This spring season, celebrity chef, Jehangir Mehta opened the doors (and windows, literally) of his third dining venture, Graffiti Earth located in the Duane Street Hotel in Tribeca. Mehta, known for his 10-year-old East Village “nook” of a restaurant, Graffiti Food & Wine and private dining room, Me & You, welcomed us into the newly-renovated lobby at the boutique hotel for an “Aperitif Happy Hour”.
Upon entering the main glass doors of the hotel stands a petite bar off to the left with six weathered wood stools and a living-room-style cocktail lounge for both global business travelers and working professionals of Manhattan to “wine” down after a long work day – light coffeehouse music, cozy couches, and plentiful wall chargers surround the space for the convenience and comfortability of guests. Better than Starbucks, your beverage options are limited to an assortment of spirits – no coffee here.
Windows are open at Graffiti Earth. Fresh Lavender perfumes the room. pic.twitter.com/hmyJizQGZi
— Chef Jehangir Mehta (@jehangir_mehta) June 2, 2016
Adjacent to the lounge area is a Mehta’s Graffiti Earth. With similar metal tones and wood accents as the lounge, the intimate restaurant reflects a dignified farmhouse meets industrial loft apartment. There is a communal table for ten, a counter for four and three tables for couples – totaling twenty seats in the main dining room. Through a sliding door, there is a private dining room with space for nine. Sustainable table settings consist of glasses made of old wine bottles, repurposed cloth napkins folded on antique dinnerware atop dated newspapers which act as placemats. Succulents scattered on all tables. Original artwork is displayed on the walls, and for sale by artist – 90% of proceeds go towards women and children in India. The floor-to-ceiling windows open to the sidewalk for additional natural lighting and fresh air. And, to simply remind diners they are still in bustling Tribeca.
Staying over? The tiny desk outside the restaurant is for check-in and hotel concierge. The friendly gentleman behind a running laptop will happily assist you.
Zucchini hummus pizza (hey vegans!), graffiti burger (70% meat scraps; 30% plant products) and baked chocolate sauce served with banana ice cream (in a vintage teacup) were just a few items served. Graffiti Earth’s menu contains environmentally-friendly options with tastes and textures rooted in Mehta’s Indian and Persian heritage, plus different parts of Asia.
I hung at the lobby bar to sample four of the eight hand-crafted aperitif and digestif cocktails. Curated by top mixologist, Milos Zica of Employees Only, the pre-dinner and nightcap concoctions are made with specialty vermouths, liqueurs and house infusions. Diners can certainly enjoy a glass before, after or during a meal at Graffiti Earth. A menu of bar snacks, by Mehta, is available for drinkers to indulge, too. Although Zica’s libations and Mehta’s bites are served simultaneously, neither “masters” collaborated… Each have their own vision.
Graffiti Earth Cocktails
Olmeca Blanco Tequila stirred with Grapefruit Cordial and Lime Juice; Dash of Hellfire Bitter & Splash of Soda. Served over rocks with a lime wheel.
Extremely light and refreshing on a warm night – Similar to a Margarita as Lime Juice overpowers the Grapefruit Cordial. Lime wheel garnish over pink grapefruit slice? Interesting touch.
Personally, I would sip this beverage with my main entree, The Graffiti Burger.
Combination of Tanqueray Gin and (mild) Jalapeno Green Chartreuse; Hints of Agave Nectar and Lime Juice. Finally, topped with Ginger Beer. Strained over ice with a cucumber slice.
I will admit… Bartender, Darnell and I had a mini-debate over this cocktail. He thinks it is best enjoyed with a straw. I think the opposite – Sipping without a straw forces you to wrap your lips around the rim and stick your nose into the glass. From there, your senses react to the different aromas released from each ingredient and enhance the overall taste of the cocktail.
Boiron Strawberry Puree blended with sweet and spicy Campari and bubbly Prosecco. Champagne glass to sip from; Rosemary to sniff from.
Woody Don Pancho Origenes 8yr Rum, earthy Cocchi Di Torino Vermouth, orange-y Grand Marnier Cognac, nutty Laphroaig Scotch; Dash of Chocolate and Angostura Bitters. Served neat with an orange twist.
Traditional Nightcap with Rum, Vermouth, Cognac and Scotch. Like a Manhattan, don’t look at it as a “man’s drink” – Ladies can enjoy it, too.
Run from the city rush and come to Duane Street Hotel for sipping, snacking or staying.
Great For: Private Dining, Date Spot, Farm-to-Table, Authentic Eats, After-work Drinks
Graffiti Earth Details
Located at Duane Street Hotel190 Church Street
New York, NY 10013
Hours of Operations:
Tuesday – Thursday: 5:30pm – 11:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 5:30pm – 12:00am