Mon-Thu, 5pm-2am; Fri-Sat, 5pm-3am
C, E at Spring St.; 1 at Canal St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
This venue is closed.
Another auteur chef has set up shop in Soho, although whether Sam Mason’s establishment, Tailor, is a high-toned bar, an esoteric dessert joint, or a full-fledged restaurant is an open question. Mason, who made his reputation as the resident dessert genius at Wylie Dufresne’s WD-50, is the latest cutting-edge pastry chef (Will Goldfarb of the deceased Room 4 Dessert and Pichet Ong at P*Ong are among the others) to strike out on his own in the big city. But the concept Mason has chosen appears to be a jumble of confusions. There’s a murky, cavelike lounge area downstairs, where rock ballads play mournfully over the stereo. When you sit down upstairs for a meal, you’re given a choice among six “salty” dishes and seven “sweet” ones. There are eleven entertaining and imaginatively crafted specialty cocktails available also, although at the end of the evening it’s not clear whether any combination of these carefully composed, beguilingly articulated options adds up to a real meal.
The answer, in the end, is that they do not, and that Tailor, when it works at all, works best as a high-toned bar. My favorite of the drinks was the Bazooka (made with vodka and what the menu describes as a “bubble-gum cordial”), and my wife considered something called a Crumble (brown-butter rum and cloves) to be an ethereal, wintertime form of ambrosia. Our dinner had less of an impact, however. I can’t remember in what actual order we enjoyed the shreds of chorizo-cured kampachi (weirdly good), or the miso-butterscotch-flavored pork belly (very good), or the fluffy mounds of peekytoe crab served on clouds of basil and pine-nut purée (good). Ditto the caramel-panna-cotta dessert spread with crunchy grains of coffee, the deconstructed Manchego cheesecake, and the mélange of soft chocolate enlivened with squiggles of mole and sesame ice cream. I do remember, however, that there was never enough food on my plate.Bar
The liveliest place in the restaurant is the low-ceilinged cocktail lounge, located just steps below the ground-floor dining room, where the city’s most avant garde mixologist, Eben Freeman (also formerly of WD-50), shows off his latest creations. Waitresses in elegantly, er, tailored hot pants start elegant foodies off with popcorn dusted in curry powder. This same playfulness is also evident in liquid form; shots of bourbon infused with smoked Coke syrup, cedar, or tobacco (for those who’ve ever wanted to taste a cigar box) are as minimal and woody as the lounge’s decor. Freeman ups the ante on an already exotic pisco sour, faithfully made with raw egg, by infusing it with the bracing taste of Yerba Matte tea. The bar menu is limited, so those who want to combine eating and drinking should try a flight of “solids”— essentially Jello shots, the most inventive of which mimmicks a Rice Krispie Treat via dehydrated Kahlua with cereal soaked in vodka, sugar and half-and-half.Ideal Meal
Peekytoe crab, pork belly, chocolate, lots of drinks.