Houseman at TriBeCa is the kind of neighborhood restaurant I wish I could see more often. Led by Ned Baldwin, who worked at Gabrielle Hamilton’s Prune restaurant known for its no-nonsense, soulful food, the restaurant carries the same philosophy of not-too-fancy yet well-executed New American dishes. I visited the restaurant last fall and had a lot to like about this unassuming place that serves really solid food. One of my acquaintances had been eager to check out this place for a while, and I figured a revisit was in order after more than six months had passed since my last visit. The second visit was also quite a delightful affair.
The daily changing menu at Houseman is rather concise and just by the description, it won’t wow you instantly with any fancy ingredients or techniques, but I can tell that the kitchen has put a lot of thoughts to the dishes. It’s really hard to find a bad dish at this restaurant. Spicy shrimp with peas, herbs and radishes had the mild spicy flavor that worked quite well with the vegetables around it for a nice appetizer, and the spread of roasted sweet garlic (and some anchovies on top) all over the grilled bread somehow worked better than I had thought the moment I saw the dish. The roasted half chicken, which I had tried on my first visit and has quickly become a signature dish of the restaurant (thanks in part to a rave review from NY Times), was just as good as I had remembered, with moist and juicy meat that worked nicely with dandelion greens and anchovies for a very satisfying meal.
The big revelation was the burger. Nowadays, every restaurant in New York City seems to have a burger as a crowd-pleaser, but that doesn’t mean the burger is done right even though it’s hard to screw up. The one at Houseman had that awesome texture of beef with surprisingly nice balance of flavor without too much seasoning. It is really the seasoning that distinguishes a good burger from a great burger. While I’m not ready to call Houseman’s burger the best in the city, it was definitely one of the better ones I’ve had recently. Among the dessert options, we weren’t really sold on any of them on the menu, and decided to go with the off-menu dish of sour cream ice cream with candied almonds and strawberry. Turned out to be a great call as we thoroughly enjoyed the delightfully sweet dish.
I absolutely love the minimalistic décor of the restaurant that is inviting yet trendy at the same time, perfect for TriBeCa neighborhood. The restaurant has a full bar, with some nice wine and cocktail selections. Getting the reservation wasn’t particularly difficult but the dining area is not as large as you think, so booking in advance is always recommended. For a casual dinner of thoughtful food that is not over the top and where you can have a nice conversation with your friends and family, Houseman is definitely a worthwhile place to pay a visit.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.5/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
Address: 508 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013
Telephone: (212) 641-0654