Floyd Cardoz is one of the few people who can make me eat a beet.
Normally, I've got no interest in beets' "earthiness" (which is, let's admit it, sort of a BS description; when was the last time you took a bite of earth?).
But when Cardoz was the head chef at Danny Meyer's North End Grill, I once had a tour of the restaurant's rooftop garden. Cardoz pulled some beets right out of the ground, then roasted them so simply that, for once, they actually tasted like candy.
The design aesthetic of White Street, Cardoz's new Tribeca restaurant, embraces André Leon Talley's mantra of "luxury or nothing": black and gold accents, chandeliers dripping with crystals, a swank bar up front. It feels more Midtown hotel than Downtown restaurant, with a well-heeled crowd mostly talking in hushed tones.
Chef Floyd Cardoz and his squid ink bucatini with lobster
The menu takes its inspirations from all over—wasabi! grits! aged balsamic!—so "global" may be the best way to describe the food.
"I just love flavor," Cardoz explains when we talk later. "So I take broad strokes from different cuisines—and I don't start with preconceived notions for any dish."
It's an eclectic approach that works: Nicely tart house-made apple cider is poured tableside over hamachi tartare flecked with bits of hearts of palm ($17); squid-ink bucatini ($19) topped with gorgeous, tender lobster claws still fully intact, is sauced with an intense lobster broth, then finished with coriander, chiles and coconut milk instead of cream.
Lamb saddle | Bartenders at the ready | A chandelier in the ornate dining room
Nothing is a mishmash; the entrées rely on more familiar combinations. Lamb loin wrapped in pieces of its own fat ($38) and cooked on the plancha was given a familiar Mediterranean spin, served in a tomato broth with eggplant and white beans. The drizzle of mint oil at the end? Delightful—and classic.
The concorde grape cremeux ($12), with three perfect domes of creamy grape mousse and a quenelle of sweet-savory honey-lemon thyme sorbet, is a beautiful way to end the night.
Cardoz has a knack for elegant touches. With its over-the-top grandeur, White Street may not be your address for a weeknight dinner—but it sure is a nice place to visit for a big night out.
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