---------- FashionFirstLunchLater: Haute Restaurant of the Week: FORGE

Friday, November 21, 2008

Haute Restaurant of the Week: FORGE

As frigid temperatures dip down to the teens, journeying into the freezing cold weather in search for a deliciously warm dinner can be a bit taxing and arduous if you do not know where to venture to. Fortunately we know of a charming place located in Tribeca that makes you feel all warm and cozy inside. Chef Marc Forgione and partner Chris Blumlo opened this comforting homelike restaurant called FORGE in june, featuring Forgione's cavalier approach to New American cuisine in a cozy fortress atmosphere. The name FORGE is Forgione's nickname among friends but also fits the warm setting and the level of skillfulness and expertise presented in both the dishes and layout of the restaurant's design. 

In FORGE's 55-seat Dining Room, wooden shelves showcase antique nicknacks ranging from scales, egg beaters, horse shoes and copper pots to sustain the rustic feel. Behind the exposed concrete-topped bar is an elevator shaft, pulley still intact, which now is used as a stairway leading down to FORGE's 40-seat private dining area. No detail is left untouched, from the custom made butcher tables to the fresh out of the oven potato rolls with whipped caramelized onion butter that is brought to tables upon arrival.

An extensive wine list features worldly selections from California, New York, France, Italy and Germany. The list even includes a featured section that is dedicated to American classics, which includes Robert Mondavi's Reserve Cabernet as a homage to the late winemaker. As a connoisseur of Sangria we loved the Rose Sangria Semi-Sec Syrah, Grand Marnier  Quince, Prosecco and Fresh Fruit.


To start we warmed our palates with the wild Kampachi Tartare with avocado, Sechuan mushroom buttons and American Caviar topped with Saratoga Chips. Then savored the grilled Portuguese Octopus with smoked "Hen Of the Woods" topped with a Beaujolaise Lemon Vinegar. We preferred the texture of the Wild Kampachi, however the sharp flavor of the octopus was impressive and unforgettable. To follow we were presented with an aromatic basil crusted halibut, marinated cherry tomatoes and Sorrento oil emulsion. The halibut just melted in the mouth and was the highlight of the dishes. 


Trying Pastry chef Jennifer McCoy's ( of Emeril's Delmonico in New Orleans, Blackbird and Bittersweet Bakery in Chicago) desserts is the ideal way to finish your experience at FORGE.  The signature Taste of American Classics is presented as a trio: Root Beer Float with ginger ice cream, Butterscotch Pudding with a pignoli cookie and Forgione's Granny Lu's Chocolate Cake with a cocoa nib tuille. Other sweets include the Bartlett Pear "In a Blanket" with almond-oatmeal Streusel and a side of Earl Grey Ice Cream, although you may be quite full from the starter and entree. 

FORGE has an energetic feel that is felt as soon as you enter the restaurant, a perfect spot for gathering with friends for special occasions or just a night out. The mood is down to earth and laid-back so dress accordingly.   

134 Reade Street (Hudson and Greenwich)  212-941-9401 

Monday – Saturday, 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm.  Closed Sunday