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February 27, 2015- By Steven E. Greer, MD
I hope that every person in the restaurant business reads this because it exemplifies why hospitality (true hospitality, not the insincere type created by software on Open Table), can lead to good things.
So, I forced myself to go to the newly opened Belle Reve on Church Street, next to Macao Trading Company, in the place that used to be Los Americanos. It seemed worthy of a review because the owners have a good pedigree. Chef Paul Gerard came from the SoHo Grand Hotel and then the SoHo House. Billy Gilroy helped start Employees Only, the world renowned cocktail bar in the Village. The other partner is Patrick Fahey who ran Los Americanos in the same space before Belle reve opened, and also co-owns Macao Trading Company next door.
I called ahead to make sure that I would not run into a velvet rope doorman situation and Uber’d over. When I arrived at 10:00, the tiny place no bigger than my apartment was packed, but the hostesses and managers tried their best to find me a place to squeeze in. Paul Gerard and Billy Gilroy were quite nice, extending their hands for genuine handshakes and welcomes.
However, the situation was absurd because I was literally rubbing against other people, so I left. I went to Terra for a small meal expecting to go home. I was thoroughly unimpressed with the dive called Belle Reve, but a little voice was telling me to go back and give them a second chance. The owners had a good vibe and seemed nice (In stark contrast to the managers at Church Street Tavern, Macao, Tiny’s Warren 77, Smith & Mills, Bubby’s, etc.). It was their hospitality that made me give them another look.
So, I went back at approximately 11:00 PM and realized why the place was attracting A-list celebrities in its first week of being open. The founders are music industry insiders. I was greeted this time to a burlesque dancer in the window (ala Sunday nights at Employees Only) and an attractive crowd of guests. It reminded me of a 1970’s CBGB cleaned up for TriBeCans.
The light was low and I did not want to creep people out with a flash, so most of my photos were unusable, but you get the idea.
If you want to meet interesting artistic people and pretty girls, Belle Reve is for you. I was invited to a poetry reading at Erv’s in Brooklyn on March 8th and a fashion model party tomorrow, for examples.
Sit down for this. Are you sitting? I actually found a place in TriBeCa that is not lame after 9:00 PM.