I discovered Travertine thanks to an Earth Hour email last week. They were the only restaurant agreed to turn off all the non-essential lights in the restaurant and instead illuminate the room with candles. I had no idea about this gem of a place until I read about it in the email I received and quickly made a reservation for dinner on Saturday night.
We easily found the restaurant on Kenmare street, right off Bowery. You can't see much from the outside but once you enter you can see that they did a great job of designing the interior for a small dining room even with a bar area. Dining room is divided in to three areas; there is an upper level in the back where you need to take few steps up to your table, then there is the bar with its own double counter and finally the small dining area by the window, in front of the restaurant.
Once we got there we checked our coats and seated right away at the dining area in the back which I think is the best tables are located. We had a clear view of the bar area and partial view of the kitchen through a small window where you can see Chef Manuel Trevino (from the Top Chef fame also from his previous postings at Le Cirque 2000 and Babbo) at the helm making sure all is under control.
Our server Doni was great; he was helpful with the menu and drink selections and he was there when we needed him, rest of the time we were left at our leisure without having to rush through our courses. After Doni explaining about how various dishes were put together at what portions we decided on the Roasted Bone Marrow at $16 which I recommend anyone who enjoys their marrow. Obviously it's not for everyone but if you have been waiting for a great one this is the place to try it out. It comes with horseradish gremolata, kumquat & duck marmalade and black garlic crostini. Next we ordered the Calamari Ala Plancha with roasted peppers, chickpeas, preserved lemon citronette at $13. We don't normally order a mid-course dish specially when the appetizers were so generous but their pasta special sounded out of this world. I was hoping to try out the Gnochhi ( I always compare them to the one I eat at the Hearth) but I had to save that for next time because we ordered the daily special Risotto with braised spring lamb and asparagus. By the way before you start your meal we got a mushroom soup shooter and it was so good that I could have easily ordered a cup if it was in the menu.
For main courses we decided on the Pomegranate Glazed Lamb Chops at $29 and the Long Island Duck at $28. Clearly the prices are higher than you expect in this neighborhood but if you appreciate great food with excellent service then it's not that much at all. I ate at most of the big name restaurants in NYC and some of them I paid over $40 for a dish and truthfully they were served with an attitude like they do a favor serving you the food and most didn't taste as good as we had at the Travertine. There are also very tasty side dishes like marinated beets, roasted mushrooms, crispy potato shells, etc. but we already ordered more than we had room for. Doni mentioned that most diners share a appetizer and a pasta dish then they order their own individual mains which we will do at our next visit.
They offer a nice selection of carefully selected wine from various regions of the world as well as well-made signature cocktails. I started with the Seven Seconds to Sunrise which was made with organic cucumber vodka, cucumber, mint, basil. If you order a glass of wine, it is served in a mini decanter which I did for an OR Erath Pinot Noir at $22.
When there is a separate dessert menu it's definitely worth a look. Besides the usual after dinner beverages they had a selection of seven options like Cheese Plate, Gelato, Sorbet, Mocha Pana Cotta, Cookie Plate, Chocolate Tart and Baba Au Rhum. We went with the Baba au Rhum with roasted pineapple, coconut ginger anglaise, lime sorbetto at $9 and the Gelato selection of amaretto chocolate, malt, chocolate.
Overall it was a fantastic experience and of course dining with nothing but candle light certainly set the mood for the night but no matter we will surely visit Travertine soon enough to enjoy Chef Manuel Trevino's wonderful creations once again. I only hope the lighting and music won't take it away from the initial experience.
Travertine Restaurant Bar
19 Kenmare Street
(between Bowery & Delancey Street)
New York, NY 10012