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Devin Tavern

Note: Devin Tavern closed in January 2009. Click here for a more recent review.

I had a first look at Devin Tavern late last week. The website describes it as a “rustic American tavern.” I didn’t detect much rusticity in the décor, which reminded me of a country club, but it certainly applied to the cuisine.

The menu steers toward hearty comfort food, such as a fresh ricotta tortelloni appetizer ($14), which comes with braised beef cheeks and chanterelles in a red wine reduction. The combination worked, but it felt more like an entrée.  One of the side dishes was a wild mushroom flan ($8), which had the appearance of a dessert, but was too substantial to be a mere side dish. Perhaps a shift to the appetizer section would help. A citrus cheese cake ($11) came poised atop a sponge cake that didn’t yield easily enough to the fork.

That tortelloni isn’t an anomaly. The current menu includes severak other “heavy” appetizers, like Chicken & Biscuits ($12), Braised Lamb Shank & Barley Stew ($12), Shrimp & Grits ($16), and a Lobster & Corn Soufflé ($14). I wonder how many diners want to move on from such fare to entrées like Braised Short Ribs ($26), Grilled Whole Fish ($36), or a Bison Rib-Eye ($34)? To be sure, you can also get a salad at Devin Tavern, but the meaning of “rustic” is abundantly clear.

The space is large, and on a Wednesday evening it didn’t seem close to full. Service was professional and sharp.

Devin Tavern (363 Greenwich Street between Franklin and Harrison Sts, TriBeCa)

Food: *
Service: *½
Ambiance: *
Overall: *

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