Note: Ago was rumored to be closing at the end of January 2009, to give way to a new Italian concept under Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s management. That deal fizzled, and Andrew Carmellini’s hit Italian restaurant, Locanda Verde, replaced it.
The first time I visited Ago (pronounced Ah-go), I only got as far as taking a quick look and picking up a menu. Yesterday, I dropped in for dinner. I was seated immediately, but it was in the front area, where restaurants usually seat their walk-ins. The bar was doing a brisk business, so it was noisy and not at all charming.
Last week, the menu offered a rib-eye steak grilled on the wood-burning oven, for $34. Yesterday, it appeared on the menu as “M.P.” (possibly now a t-bone) and I ordered it without asking the price, which turned out to be a stunning $54—a rather dramatic increase, wouldn’t you say? Given that the menu is just a loose sheet of paper that is clearly being frequently reprinted, why can’t the price of this item be included?
Leaving the price aside, it was a wonderful hunk of meat, with the wood-burning oven imparting a wonderful smokey flavor. But was it worth $54, given that Wolfgang’s offers more-or-less comparable quality for $15 less, just two blocks away? The potatoes are included here, but as they come on the same plate, they quickly get soggy from wallowing in the steak’s juices.
The server was friendly and reasonably attentive, though he missed out on the chance to sell me a second class of the barbera d’asti, by failing to note that the first glass I’d ordered ($14) was empty. When he finally came around, I decided it was time to leave.
Ago (379 Greenwich Street at N. Moore Street, TriBeCa)