Because nobody has yet - my review of Commerce
Was surprised to see no reviews and only a few passing references to Commerce on this board. So, here is my short review.
Overall, I was pretty surprised that I liked it so much. It was pricey ($400 for four people with 2.5 courses and two drinks per person, including tax & tip) and I know I could find at least two or three other places I like better at this price, but I racked my brain and certainly couldn't think of 10 meals I enjoyed as much as this one. The menus at other places generally get me more excited, but the few dishes I sampled here were, overall, fantastic.
Started with the duck rillettes. Not the best rillettes I have ever had, but in the top three. Creamy, well seasoned. Toast points that came with were good, not great, but the sour cherry relish (I think it was relish) and small salad were great accompaniments. At $19, a pricey dish, but the portion was quite large. An excellent dish, and worth the price, I believe.
I tried a friend's beef tartar. Was fine, but unmemorable, though he loved it.
Sampled one of the pastas. The mushroom & Fontina ravioli was very good. The Parmesan foam was a nice touch. I think I tasted a little truffle oil, which I don't remember seeing on the menu which is nice, but, an easy way to enrich the flavor and also kind of overwhelmed the mushrooms. Alternative theory: really flavorful mushrooms!
I didn't try the Sweet Potato Tortelloni, but my gf liked it, though thought it was too sweet.
As an entree, I had the red snapper which was, easily, the best preparation of snapper I have ever had, and one of my top three fish dishes outside of Le Bernadin. The Thai-inspired broth was phenomenal, perhaps better with a meatier, white fish, but excellent nonetheless. The roasted kabocha squash tasted like non I had ever had before, originally making me think it might have been a type of eggplant, but it was fantastic as well. I would eat this dish over and over again (like Batali's pork chop!)
Dessert was worse than unmemorable, unfortunately - the bananas foster was a waste of money - and the drinks were only ok and definitely overpriced - wine list was nutso expensive for what it offered I thought.
Services was nice. Room was a bit cramped, sure, but totally fine. If I went back, I'd order cheap wine and just live with it, and no dessert. But the rillettes and, to an even greater extent, the snapper, were just fantastic. I would eat them again and again.
Thanks for this. I've been wondering about the food at Commerce since I stopped in for a drink before seeing a show at the Cherry Lane. I think the prices are out of line, and your review bears me out. I enjoyed my Sazerac, but if memory serves it was $14...plus tax. That made me surly. But the writer of the play I was going to see sat next to me at the bar, which was cool.