like the Salted Caramel Brownie Sundae ($6), which comes with some caramel popcorn, a delicious sweet/salty combination that will get stuck in your teeth but leave you full and fully satisfied. A kids menu is great for families- we saw a few while we were there, along with a few young professionals at the bar. You might end up waiting a bit for the bathroom, but you’ll walk away from tbsp happy with your dining experience. You can even order online for delivery!