« Rolling the Dice: Max Brenner | Main | Cascina »

Dennis Foy


Note: Dennis Foy closed in early 2009. We found it nearly empty when we visited in 2007, and business never really picked up. Dennis Foy deserved better than that, but his terrific food never really found a following at this location. The space later held a couple of failed Japanese restaurants helmed by Masaharu Morimoto, and is now expected to become Church Street Tavern.


Dennis Foy is a chef who has bounced around a bit, having run the kitchen in Manhattan at Mondrian and EQ (both long since closed), as well as a couple of New Jersey restaurants. Last fall, he opened the eponymous restaurant in the former Lo Scalco space, sprucing it up with his own landscape paintings, decorating the walls in gold leaf and the ceiling beams in bold, saturated colors.

Its arrival was greeted with yawns. Frank Bruni relegated it to a double-review with an unrelated restaurant. Awarding one star, he called Dennis Foy “a worthy but low-wattage addition to the New York dining scene: an ‘if you happen to be’ as opposed to a ‘you have to try’ restaurant.”

The only problem with Bruni’s assessment is that Church Street between Walker and Lispenard Streets isn’t an “if you happen to be” block. No one “just happens to be” there, which perhaps explains why we found Dennis Foy nearly empty. Only about one-fourth of its 60 seats were taken at prime time on Friday night. I fear an Eater Deathwatch cannot be far off.

That’s too bad, because Dennis Foy offers very respectable food in a serene, grown-up atmosphere. Prices are a bit expensive, though it’s possible to spend plenty more in the neighborhood. The menu isn’t very long, with just nine appetizers ($8–18) and eight entrées ($25–35) listed. I suspect Foy’s prospects would be improved by lowering the average price of the entrées—say, from $30 to $25.

dennisfoy01a.jpg dennisfoy01b.jpg
Amuse-bouche (left); Crispy Veal Sweetbreads (right)

The amuse-bouche was a seafood salad with toasted blini and pickled vegetables. We were also offered several choices of bread, all served warm. To start, my girlfriend and I both had the Crispy Veal Sweetbreads ($14), with roquette, hazelnuts, apple cider, and spring onion marmelade. We particularly liked the contrast of the deep-fried sweetbread and the light apple flavor.

Rack of Berkshire Pork

Rack of Berkshire Pork ($30) seemed over-priced, given that the all there was of it was a single lonely pork chop, deboned and sliced. The accompaniments—Serrano ham, ricotta gnocchi, and romaine lettuce—weren’t especially memorable, and the pork was a bit too dry.

My girlfriend was quite pleased with fettuccini with veal and foie gras, which was rich in texture, and served in a hearty portion. I tasted a bit of it myself, and it was excellent.

Rhubarb Cobbler

Rhubarb, now in season, is showing up on menus all over town. We don’t usually order dessert, but perhaps out of sympathy, ordered a Rhubarb Cobbler ($10). We were glad we did, as it was a fine dessert indeed, served warm with heavy cream on the side.

Service was top-notch, though with the restaurant three-fourths empty, it had better be. The beautiful space could be home to a three-star restaurant. It is perfect for a refined escape from a hectic week, though not too many people seem to have figured this out. Perhaps it’s because the food, though strongly conceived and usually well executed, isn’t quite dazzling enough.

Dennis Foy (313 Church Street between Walker and Lispenard Streets, TriBeCa)

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

Reader Comments (4)

in spite of the prices it looks great - im getting used to paying more for less here. the cobbler - wow - with A PITCHER OF CREAM ON THE SIDE - this place knows how to please.

April 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

I had dinner last night at Dennis Foy and to my delight enjoyed every aspect of my expierence. The food, service, and wine was fabulous. Truly worth every cent. I certainly will be back especially to entertain my clients.

September 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Rothchild

I can't resist pointing out that you got the street it's on wrong. It's on Church, not West Broadway. I TOLD you it's hard to find!

January 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSneakeater

@Sneakeater: Thanks for the correction!

February 2, 2009 | Registered CommenterMarc Shepherd

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>