Note: Duane Park Café has closed. There are new owners (Marisa Ferrarin and Frank Locker) and a new chef (Shawn Knight), whose new menu will have “a Louisiana accent.” The space has been re-decorated, and the restaurant is now called Duane Park.
A group of six of us had dinner at the Duane Park Café the other night. Our host was a vendor my employer does business with. He ordered a knock-out Bordeaux, the name of which unfortunately I can’t recall. As he owns a vineyard in Australia on the side, I suppose he knows his grapes. The restaurant had decanted it for us, and it was already airing itself out at our table when we sat down.
Put six carnivores at the same table, and the orders are almost predictable. Three of us ordered the grilled tenderloin, and the other three ordered the rack of lamb. I ordered the lamb. It came with three wonderfully flavorful, tender, decent-sized chops. The tenderloin crew seemed happy too.
For the appetizers, we had only slightly more variety. One ordered the pan-seared scallops and shrimp, two more the tuna tartare, and three the scallop and crab cake. The latter item looked pretty damned good, but I had the tuna tartare, which came with “black sesame tuille and tahini sauce” (that’s a quote from the website — I wouldn’t otherwise recognize those ingedients). It was just slightly spicy and most enjoyable.
Dessert was the only disappointment. A peach cobbler broke apart all too quickly into an unappetizing mess, and it was served only lukewarm.
Our host had suggested Duane Park Café because it’s a quiet place, where you can actually hear your dinner companions talk — an advantage many restaurants lack these days. Service was friendly and efficient, but the restaurant was a bit under half full.
Duane Park Café is also reasonably priced for the neighborhood, with appetizers in the $7-10 range and mains $19-25.
Duane Park Café (157 Duane St. between W. Broadway & Hudson St., TriBeCa)