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First Look: Terroir Tribeca

Terroir Tribeca opened last night, the west side sibling to the East Village wine bar that was an instant classic two years ago, and remains so today. We’ve visited the original Terroir twice (reviews here & here), and would’ve gone more often if it wasn’t on the opposite side of town. With a Terroir three blocks from work, that problem is now solved.

Terroir Tribeca is twice the size of its older sister, a bit nicer looking, and has about quadruple the kitchen space. The concept, however, is the same. If you’re one of the few people who didn’t like Terroir (ahem, Robert Sietsema), you won’t like Terroir Tribeca either.

Much of the credit goes to Paul Grieco, the mad scientist of sommeliers, whose wine lists are as fun to read as a Joseph Heller novel. The man knows his wine, loves to talk about it, and sells it at prices that make you want to try. There are bottles, of course, and everything on the by-the-glass list is available in either half or full pours.

Grieco’s partner, Marco Canora, supervises the food program. The menu is an expanded version of the East Village Terroir. The categories are the same (bar snacks, “fried stuff,” charcuterie, cheese, panini, salads, etc.); there’s just more of everything. I suspect that the larger kitchen will give them the chance to broaden the menu eventually. For the opening, they have hewed to their already proven concept.

My eye drifted first to the “Fried Stuff.” Funky Beef Balls ($7; above left) were heavily seasoned flavor bombs of aged Creekstone Farms beef. Sage Leaves with Lamb Sausage ($7; above right) were even better.

I had brief tastes of a couple other items that I liked a bit less, the “Disc O’ Pig” and the “Bacalla Balls” (there is clearly an obsession with circular and spherical objects here). All are designed for sharing, and that is a wise thing. If there’s any criticism of this food, it’s the lack of variety. After two heavy deep-fried dishes, you might be in danger of falling into a salt coma.

I was ready for a change of pace, which Orangey Beets ($4; above left) supplied. I then went back to the fried stuff, with the Beet Gorgonzola Risotto Balls ($7; above right). They don’t look like much on the outside, but they’re fantastic.

Grieco and Canora have seeded Terroir Tribeca with staff from the East Village, so it’s no surprise that service was much smoother than the typical opening night, even though the bar was packed to the rafters by 7:00 p.m. Actually, I can report only one minor glitch—getting charged for a full glass of wine when I was quite sure I had only half. I ordered about five or six half-glasses, and all the others were billed correctly.

Terroir Tribeca is launched, and I suspect it’ll be one heck of an enjoyable ride.

Terroir Tribeca (24 Harrison Street, east of Greenwich Street, Tribeca)

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