Total Bill: $127.39 for two
One of my favorite movies as a kid was Clue, and this restaurant is just like that game in real life — a dim descent into a cozy yet mysterious bar, eerily-lit with flickering candles and gothic light fixtures, low ceilings, eclectic wall decor, and best of all, seating set up in a variety of rooms, piquing the curiosity of all its diners as the hostess makes turn after turn to lead you to your table.
In our room, colorful Picasso-esque paintings scaled the walls alongside graphic skateboard decks. Gazing at all the antiques and displays may distract you from the menu for a while, but once we get a load of our dining possibilities, it took us quite a while to decide.
We decided on the Washington State raw oysters (naturally!) and the avocado and salmon tartare. Let me tell you, the latter is the best salmon I’ve had in a long time. Drizzle a bit of lemon and dip it in the side of ponzu sauce, the luscious chunks of lightly-marinated salmon seriously melts in your mouth.
My main entree was the grilled shrimp risotto, which was nicely portioned and not overly buttery. The shrimp is nice and juicy too and worked just right with the creamy rice. Jay’s dish, in contrast, was very hardy in flavor. The pork chops were drenched in an Asian-inspired dressing packed with peas and shittake mushroom slices.
Again, the portions aren’t huge, but enough to make you walk away wanting more, or with room left in your stomach for dessert.
And that’s exactly what we did — a chilled banana creme pie to share. A came out like mini pie-tin, with a pillowy mound of fluffy cream drizzled in caramel sauce. The waiter recommended we dig in deep to capture a the thick buttery crust at the bottom in each bite. A hint of peanut butter was the perfect aftertaste.
Beyond its unique decor, Hotel Griffou is a smart, quality addition to the West Village culinary scene. While I hope it won’t get swept up in mainstream city culture, it’s a place we should all experience.