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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Inwood Goes Yuppie (With Tryon Public House's White Truffle Burger)

Tryon Public House's long-awaited food menu debuted this week
(no more B.Y.O.F.)

INWOOD'S recent transplants (I'm referring to the Darling Coffee, The Park View and the Starbucks set) must have heard the choir of angels and witnessed a parting of clouds when Tryon  Public House opened its doors just three weeks ago. While in recent years, additions such as Beans and Vines, Inwood Local and The Park View have given Inwoodites a bit more diversity when it comes to their dining options, it seemed that many were still waiting for an establishment that would get things one-hundred percent right. There are places that get the decor and atmosphere spot-on, but their menu needs tweaking; and others that serve Upper Manhattan's finest cuppa joe, yet serve lackluster dishes in a cramped, ill-looking front room; and there's also the neighborhood's most recent openings, which--more often than not--eventually fall victim by morphing into the ill-fated hookah lounge, ultimately killing the business. With the murmur of a brand-new pub opening, opposite Fort Tryon Park, serving craft beers and pub food to boot, it seemed all signs were pointing to a probable success.

Tryon Public House serves a medium-rare down pat

A week after Tryon Public House opened its doors to the public, David and I strolled west on Thayer Street to have ourselves a look-see (and a libation). Quickly scanning the room, David selected a high-top table for two at the far end of the pub, opposite the bar. Noticing only beers on the beverage list, I readily decided on a Bulleit rye; I was glad to see they'd carried it. The completely brand-new pub (previously the place of several separate storefronts) was the nicest-looking pub I'd ever seen; and several reproduced, vintage Inwood prints circa the 1940's and 50's lent a bit of "street cred" to the place, as well as a nod to the 'hood. With the sound system churning out something likened to The Smiths, I'd heard the remark that it was the whitest music they could have possibly been playing (and looking around the room, the patrons mimicked that notion). But before I could take a third sip of my brown beverage, I'd noticed that each song on Tryon Public House's playlist was as different from its predecessor as it could have been (which seemed to me a very deliberate--and wise--move on their part).

THIS AFTERNOON, I visited "TPH" a second time, to try their truffle burger. Served with "white truffle mayo," gruyère cheese and caramelized onions "on a plain ol' brioche bun," it's the most expensive dish on the menu ($14); but it does come with "hand cut" fries or a side salad. Saddling up at the bar, just past the 3 p.m. opening, I was quickly greeted with a hearty smile by one of two who were tending behind the bar. When my truffle burger arrived, I was a bit surprised (and saddened) that it didn't come on a plate, but rather inside a tin basket of sorts (but then I reminded myself that I'm a snob and I quickly got over it). I was glad though that the bartender supplied me with a knife and a fork, for this burger was so massive and piled high that I don't think I could have eaten it by hand without the use of several napkins! I decided to start with a few of the hand cut fries, which did not offend me at all, before slicing the burger in half and taking a peek at its inside. I was impressed: my medium-rare-ordered burger was served medium-rare. Slicing my first portion, I'd tried my best to get all the elements of the burger atop a single forkful, but that proved to be difficult as it seemed someone in the kitchen had assembled my burger in a rush. Yet, with my first bite I was perfectly pleased with what I'd tasted therein.

A lovely char-grilled taste lent itself to the patty while the brioche bun seemed completely suited for the variety. As for the "white truffle mayo," I detected no truffle taste or aroma anywhere on or around the burger; and it seemed that all the caramelized onions had been portioned to only the bottom left corner of the burger (the center seems a natural placement to me). By the meal's end, I'd say the biggest offense was that the brioche didn't seem all that fresh (but maybe I'm just too used to the stellar brioche at The Park View, just across Broadway). $15.24 (plus a $3 tip) later, I was beyond sated; but TPH wouldn't let me leave without a proper farewell and an invite back. 

If Tryon Public House's food doesn't keep you coming back... their hospitality will.

Tryon Public House, 4740 Broadway, Inwood (646) 918-7129
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