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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American West Village Moderate Good

ks as though it was brought in from a Hilton Hotel conference room. It’s a stark and unsightly contrast to the craftsman leather banquettes, walnut tabletops, and deco lighting that give the main dining room such a sense of timelessness. And if he was going to add that somewhat unfortunate ceiling, at least he could have outfitted it with acoustic tile. Commerce is a noise chamber; I think dining on a tarmac at JFK might be more soothing. I hate to penalize Zazula for this issue of acoustics because so many other very respectable restaurateurs are also ignoring the need for audio care (A Voce, Bar Blanc, The Smith, Market Table) but it’s particularly acute at Commerce. I don’t enjoy shouting so much during dinner that I feel winded and out of breath. Please help.

Acoustics aside, there are virtues to Commerce, which begin with the breadbasket, which I’ve already written about on The Strong Buzz (see There Will Be Bread). This is a masterpiece of wheat and yeast, one of the most impressive and incredible bread montages in the tri-state area. Moore serves fresh and hot homemade pretzels, brioche, olive, sesame and wheat rolls, and he will continue to replenish your stash as necessary during the evening. I’ve been to Commerce several times now, with Craig at the bar before a play at the Cherry Lane, with my graphic designer, Andrew, for dinner to celebrate the relaunch of the Strong Buzz, and with Kiri and Debbie on a stormy winter night last week, and every time I’ve been someone at the table next to us has requested a bread refill. The stuff is truly spectacular. I don’t want to say you should just go to Commerce for the bread, but if that’s all I ate every time I visited I’d be pleased.

Beyond the bread, Commerce is a restaurant that’s trying hard to get it right. Moore’s turning out an American menu that for the most part delivers, but there’s a tendency for food that feels a little too precious for the restaurant. Now, Moore’s a serious talent, a chef who’s studied under Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, so I understand his inclination for fuss, but sometimes it feels forced and out of place. For instance, oysters and potatoes are poached in champagne and topped with a foamy froth of cream ($19). This didn’t really work for me. The result is oysters that are sort of soggy and salty. Their sharp beautiful briny flavors have gone missing ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in West Village :
+ Jefferson-- Closed   + La Palapa Rockola   + Sumile   + Babbo   + Tasca   + AOC Bedford   + Home   + The Spotted Pig   + Barbuto   + Numero 26   + Mas   + August   + Alta   + Cru   + Blue Mill Tavern-- Closed   + Employees Only   + Lassi   + Metropol--Closed   + Turks and Frogs   + Bellavitae   + Yumcha-- CLOSED   + Gusto: SEE EARLIER REVIEW; THIS CHEF HAS LEFT GUSTO   + Perry Street   + Home   + Ditch Plains   + The Little Owl   + Cafe Condesa   + Cafe Cluny   + Gusto   + The Waverly Inn   + Morandi   + P*ONG   + Perilla   + Soto   + Market Table   + Centro Vinoteca   + Barfry   + Dell'Anima   + Bar Blanc   + Smith's   + Commerce   + Elettaria   + Bar Q   + Cabrito   + 10 Downing   + Minetta Tavern   + Braeburn   + Scuderia, by guest reviewer Kathleen Squires   + Bar Blanc Bistro by Guest Reviewer Kathleen Squires   + Joseph Leonard   + Bar Henry, by Guest Reviewer Kathleen Squires   + Kin Shop   + Monument Lane   + Wong   + Bin on Bleecker, by Dara Pollak   + Ristorante Rafele   + Cole's Greenwich Village by Guest Reviewer Claire Jaffe   

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