Have you made reservations for Valentine’s Day yet? Consider this: Don’t.
Do yourselves a favor and play it by ear. Skip the tradition and the choose-three prix-fix and stake out a spot at Midtown Village’s latest addition, Tredici Enoteca, over the long weekend instead.
Tredici, managing partner Greg Dodge’s third location, opened in late 2015 and it’s curb appeal has drawn a steady stream of walk-in business. Which is a key, since they’re “first come first serve,” meaning they don’t take reservations. But between the menu’s well-executed offerings and the staff’s knowledgable and energetic spirit, you’ve got yourself a new kid on the block that’s sure to be admired.
Initially reported as a holding pattern type concept for the loyal masses awaiting a table at Zavino, Tredici debuted and immediately found it’s own place in the bustling marketplace of 13th Street, explained Jason Brooke, Director of Operations for Zavino Hospitality Group. Brooke has been with the organization for the past six years and through three openings and he is graciously enthralled with the opening of Zavino’s “snazzy” new sister.
And how could you not be? Aesthetics alone make you crave a night under those bottles and lamps, seated spaciously at the bar in a captain’s chair or tucked away in one of the modern booths.
They offer some of the most delicious olives I’d ever eaten, and truth be told the first ones I’d ever enjoyed. These bright green olives, marinated in capers, garlic, and rosemary set the stage for a lovely experience ahead.
As a wine bar, a certain level of pretentiousness is expected. But with the help of the staff and several low-price options, even fancy favorites from the cruvinet are at anyone’s disposal and are of particular focus at Tredici.
“The cruvinet wines have exceeded my expectations,” said Brooke. “All of these wines you would see in a restaurant maybe three, four, $500 a bottle and we’re doing it almost at cost. I just want the same feeling I had when I was 21 and I walked into Panorama and they had Petrus by the glass.”
While that Petrus he mentioned may cost you hundreds of dollars a glass, Tredici’s offerings in both a half and a full-pour begin at $5 and top out at $24. There are also a handful of beers ranging from $4 to $12, and a few choice cocktails available for $11.
The food menu, from executive chef Carlos Aparicio, is an approachable mix of fresh, light, veggie-heavy stylings, all priced under $20. It’s broken down into salads, crudos, small plates, veggies, pasta, and meat and fish; most with a Mediterranean influence.
Oh. And let’s certainly not forget about the raw bar.
“Stone crab claws you really don’t see too much in the city,” said Brooke. “That was the one thing we really stood true to. We found them and they’re gonna stay on the menu.”
There’s also shrimp cocktail and a daily oyster selection shucked to order.
Your friend is a vegetarian? No worries. There’s about a dozen choices they’ll love. Like the Greek salad, the cumin carrots, the roasted cauliflower or the mushroom toast. The Israeli couscous is a refreshing mix of perfectly round pasta, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and a gooey burrata cheese. It’s dotted with pesto and crunchy almonds and finished with a squeeze of lime juice.
You or your beau a carnivore? The Moroccan spice ribs are fall off the bone tender. Not in the mood for a mess? I ate mine with a fork. Happily.
“Lollypop lamb chops with the Montepulciano, Caymus or the Barolo might be the best thing in the world,” said Brooke.
The Mediterranean tasting board is as impressive as it is delicious. The custom made wooden boards hold hefty portions of hummus, roasted veggies, warm falafel, and cold quinoa salad. And aside from the toasty bread points, this one’s gluten free too.
As for the pastas, all but the reginetti are made in house. That one comes from a small pasta shop in Brooklyn. Served with braised lamb and ricotta, this plate is easy to love, even coming from a gravy-eating Italian gal like myself. There’s nothing cheap about this sauce, nothing acidic, and it covers each ribbony bite of pasta perfectly.
The use of ricotta in the reginetti and burrata in the couscous were both very nice touches and only elevated two easily muddled dishes.
It’s kind of their way at Tredici, to be sophisticated and delicate, yet totally substantial at the same time.
But no place is complete without a dessert everyone can enjoy. And lucky for the celiac sufferers among us, Tredici has us all covered with an impressive tiramisu. The gluten-free cake is sourced from Brûlée bakery in West Philly and it’s dipped in La Colombe coffee.
“Its just been a huge hit,” said Brooke.
But don’t take our word for it. Go ahead and try it yourself. You won’t be disappointed. Unless they’re out. In which case, I’d be pretty disappointed.