I found this comment about my restaurant on yelp.com.Thank you Lise C. whoever you are. You really got what we are about hope you always have that kind of experience here.
I grew up in New York, and I’ve lived here for a lot of my would-be adult life. This means that Manhattan feels pretty familiar to me, even if once in a very long while I end up on some tiny street and think, hmm, I have never been here. Estancia 460, as it turns out, is on one of those streets.
Almost four years ago, I had a brief and unpleasant friendship with someone who turned out to be moderately insane. The details of this are not nearly salacious enough to be pertinent, plus you never know who’s reading your reviews. But in any case, we went one Friday night to Estancia, which maybe at the time was called Sosa Borella; I have no idea. All I know is that I’d been hoping for a quick dinner at a standby, cheap restaurant in a convenient neighborhood, rather than a long fancy dinner in just about as close as you can get to the middle of nowhere in Manhattan. I was a student at the time, i.e. broke, which I had made clear, but still we ended up here. Oh I am telling the sordid story, which I don’t want to do. All I want is to say that despite my near-misery about the whole situation, I had one of my favorite meals ever at this place. Remember, it was about four years ago, so I don’t really recall what I had, except for a delicious beet salad. I know that my companion, once he was already drunk, ordered port after dinner, which was so unacceptable that it entered the realm of “well at least I can tell the story later.” Port? We were 23. Who orders port at 23?
Okay. We’ll move on. The point is, I loved this place. The food was just fantastic, and I remembered the decor as very pleasant (all white wood and very calm and not too dimly lit–I’m not a huge fan of candledark). But I didn’t know the name of the restaurant, nor did I know exactly where we’d been even though I knew it was Tribeca somewhere, and of course after the unfortunate interaction exploded away, I couldn’t very well call up my no-longer-new-friend/enemy to ask what that delightful restaurant was, yeah I mean the one where we had a fight even though we barely knew each other. Yup, the one where you knocked the near-empty botle of port (oh I didn’t mention that he ordered a whole bottle of it?) onto the floor in some aggressive gesticulation. Maybe I built it up in my head b/c I couldn’t ever go there, but basically I have been looking for this restaurant for years. I would talk about it sometimes, oh, this Argentine restaurant where I had one of the best meals ever, oh, remember that crazy guy I had to have dinner with that time?
Fast forward to about a month ago, when I was walking through Tribeca one very pleasant Saturday afternoon on my way to buy a bike with a friend. There we were, walking innocently up Greenwich St., when I happened to glance into a restaurant and realize that this was the place! The white, the clean checked floors, there it was! I picked up a business card and returned a few nights later.
The restaurant is still awesome. The waiter was just about the nicest guy ever–he spilled a small bit of -water- on my sleeve or something, and as compensation gave us free dessert; if such a principle of palliative measures were extrapolated to all wrongdoings in the world, imagine how rich florists would be–and we got a nice table by the window, and the entire experience was completely fulfilling. I kept expecting to be disappointed after the four-year buildup, to the point where I even said at the end, well, I guess it’s not as great as I remembered it. But that was a lie!
It was as great. I had a calamari salad to start–I’ve been really into non-deep-fried calamari lately. This was kind of grilled, and there was lots of it, with lots of lettuce and a good lemony dressing. My dinner companion ordered the special butternut squash soup, which I thought was a questionable decision since that dish can’t really be amazing; whether you buy the pourable box kind at the grocery store or order it at Le Cirque, the taste is not going to differ that widely. For entrees we had hamburger and steak. Both were very delicious, but my hamburger was out of this world. I like hamburgers to be barely cooked, which is hard to get in the States, and usually involves my pesky interrogations of “can you cook it so it’s raw inside?” “really, like you can do it super super rare?” which, even if they’re answered in the affirmative, usually ends up with my receiving a “rare” burger. But this burger was perfectly (un)cooked, and had mozzerella cheese and caramelized onions on it, all in some brioche-ish fancy bun. I have probably not gone more than two or three days since without thinking about it, which is partly b/c it suddenly seems that I have lots of vegetarian friends, and I’ve been doing a bunch of yoga lately, so often I wonder, shouldn’t I stop eating meat? and then I think, oh, but that burger.