I felt guilty. Eater.com announced that Devin Tavern, a resident of its Deathwatch hospice had expired. I wrote an obituary that was premature. Yesterday, Eater walked the story back. Devin Tavern is still open. I figured the least I could do was have dinner there.
The restaurant has re-invented itself multiple times, in an effort—so far apparently fruitless—to win a steady following. I visited Devin Tavern v1.0 about two years ago. I liked the rustic menu, but Frank Bruni wrote it off after one blog post. Most of the major critics didn’t review it. I think they’re on their third chef now. The server wasn’t sure of his name, but she said it’s the same chef as nearby Dylan Prime, which has the same owners.
I don’t know if the restaurant will survive, but its website is overdue for an overhaul. Its “press” section has links to stories about a chef who is no longer there. Its online menu shows a number of items that are no longer offered. I had my heart set on the House Made Bacons, which have been dropped.
The current menu doesn’t blaze any culinary trails, but the kitchen did a solid job with Steak Frites ($24), a slightly chewy but expertly prepared hanger steak that I was happy to finish, with an excellent Hollandaise sauce on the side and good crisp fries.
Cocktails are superb, all of which are “made with house-made syrups, liqueurs & fresh juice,” a bargain at $12 each. The bread service was excellent, too.
The space is enormous, with several spacious dining rooms. They’ve probably never been full here, but last night they had a large private party and a solid bar crowd.
Seating is comfortable, and the rustic chic décor is easy on the eyes. Service was very good, as it ought to be when there aren’t many customers to keep track of.
Devin Tavern (363 Greenwich St. between Franklin & Harrison Sts., TriBeCa)