Travertine looks like the sort of place that cares more about its DJ than its chef. The female servers have been made to dress like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Unch-unch-unch booms the music. “May I say a few words about the menu,” says the waiter, without really asking, and proceeds to up-sell with a passion. When the food arrives, he will say, “Madam will be enjoying the lamb.” Oh, will madam?
Maybe it was the result of low expectations, but it turned out that the chef, Manuel Trevino, formerly of Babbo and Top Chef, is turning out some pretty good food. The Italian-New American dishes are not particularly inventive or memorable, but they’re solid. Pastas, made in-house, are delicious
Pig’s head terrine ($13) should offer a more generous portion of the terrine itself, but is rich and porcine, brightened with pickled onion and carrot.
Roasted bone marrow ($16) is as it should be, especially good squished onto toasts smeared with sweet, tar-like black garlic. But the kumquat-duck marmalade that comes alongside is overkill.
The beef carpaccio ($14) with beets and gorgonzola looks pretty but needs salt to taste like anything at all.
Click through to see the mains…
Lamb chops ($29) are well-seasoned and juicy, provoking a good gnaw on the bones. But spaghetti squash is never a very exciting vegetable.
Crisp-skinned skate ($26) tastes of browned butter, and pairs nicely with the creamy parsnips. Too bad there aren’t more sustainable fish choices on the menu.
These “little ears” have that fresh chew that makes homemade pasta so tasty. It’s topped with grapefruit and fried shallots, good textural choices.
This rum-soaked pastry ($9) filled with caramelized pineapple is absolutely delicious. Lime granita is on the side.
19 Kenmare Street