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Good Things Are Happening at Hotel Griffou

d
Dave Feldman Jul 18, 2011 09:19 PM

There have been some threads that have recognized the drastic upswing in food at Hotel Griffou, but somehow it is till flying under the radar, or underestimated because of its shaky beginnings with a different chef. David Santos, late of 5 & Diamond in Harlem, is cooking up a storm at Griffou, and he has been offering special tasting menu dinners once a month (usually on Mondays, but occasionally, such as this month, a different day of the week). There has been one thread about the Sunday brunch here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767881 but I think I'm more excited about dinner at HG, and especially the tasting dinners. He's pared this one from 7-courses down to 5. The larger number of courses meant quite a long dinner. Cost of this dinner is $75 including all beer.

Here's the July 27th (Wednesday) dinner, with beer pairings!

Tasting Menu

Amuse
Summer truffle egg
Kasteel Cru, Alsace

Watermelon and sakai crudo, Buttermilk sorbet
Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer, San Francisco

Sweetfish tempura, miso remoulade, avocado
Hitachino Nest, Japan

Lobster ravioli, summer squash, foie gras emulsion
Biere de Miel, Belgium

Belly and loin of Iowa farms pig, corn pudding, pickled succotash
Dogfish Hell Hound, Delaware

Tobacco poached cherries, chocolate sable cookies, stout ice cream
Geary's London Porter, Maine

I've been to previous tastings, and the portions of food and drink are most generous. And best of all, David Santos's food is exuberant, flavorful, and imaginative. Although the kitchen staff is small, Santos finds the time to come out and say hello to his guests and share his passion for food and fun. I'm only sorry I can't make it this month, but next month, I'm there!

I have to admit that one of my motivations for posting this is my hope that some Chowhounds go and report back. Reservations are required, via phone at 212.358.0228 or email at reservations@griffou.com

-----
Hotel Griffou
21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

5 & Diamond
2072 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

  1. b
    bob96 Jul 18, 2011 09:34 PM

    Be sure to let Steve Cuozzo know,
    http://www.nypost.com/p/lifestyle/foo...

    1 Reply
    1. re: bob96
      d
      Dave Feldman Jul 18, 2011 09:58 PM

      I'm well aware of the review. In fact, it was one of the motivations for me posting. I can't criticize the critic. I have no reason to think that Steve Cuozzo had/has an ax to grind, but the food I've tasted there has had no resemblance to the food I've eaten there, and maybe the kitchen was having an off-night. I think it's more likely Cuozzo was having an off-night. The kitchen certainly doesn't deserve the snide tone. There aren't enough people enjoying HG, but those that do go seem as enthusiastic as me.

    2. m
      michelleats Jul 18, 2011 09:43 PM

      Thanks, Dave. Great tip. I'm not sure I can make it this month, either, but you've put it on my radar. I've never been for food, only drinks.

      Strangely, there's no mention of the tasting dinner at all on their website! http://www.griffou.com/

      Do you know what time it begins?

      14 Replies
      1. re: michelleats
        Cheeryvisage Jul 19, 2011 09:59 AM

        I'm wondering the same too. Any additional details on this? And, what if you don't want to drink?

        1. re: Cheeryvisage
          r
          RGR Jul 19, 2011 10:18 AM

          It starts a 8 p.m.

          In the email I received, there is no mention of a separate charge for just the food. My husband drinks but I don't (or so little, it barely counts), so that's an issue for us when special dinners don't separate the cost of food and alcoholic beverages. If you are interested in going to this one, you might call and see if they would be willing to make a deduction.

          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

          1. re: Cheeryvisage
            m
            michelleats Jul 19, 2011 11:13 AM

            Cheery, I was wondering about whether not drinking was an option, too. I just called to ask and the (very nice) reservationist told me that this was a beer tasting event and they couldn't really just do the food. She did suggest that I take someone who could drink both our beers for us. Happily, I have some friends who might be able to do that. Let me know if you want to borrow one. ;)

            She confirmed that the event begins at 8 p.m. (thanks, RGR, for posting this info) and that the entire event would take about 2 to 2.5 hours. If you go with a dining companion, you'd have your own table and could eat at your own pace.

            1. re: michelleats
              Cheeryvisage Jul 19, 2011 11:34 AM

              Thank you for your kind offer. Haha.

              Good to know the additional details on this event. I'm going to see if I can clear the calendar for next Wednesday.

              1. re: Cheeryvisage
                d
                Dave Feldman Jul 19, 2011 12:46 PM

                I get the feeling that beer was the inspiration for the menu in the first place. I know the waiters had a heavy hand on the wine during the last dinner. In the past, the tastings did have a no-alcohol option. Also, the kitchen was most gracious about substitutions for allergies and aversions.

              2. re: michelleats
                c
                chopjwu12 Jul 21, 2011 11:53 PM

                If someone were to just want the food. Id be happy split off the two. It would be 50 for food and 25 for the beer. Will try to get some more stuff up on the website if i can.

                1. re: chopjwu12
                  m
                  michelleats Jul 22, 2011 05:17 AM

                  Thanks! That's nice of you to be so accommodating.

                  (And thank you, too, for being open about your association with the restaurant -- and not being sneaky / pushy with the advertising, but rather informative.)

                  1. re: michelleats
                    Cheeryvisage Jul 22, 2011 09:08 AM

                    Excellent for having a food-only option. I made a reservation. :)

                    Will report back.

                    1. re: michelleats
                      c
                      chopjwu12 Jul 22, 2011 09:28 AM

                      No problem. Im the chef and will help with information as much as i can. I will let the people who have come in talk about what we are doing. They can be the voice of experience.

                    2. re: chopjwu12
                      u
                      uwsister Jul 22, 2011 01:46 PM

                      Great! I was also hoping for food-only option. I'll have to make a reservation soon.

                2. re: michelleats
                  d
                  Dave Feldman Jul 19, 2011 12:30 PM

                  It starts at 8.

                  1. re: Dave Feldman
                    r
                    Riverman500 Jul 19, 2011 12:40 PM

                    The chef also posts about these upcoming menus at NY Mouthfuls.

                    1. re: Riverman500
                      Steve R Jul 22, 2011 08:38 AM

                      That's mouthfulsfood.com If you try mouthfuls without the food, you get an entirely different type of website. :-)

                      At any rate, I've eaten Dave's food at 5 & Diamond and now at Hotel Griffou... he's an excellent chef, the food that's coming out at H.Griffou is fantastic and I'd highly recommend going for the tasting &/or for dinner any time. Tuesday nights is great for starting at the bar and eating inexpensive oysters paired with a wine deal that was very nice when we went (Weimer Reisling for $20/bottle).

                      -----
                      Hotel Griffou
                      21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                      5 & Diamond
                      2072 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

                      1. re: Steve R
                        d
                        Dave Feldman Jul 22, 2011 09:55 PM

                        I made the same mistake once re: mouthfuls and got, well, more than my mouth was up for! A second on the oysters at HG -- the restaurant got some funky belons this season that were out of this world.

                3. r
                  RGR Jul 19, 2011 07:26 AM

                  I'm so glad you posted this, Dave! We haven't been able to be at any of the previous tastings, and it doesn't look as though we will make this one either. :( But that said...

                  We were familiar with David Santos' culinary talents before he took over the kitchen at Griffou because he had previously been the chef de cuisine at Nicholas, an upscale NJ restaurant (considered the best in the state) where we've dined many times.

                  We had dinner at Griffou recently. The food he is serving here is more rustic than Nicholas's, but there are many hints of that haute style, and every dish we had was seriously delicious. I can't describe it more perfectly than you have: "exuberant, flavorful, and imaginative." :)

                  I have heard reports from others whose opinions I trust that their experiences at Griffou have been exactly the same as yours and mine. It would be a pity if Cuozzo's "review" (if you can even call it that) keeps people from going because they will be missing out on truly wonderful food.

                  Hotel Griffou photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157627086885648/

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  -----
                  Hotel Griffou
                  21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: RGR
                    d
                    Dave Feldman Jul 19, 2011 08:41 AM

                    As Cuozzo's review exemplifies, the problem at HG seems to be that its origins as a party bar for raucous young Wall Street types seems to disqualify it as a place to take seriously for food. This matters not a whit to me. The small dining rooms are shielded from the bar and I haven't found it a problem at all.

                    Santos put his time in at Bouley and Per Se, too, and his technique is stellar (you can see it in everything from the complex bone marrow flan), but you can also see the personal touch in his re imaginings of Bolognese (right now, it's goat Bolognese) The tasting menus are fun because at least once a month he gets to cook whatever he wants.

                    There are places with wide-ranging menus where the instinct is to order simple preparations; at HG, my general advice is to order the "weird" stuff. It's likely to be well-executed and most reflective of the chef's skill.

                    1. re: Dave Feldman
                      r
                      RGR Jul 19, 2011 09:54 AM

                      Yes, I agree Griffou's reputation is a big problem. Plus the fact that, as I understand it, the food previously was not good and received a royal panning from (I think) Bruni. So, it's important to get the word out that there is a new chef, that David's stellar background is evident in his cooking, and the food he is serving -- both the simpler dishes and those that are more complex -- is excellent.

                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  2. s
                    Sneakeater Jul 19, 2011 03:50 PM

                    I think what's happening at Hotel Griffou right now -- new chef with great credentials who's never yet had a chance to fly takes over kitchen of obnoxious douchebag lounge and turns it into one of the very best mid-priced restaurants in New York -- is one of the big stories on the New York dining scene.

                    But nobody's reporting it.

                    This place should be recognized -- and patronized -- by people who are serious about food. (Even if on some nights you might have to ignore a little obnoxiousness -- on behalf of other patrons, not the staff -- to do so.)

                    -----
                    Hotel Griffou
                    21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                    1. c
                      chopjwu12 Jul 28, 2011 01:32 PM

                      Just wanted to say thank you to those of you that made it out. Thanks for the support and i hope you had a great time.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: chopjwu12
                        f
                        filet_minion Jul 28, 2011 01:51 PM

                        Do you only serve the tasting menus on Wednesdays? I can't find any information on your website.

                        1. re: filet_minion
                          c
                          chopjwu12 Jul 28, 2011 10:41 PM

                          We actually put the tasting on hold for the summer. We didnt want it to compete with the gilt city offer we are doing. But in september the chefs tasting will be back in full force. But i do a special tasting once a month that allows me to express a certain topic or ingredient. Thats what this past wednesday was.

                      2. Cheeryvisage Jul 29, 2011 06:26 PM

                        My writeup with photos:

                        On Wednesday evening, 18 of us gathered in a beautiful, historical dining room at Hotel Griffou for Chef Dave Santos's Beer Tasting Dinner. Shortly after I settled down at my table (camera, check; phone for taking notes, check), the meal began.

                        1. Amuse Bouche - Summer Truffle Egg
                        This was steamed egg custard presented inside an egg shell. To stabilize the egg, the shell was set over a small mound of raw jasmine rice. I caught a whiff of the fragrant rice followed immediately by the delicious scent of the truffle-y egg custard. Nostalgia! Oh, the egg custard was so delicious and earthy that I wanted more. The wonderful aroma of jasmine rice really enhanced the flavor of the egg. The familiar scents were so comforting that it felt as I were back at my parents' place, enjoying a homey meal of steamed egg custard lovingly made by mom. What a tease. I dearly wished the rice was cooked so I could eat it along with the egg. When I asked Dave about it, he said the jasmine rice was just something he had on hand to stabilize the egg. But, I thought this enhanced aroma element was brilliant.

                        2. Watermelon and Sakai Crudo - buttermilk sorbet
                        Refreshing, sweet, and tangy. The fish was delicate, smooth, and glided against the tongue. The juicy and slightly grainy red and yellow watermelon slices provided an interesting texture and flavor contrast. I thought the white melted dots were some sort of cheese due to the dim lighting, until the creamy-flavor and acidic iciness hit my tongue. Texturally speaking, the sorbet was like the medium that helped the finely smooth fish to transition into the grainy watermelon. Yum.

                        3. Sweetfish Tempura - miso remoulade, avocado
                        The tempuras were expertly fried - crispy and airy. I could have eaten them all by themselves. The buttery avocado and miso remoulade further wrapped the delicious fish in a blanket of wonderful richness. When eaten with the fish and avocado, I couldn't taste the miso in the remoulade. So, I dabbed a bit of the sauce on my tongue. Tasted alone, the miso flavor was evident. And what's this? A slight sweetness? That was also kind of... alcoholic? Hey... it's beer! I was pleased with this discovery. Dave later told me he put beer in the tempura batter, though I could have sworn that the sauce had it too. Awesome!

                        4. Lobster Raviolo - summer squash, foie gras emulsion
                        I was surprised when I saw how this dish was presented. The plating looked a bit odd. How come there weren't any garnishes to add a bit of color? That aside, the lobster claw meat-filled raviolo was delicious, but I felt it was more of a backdrop for the super duper out-of-this-world sauce, the foie gras emulsion mixed with red onion reduction! It was definitely one of the highlights of the meal, so deep and earthy and complex. I was happy that there was a spoon for this course and I scooped up the lovely squash with as much of the sauce as I could without licking the plate. I wish we were given bread to mop everything clean! Haha.

                        5. Duo of Iowa Farms Pork - pork belly and loin, corn pudding, pickled succotash
                        Pork two cuts and two ways! The loin was tender and flavorful, and the big cube of pork belly fatty and rich - the top and bottom were beautifully seared. The meats paired perfectly with the pickled succotash which gave the entire dish a nice zing. Though, where was the corn pudding? How strange that I didn't have any impression of having eaten it. However, the pork and the succotash were so satisfying that I wasn't even in need of the elusive corn pudding. I only wished one thing was done differently: the thick layer of fat in the pork belly. I would have preferred the fat rendered out a bit more, and that the cube of pork belly seared on all sides to make the fat more palatable. I guess what happened was that the kitchen was cooking using a large slab of pork belly and seared the slab on all sides. The slab was then cut into cube servings; as a result, the cut sides were unseared. It would have been better if the individual cubes had gotten a quick sear on the cut sides as well.

                        6. Tobacco Poached Cherries - chocolate sable cookies, stout ice cream
                        I admit I was apprehensive about the cherries due to the tobacco element. Thankfully, they had a concentrated sweetness, but there was no trace of the tobacco taste that I was afraid could be off-putting. The stout ice cream was a-ma-zing! It was rich, creamy, and had a nice alcoholic zip on the back of my tongue. It was my favorite thing on the plate and quickly devoured. I gave up on my dessert spoon when it came to the cookies and just picked them up with my fingers and popped them in my mouth. Here, something interesting happened. I was nonchalantly chewing away at the buttery cookies and suddenly, tasted a slight saltiness, followed quickly by a jolt of pepperiness and soon felt a numbing, tingling sensation on my tongue. Startled, I stared at the spot on the plate where the cookie had rested, trying to discern if something was previously sprinkled on the cookie. I scooped up a bit of the remaining sauce on that spot into my mouth, the pepperiness and tingling sensation intensified. With my head full of question marks, I was glad when Dave came talking to me at the end of the meal and explained that he sprinkled salt over the cookies and the salt was what drew out the peppery flavor in the chocolate on the cookie. And the tingling sensation? Tobacco. Tobacco was what gave that most singular tingling on my tongue. Fascinating!

                        What a delightful meal I had at Hotel Griffou. A big thank you to Chef Dave for hosting this dinner and for being so patient and gracious when I peppered (haha) him with questions at the end of the meal. It was great meeting him and talking to him. I was happy to have learned something new about the properties of salt, chocolate, and tobacco.

                        One thing of note was that there was no bread served at the tasting dinner. My boyfriend wasn't able to join me for this meal. Though, if he had, I'd have been concerned that he'd still be hungry by the end of the dinner since it spanned more than two hours. Neither of us drink. The meal, while just enough to satisfy me, would not have been sufficient to sate his hunger. I'm guessing bread is not needed for most diners since they drink alcohol, but for non-drinkers, it would've been nice had there been some starch to help fill us up.

                        -----
                        Hotel Griffou
                        21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                         
                        14 Replies
                        1. re: Cheeryvisage
                          sing me a bar Jul 29, 2011 07:46 PM

                          I apologize for seeming to be such a contrarian, but these photos make me wonder when dinner will be served, after these little amuse bouches. I've lived in Rome, in Paris, in the Perigord, in the Loire and had some marvelous meals. I appreciate aesthetic plating, but this is way too visual for my taste and makes me not at all curious to try it. In Rome, this wouldn't even qualify as lunch. I'm sorry to be so volume oriented, but this is minimalism when you don't want it; i.e., when you want a meal. I ate many meals here when it was Mary Lou's. The food was not world class, perhaps, but one didn't leave needing to go find dinner. If anyone posting here is really associated with the restaurant, find a way to serve meals. We are in what end up being judged as being the greatest depression in American history. You will not survive serving the very rich and thin meager tidbits. Diners want to eat a meal. I guess the simple truth is that I roil at this approach to food. I know this may be considered a tasting, but reading the above, the reviewer says, relative to wishing for some bread, " it would've been nice to have some starch on which to fill up". If you are serving dinner, one shouldn't dream of a slice of bread so as not to leave hungry. I used to joke with friends when this style of nouveau cuisine first came in. I'd look at the tiny portion in front of me and ask, " am I supposed to snort this or eat it?" It's what I call the six string bean syndrome. You get a main course and as sides they give you maybe two new potatoes and six string beans. When I cook haricots vert at home, I make a meaningful amount of them as a side, since nothing depresses me like a plate with a paltry few beans or a few leaves of spinach. It's as if the person in the kitchen has no empathy for the hunger of a diner, and is only concerned with the appearance and seasoning of a dish. Ok, make it look good, and make the flavours subtle, but don't starve me. It makes me cranky!

                          1. re: sing me a bar
                            r
                            RGR Jul 29, 2011 11:50 PM

                            I think you are being unfair to make a generalization about portion sizes at Hotel Griffou based on what was served at a tasting dinner. I happen to feel that tasting menu portions should be small. But that aside, when we had dinner at Griffou a few weeks ago, portions were more than generous! There is no way anyone would leave the restaurant feeling hungry. My photos prove it. In case you missed the link upthread, I'm providing it again here.

                            Hotel Griffou photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157627086885648/

                            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                            1. re: sing me a bar
                              k
                              kathryn Jul 30, 2011 02:40 PM

                              Just because you don't like something (like haute cuisine, non-rustic food, whatever), does not mean it is empirically not good.

                              Have you eaten at Hotel Griffou?

                              -----
                              Hotel Griffou
                              21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                            2. re: Cheeryvisage
                              c
                              chopjwu12 Jul 29, 2011 10:57 PM

                              Thank you for the great photos. I will look into the bread thing. There must have been a hiccup with service because they usually offer bread. As to portion sizes i actually shortened the menu because people were saying it was to much food more often then not. But this was a tasting menu and the ingredients are specially sourced and quite expensive. Many a guests has said our regular menu portions are very generous.

                              1. re: chopjwu12
                                Cheeryvisage Jul 30, 2011 05:15 AM

                                Wow, I did not intend to stir up a debate regarding portion size. *sheepish*

                                Just want to be clear, while I wasn't served bread, I personally was perfectly happy with the meal. I just thought in the hypothetical scenario that someone with a much bigger appetite than I (ie. my boyfriend) were to have dined, it would have been a good idea to make sure there was bread.

                                And, it looked like my experience was an isolated incident since Dave said above that bread should indeed have been served at a tasting dinner too and there was evidence that the restaurant's normal dishes were good sized. And after all, despite the hiccup, *I* still walked away happy and satisfied.

                                1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                  d
                                  Dave Feldman Jul 30, 2011 08:52 AM

                                  First of all, as the originator of the thread, thanks to you for sending such a beautiful report. It almost made up for my forced absence. It also sent me to your blog, which I plan to follow (the photos are stunning).

                                  I feel a little sheepish, as I gave Chef Santos some feedback that I thought there might have been too much food in previous tasting dinners. Several of my friends were full midway through the previous dinner.

                                  I wish I could have tried the stout ice cream. Waterfront Ale House used to make ice cream in the Brooklyn branch (and serve it in the Kip's Bay location, as well). WAH's Monster Crunch was one of my favorite ice creams ever.

                                  -----
                                  Waterfront Ale House
                                  540 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                  1. re: Dave Feldman
                                    Steve R Jul 30, 2011 11:49 AM

                                    Yeah, but that's when Peter owned Waterfront and had the ice cream place next door as well.

                                    I agree about the report being excellent (especially the pics). Thanks for that, as we also missed the dinner.

                                    As an aside, I generally dont disagree with the concept of "give me a traditional (& substantial) dinner format" but think that special tasting menus like this one (and Robertas & several others) give a different option and folks can decide going in if they want to try this method of dining. I've been to places where big plates contain 1-2 forkfulls of food & generally feel ripped off. My experience with Dave (here and previously when he was at 5 & Diamond) is that you dont leave hungry, whether its a tasting menu or the regular fare.

                                    -----
                                    5 & Diamond
                                    2072 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

                                    1. re: Steve R
                                      r
                                      RGR Jul 30, 2011 02:24 PM

                                      "My experience with Dave (here and previously when he was at 5 & Diamond) is that you dont leave hungry, whether its a tasting menu or the regular fare."

                                      Exactly the same when Dave was chef de cuisine at the upscale Nicholas, in NJ.

                                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                      1. re: Steve R
                                        Cheeryvisage Jul 30, 2011 07:51 PM

                                        Thanks, guys, for the compliments. :)

                                        I'd like to go back to Hotel Griffou for the Sunday Portuguese brunch sometime. Though, I wonder what ARE the hours for the brunch anyway? Opentable only shows dinner hours. I can't find any information regarding this on the restaurant's website either. (There's also no dinnertime dessert menu on the website.)

                                        -----
                                        Hotel Griffou
                                        21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                                        1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                          r
                                          RGR Jul 30, 2011 10:09 PM

                                          I think it starts at noon and goes to at least 4 p.m.

                                          They really do need to put the dessert and brunch menus on the website, as well as the brunch hours.

                                          Btw, my compliments to you as well. Great report and wonderful photos.

                                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                          1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                            r
                                            RGR Jul 30, 2011 10:17 PM

                                            Here's the Portuguese brunch menu Dave posted on another forum earlier this year.

                                            Starters
                                            Pasteis bacalhau (Cod fritters) - 10
                                            Salada de polvo (grilled octopus salad) - 12
                                            Rissois(Shrimp turnovers) -10
                                            Caldo Verde(kale soup) - 9
                                            Escabeche de sardinhas(Sardine salad) -12
                                            Piri piri shrimp - 12

                                            Selection of cheese, meats, bread, and jams- market price

                                            Large plates
                                            Carne alenjana(pork and clams)- 18
                                            chourico e ovos no forno(Baked chorizo and eggs)- 14
                                            Carne estufada com ovos a cavalo(Braised beef and fried eggs)- 18
                                            Bifanas de porco com ovo(Pork and egg sandwich)- 14
                                            Santos burger with pork and eggs- 15
                                            Dobrada com feijao(Braised tripe and beans)- 14
                                            Almundigas de carneiro com tomate e queijo(Lamb meatballs in spicy tomato and cheese)- 18
                                            Leitao assado(Roast suckling pig)- 20

                                            http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                            1. re: RGR
                                              Cheeryvisage Jul 31, 2011 02:02 PM

                                              Thanks, RGR!

                                              Some quite enticing items on this list.

                                    2. re: chopjwu12
                                      m
                                      mow mow Jul 30, 2011 07:15 AM

                                      yeah chef, i think keeping the tasting menu portion the way it is, is a very good thing. if you make sure there's bread, there'll be more than enough. big portion tasting menu may satisfy some, but turns off many too. i for one often dislike going for tasting menu not because of the money, but because of not wanting to stuff myself beyond the point of satiety. your portions look just right!

                                      when is the next one?

                                    3. re: Cheeryvisage
                                      m
                                      michelleats Jul 31, 2011 09:22 PM

                                      This is a fantastic review, Cheery. Almost as good as eating it, myself. I'm really intrigued by your description of the watermelon + sakai crudo + buttermilk sorbet dish, especially. How inventive and interesting!

                                      For the record, I think I probably would've been quite happy with the portion sizes, too.

                                      Thanks so much for posting!

                                    4. g
                                      gutsofsteel Jul 31, 2011 05:06 AM

                                      How is the food different from when he was at 5&Diamond? I went several times to 5&Diamond when he was there, including for a tasting menu, and while my meals were fine, they were unremarkable. Has there been a change with his move to Griffou?

                                      1. c
                                        chopjwu12 Aug 2, 2011 11:33 PM

                                        Sorry i didnt realize i could be the one to post the next tasting menu. So i removed it. My bad.

                                        1. r
                                          RGR Aug 3, 2011 07:43 AM

                                          The next tasting dinner at Griffou will take place on Monday, August 22nd. With the upcoming football season in mind, Dave has chosen football for the menu's theme.

                                          Amuse: America's team - Tex-Mex Wing

                                          Da Bears: "Abe Froman" - House Made Sausage, Figs, Almonds, Baby Greens

                                          The Pack: Beer and Cheese Head Soup

                                          The Niners: Cioppino - "The Real San Francisco Treat"

                                          Big Blue: Forgetaboutit Calzone - I stuff; you eat it!

                                          The Pats: Wicked Awesome Surf 'n' Turf - Cod Chowder and Boston Baked Beans

                                          The Iggles: Philly wit Cheese

                                          The Who Dats: Big Easy Beignets

                                          I have no interest in football, but this menu sounds very intriguing.

                                          The cost will be around $75. I don't know if that will include wine pairings.

                                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: RGR
                                            c
                                            chopjwu12 Aug 3, 2011 09:38 AM

                                            It will start at 8 but other times will work if need be. A pairing will be seperate since this dinner is 8 courses rather then 5.

                                            1. re: chopjwu12
                                              d
                                              Dave Feldman Aug 3, 2011 02:24 PM

                                              You could have an NFC/AFC playoff!

                                          2. r
                                            Rich D. Aug 14, 2011 12:05 PM

                                            I went to Hotel Griffou on Friday night, primarily based on the enthusiasm in this thread. My party was seated in the front room, adjacent to the bar. We were a group of four who opted to order a series of plates, sharing them all. Without fail, they were tremendous: we ordered two "bites," a salmon crudo and seafood "fritters," the acclaimed bone marrow flan, fluke tartare, the sublime scallops, and two entriees: yellowfin tuna with lime and cucumber jasmine rice and the excellent duck. The food had creative combinations that actually enhanced the flavors rather than just being frivilously novel, they were fairly large portions, and they were all very well-executed. Almost universally, we loved every dish. We sampled 5 or 6 cocktails off the list to varying degrees of sucess. Although they are a bit skimpy for the $14 price tag (my gf actually asked our server to top off her tequila cocktail because the small glass it was served in was inexplicably only 2/3 full), they were very good.

                                            The room was beautiful, the crowd was beautiful, and the staff was beautiful. Unfortunately, our only hang-up was a big one: our server had a serious attitude problem. When we asked whether it were possible for the chef to prepare 4 scallops instead of the customary 3 for the appetizer (and charge us accordingly) she simply said that the chef doesn't do that. When we asked for some insight to craft a make-your-own cocktail to riff off the ones available, she merely recited the ones on the menu. When we tried to flag her attention for an extra napkin or more drinks, she shrugged us off and left it for the other staff to help us. I understand that some of our requests may have been not possible, but her standoffish attitude from the moment we sat down left us with a very sour taste. All in all, despite our $350+ tab, we were treated as if she was doing us a favor by waiting on us.

                                            Hotel Griffou has a lot going for it and has some of the most exciting food for the price point that I've seen in a while. Because of this, I will definitely give it another shot. Maybe our server was just having a bad day? Unfortunately, if this service repeats itself, I'll have to take my business elsewhere.

                                            -----
                                            Hotel Griffou
                                            21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: Rich D.
                                              r
                                              RGR Aug 14, 2011 01:56 PM

                                              I'm so sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience with this server. She certainly doesn't sound anything like our server, Brie, who couldn't have been more pleasant and attentive.

                                              I haven't a clue whether your cocktail request could have been accommodated. However, I have no doubt if the server had checked with Chef Santos, he would have been more than happy to prepare that additional scallop (for a surcharge, of course).

                                              Frankly, I think you should have had a word with the manager about this poor treatment. That server is definitely in need of an attitude adjustment. But it would be difficult for management to address it without being told about it. In any case, I hope you at least made your displeasure known with a reduced tip.

                                              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                              1. re: RGR
                                                r
                                                Rich D. Aug 14, 2011 02:10 PM

                                                RGR - Unsurprisingly, our server was not Brie, however, I'm reticent to name her. As for the tip, I left a symbolic 19%, despite my standard 20%! I can't bring myself to ever leave much less because I gather that they pool tips with the rest of the staff.

                                                I should have spoken with the manager, though I would have had to seek one out in order to do so. If one had come to our table, I would have let him or her know. Either way, I'm willing to chalk up our unsavory service to a rogue server or a bad night for her. I just hope that this is not indicative of a snooty attitude of other wait staff. I will be back to find out soon enough!

                                                1. re: Rich D.
                                                  r
                                                  RGR Aug 14, 2011 02:40 PM

                                                  Rich,

                                                  There was no intended implication in my post that you should have named the server. I can understand your reluctance to reduce the tip. However, not doing so just rewards bad behavior. On the rare occasions that we feel forced to do so, we usually include a very short note as to the reason. Re: informing the manager, my husband and I would have asked to speak to that person as soon as the server's attitude became evident.

                                                  I do hope that the next time you go to Griffou that you have a much better service experience. Maybe you'll get lucky and Brie will be the one to take care of you.

                                                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                              2. re: Rich D.
                                                d
                                                Dave Feldman Aug 14, 2011 05:55 PM

                                                So sorry you encountered service issues. I've experienced an occasional lack of polish in some of the service, but never unfriendliness or indifference (I've never eaten in the front room). And usually, I've been more than satisfied. The last time I was at HG, Brie was my server, too, and she was outstanding enough for me to compliment her to Chef David.

                                                1. re: Rich D.
                                                  p
                                                  parisfille6 Aug 14, 2011 10:10 PM

                                                  Rich, you should never feel that you are being mistreated at a restaurant, no matter what you are paying. I would definitely call and speak to the manager about your service. Since the meal is over, I don't know what they can offer you, but I do know that they don't want to have their guests mistreated.

                                                  1. re: parisfille6
                                                    c
                                                    chopjwu12 Aug 18, 2011 10:44 PM

                                                    The issue was a topic at our service meetings and managers were made aware. I spoke with the server and handled that end of it as well. Please let me know if i can do anything else and hopefully you will be back soon.

                                                2. Cheeryvisage Aug 20, 2011 05:39 AM

                                                  I dropped by Hotel Griffou for a quick dinner last night after work. I was seated in The Library / Kennedy Room again. My server Lana and I recognized each other immediately from last month's tasting dinner. Haha.

                                                  One of the specials for the night was a seafood Chawanmushi (teacup steamed egg custard). I was pleased that a version of one of my favorite items from the tasting dinner was served for regular dinner. But alas, I just had Chawanmushi the night before, so I did not order it. Instead I got the following:

                                                  1. Bone Marrow Flan - Szechuan beef, heirloom radish salad

                                                  Crunchy sweet radish, savory toothsome beef, and lovely silky flan. I thought the flan was going to be savory, but was surprised to discover that it was in fact sweet. I'm normally not a huge fan of sweetness in non-dessert courses, but because the flavors were well balanced, I enjoyed it. The flan was quite rich to me and I was immensely grateful for the radish and green components that kept the richness in check. I'm guessing the "Szechuan" in Szechuan beef refers to the dry-frying technique rather than flavor since the beef wasn't really hot and spicy, but simply savory.

                                                  2. Crescent Duck - dandelion greens, vanilla turnips, duck jus

                                                  I had been thinking about this dish ever since I saw the photos of the duck. What a beautiful duck this was! When the runner spooned the jus over the breast, he explained, "And this is duck jus. It tastes really delicious." :) Oh, everything smelled delicious too! The wonderful ducky aroma was so enticing that I hurriedly finished taking photos, impatient to dig in. The duck was on the rare side of medium-rare, but ohh-so-succulent and flavorful. When I saw the vanilla turnips in the dish description, I thought the vanilla referred to a variety of turnips. But it turned out that there really was a vanilla sauce in the dish (and maybe the turnips were poached / braised in vanilla as well?). Vanilla is not the usual flavor I expect to be paired with duck. However, the pairing worked. Amazingly well! The vanilla gave the duck depth and a new flavor dimension that made my taste buds extremely happy. Genius!

                                                  3. Plum Cobbler - granola crumbs and fresh bay leaf ice cream

                                                  This was quite curious. I've never had a plum cobbler before. However, I swear the version I had last night was in fact a peach cobbler. The fruit pieces were golden in color and came in larger peach-sized slivers. It tasted exactly like a peach cobbler too. Has anyone else had this dish before? Am I crazy? My confusion with the fruit's identity aside, this was warm, delicious, cinnamon-y, and totally satisfying. I thoroughly scrapped the ramekin clean with my spoon.

                                                  It's worth mentioning that the portions were very generous. Just look at the size of my duck! The breast was big enough to be cut into 11-12 half-inch pieces. Now that I've had dishes from the regular menu, I can say that everyone's right, you absolutely won't (and can't) leave the restaurant hungry.

                                                  The service was also excellent. The staff was incredibly friendly and attentive. A most delightful meal.

                                                  PS: I've included a photo of the dessert menu, since it's not available on Hotel Griffou's website.

                                                  -----
                                                  Hotel Griffou
                                                  21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                  15 Replies
                                                  1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                                    p
                                                    peter j Aug 20, 2011 06:04 AM

                                                    Thanks for the report. I can't wait to try the duck.

                                                    1. re: peter j
                                                      Cheeryvisage Aug 20, 2011 07:47 AM

                                                      Yes, definitely get the duck! It was awesome.

                                                    2. re: Cheeryvisage
                                                      r
                                                      RGR Aug 20, 2011 07:24 AM

                                                      Superb report as usual, Cheeryvisage. I've had all three dishes. Your description of each is spot on -- quite similar, in fact, to how I described them in the review I posted on my blog though I'm happy to admit that you did a much better job! :) And, of course, I totally agree that they are seriously delicious.

                                                      My Griffou photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157627086885648/

                                                      http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                      1. re: RGR
                                                        Cheeryvisage Aug 20, 2011 07:46 AM

                                                        What did you think of the Plum Cobbler, by the way? I noticed in your photo the fruit was plum colored. The version I had was definitely golden (like peach). Did yours taste anything like peach? Haha, I'm so puzzled.

                                                        I also agree with your preference about the duck. I also wished the skin was a tiny bit crisper. But it was still a phenomenal, wow-inspiring dish.

                                                        Thank you for your nice comments. :)

                                                        1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                                          r
                                                          RGR Aug 20, 2011 08:40 AM

                                                          No, no peach flavor. Not that you can see much of the fruit itself in either photo since it's pretty much covered by the topping, but I put the two photos up side-by-side (so to speak), and there is definitely a big difference. The liquid oozing from the fruit in mine is deep red. No liquid is visible in yours, but the dominant color is pale yellow. So, I would say there's a very good chance that yours was peach and not plum.

                                                          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                          1. re: RGR
                                                            Cheeryvisage Aug 20, 2011 08:48 AM

                                                            Thanks for confirming, RGR.

                                                            1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                                              c
                                                              chopjwu12 Aug 20, 2011 01:49 PM

                                                              Yet another play with your brain move by me, It is in fact not plum... sort of. Instead of using plums i use pluots because they are far more flavorful and interesting. But there are so many different kinds. The ones roz had were called flavor queens, and the ones last night were called golden dino eggs. I just say plum so people dont get scared by pluots.

                                                              Alas however last night and tonight will be the last days of the santos menu at griffou. The restaurant and its investors want to go in a different direction. One that i dont really fit into. So we have decided to part ways.

                                                              1. re: chopjwu12
                                                                Cheeryvisage Aug 20, 2011 02:01 PM

                                                                Oh no! That's such a shame, Dave. :(

                                                                Please keep us updated of where you'll be going to next. And best of luck.

                                                                1. re: chopjwu12
                                                                  Steve R Aug 20, 2011 03:54 PM

                                                                  It's a shame but cant say I'm surprised Dave. You'll find a place that'll let your kitchen do the talking without all that background noise. Keep us informed & see you soon.

                                                                  1. re: chopjwu12
                                                                    r
                                                                    RGR Aug 20, 2011 04:03 PM

                                                                    I'm truly sorry to hear that, Dave. I wish you the very best and look forward to eating your wonderful food again wherever you land next.

                                                                    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                                                    1. re: chopjwu12
                                                                      s
                                                                      Sneakeater Aug 20, 2011 04:18 PM

                                                                      I guess they have to change the name of this thread now.

                                                                      1. re: Sneakeater
                                                                        d
                                                                        Dave Feldman Aug 20, 2011 07:42 PM

                                                                        Alas, I wish I could change the headline to: "Bad Things Are Happening at Hotel Griffou." I have every confidence in David, and can't wait to see what he'll be up to in his next gig.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Hotel Griffou
                                                                        21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                                      2. re: chopjwu12
                                                                        p
                                                                        peter j Aug 20, 2011 04:38 PM

                                                                        Very sad news. I really enjoyed my dinners at Hotel Griffou during your tenure. Please keep us posted.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Hotel Griffou
                                                                        21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                                        1. re: chopjwu12
                                                                          m
                                                                          michelleats Aug 20, 2011 10:18 PM

                                                                          What a shame. I had my first meal at Hotel Griffou, tonight, and very much enjoyed your menu, Dave. I wish you the very best of luck going forward (and can't wait to eat your food somewhere else)!

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Hotel Griffou
                                                                          21 W 9th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                                          1. re: michelleats
                                                                            c
                                                                            chopjwu12 Aug 23, 2011 10:10 PM

                                                                            Thank you all and i will keep you posted

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