food 06.30.03

Spring Street

You could argue that both the mood and the season are wrong just now to open a restaurant that specializes in truffles. It's hardly a truffle-and-caviar economy and summer truffles are generally the also-rans in the fungus world.

And yet the recently opened Spring Street, 325 Spring [Greenwich] 212.414.1344, which has snuck into town well under the radar, is shaping up to be quite a welcome addition to the restaurant scene. It already has the important points down: it's welcoming, casually elegant, well run, and the food, as far as we've gotten through the menu, has been a delight.

You could eat here and never taste a truffle. The bass en papillote with provençal herbs, for instance, is an ideal version: moist, perfectly cooked, enlivened by the herbs without being overwhelmed by them.

But don't do that; have some "black diamonds". The secret ingredient to Spring Street, it turns out, is Clement Bruno. Monsieur Bruno, whose restaurant Chez Bruno in Provence is a temple to the world's favorite fungus, provides the 10 truffle dishes on the menu. If you were dismissive of summer truffles, as we were, you will be pleasantly surprised at how aromatic these ones are.

The poached egg with black truffles and the risotto with the summer version, are two of the surefires. You also find Brumale truffle Camembert (the Brumale type is a bit less subtle, a little more bitter than the Melanosporum, which is the king of black truffles) and tournedos Rossini — when was the last time you saw that on a menu? — laced with the tubers.

Truffles don't come cheap but Spring Street is generous on portions and not unreasonable on tariffs. For non-truffle dishes, main courses average $25. That Camembert is $16, the risotto is $24, and the tournedos are $38.
New Restaurants:

Aigo, 1608 1st Ave. [83rd/84th] 212.327.4700. Mediterranean fare from the former chef of Mercer Kitchen.

Bauhaus, 196 Orchard [Houston/Stanton] 212.477.1550. Finger food in a stylish room.

Blue Goose Cafe, 101 2nd Ave. [5th/6th] 212.253.7848. From the owners of Jewel Bako, pizza, baked goods, and wine.

Cassis, 52 Stone [William/Pearl] 212.425.3663. French bistro for Wall Streeters.

Perbacco, 234 E. 4th [A/B] 212.253.2038. A modestly-priced Italian osteria that features a small-bite menu.

Shore, 41 Murray [Church/W. Bway] 212.962.3750, Tribeca oyster bar from the owners of Fresh.

Ulysses, 58 Stone [William/Pearl] 212.482.0400. From the owners of Bayard, roasts and a raw bar.

Westville, 210 W. 10th [Bleecker/W. 4th] 212.741.7971. Serious burgers, dogs, and po' boys.

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