There are two things that have been true about Tailor since it opened: Sam Mason and Fran Derby’s food is often brilliant, and the city hasn’t really warmed up to it yet. But the restaurant’s menu has evolved, first with bigger portions in December, and it is organized into course “one,” “two,” and “three.” More importantly, both the kitchen and Eben Freeman’s bar downstairs have added some characteristically inventive new items.
On the food side, Mason has added mole churros with caramelized cream, a symphony of sweet and savory and deep-fried goodness, along with several Japanese-influenced fish dishes, including escabeche of Spanish mackerel with lychee tapenade and daikon, and a fluke with “pine needle ponzu” and pineapple. (We haven’t tried either, but both look spectacular). A veal torchon with parmesan crumble and marrow “beads” is the meatiest thing served at Tailor since the pork belly showed up on the opening menu.
Eben Freeman’s beautiful beet sangria.Photo: Melissa Hom
Below at the bar, Freeman has produced seven new alcoholic brainstorms, including a beet sangria that tastes, and looks, like the best grape juice you’ve never had; a “mushroom margarita” with huitalacoche mescal, triple sec, lime juice, and lava salt; and a walnut cognac to go along with the cedar bourbon on his short but potent shelf of infused liquors. Whether these changes are enough to warm the hearts and bellies of New Yorkers remains to be seen. But the food at Tailor is becoming more mature, more substantial — a wise turn away from Mason’s more whimsical opening menu.