Oxbow Tavern Is Heavy Lifting…

I had high hopes.

For your consideration…a well known, successful chef with a proven track record re-establishing himself in the ‘hood.

Bummer, dude.

Even if you look and taste good, you gotta have soul.

The quality at the recently opened Oxbow Tavern on the upper west side is similar to one of the uws mainstays, Cafe Luxembourg, a neighborhood favorite oozing warmth and charm along with impeccable service.

Unfortunately, Oxbow, the new casual dining restaurant, fell flat.

Oxbow Tavern, from Chef Tom Valenti, is as exciting as a Match.com date.

No personality…boring.

It just so happened that we arrived for our reservation at the same time that Chef Valenti was at the front of the house.

No greeting from him or his staff.

Valenti closed his outstanding flagship French restaurant Ouest back in 2015 after 14 years in business.

He was Chef/Owner at ‘Cesca and the shuttered restaurant, The West Branch.

Valenti was also the Executive Chef at Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, Butterfield 81 and a shareholder in Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

Oxbow Tavern

Back to reception.

This may be bitchy, but a hostess should wear a dress that fits and her appearance should not resemble an extra at the taping of a Jenny from the Block video.

That much booty showcased in a too short, too tight mini dress is not appetizing.

As we were led to our tiny table, I noticed that the interior had not been altered from the former decor at Tallulah.

We frequented the bar at Tallulah during the sparkling Happy Hour with reasonably priced drinks and excellent $1 oysters and a delicious bar menu grilled salmon with a tasty watermelon salad.

Our server was polite, but completely devoid of personality…it would have been more exciting to have a drone deliver the poorly timed dishes to the table.

We sampled a few wines, but they were uninspired so I ordered a martini which arrived brimming with stinky green olives which actually tainted the martini ($14).

David’s Manhattan was heavy on the bitters ($15).

The wait in between courses was interminable like witnessing Kelly Anne Conway rattle on FOX TV.

It is a shame because most of the American fare with french influences was delicious.

Endive Salad

Our first course was a lovely Endive Salad with Roquefort, Pistachios and Crispy Bacon ($15).

Salmon Gravlax

This was followed by Chef Valenti’s signature dish, Salmon Gravlax with Chickpea Pancake, Caviar and Creme Fraiche. It is not a sharing portion, but it was delectable ($18).

Seared Yellowfin Tuna

The main course was disappointing. I prepare a tastier seared Yellowfin Tuna ($31). It was garnished with Chickpea Puree, Black Olive Relish and a Red Pepper Coulis which I am allergic to.

When I reminded the server he froze.

Chickpea Fries

I did not want him to drop on my watch so I told him to forget it and I ate the side of Chickpea Fries which were very good, but not my idea of a main course unless I am hormonal ($9).

For the prices they charge at upscale restaurants these days, patrons deserve more than just good food.

We are owed the entire package.

For the price of the meal I can purchase a lovely cashmere sweater which lasts a lot longer and provides more joy than the tasty, but entirely soulless meal…this did not negate or reflect poorly on my desirable dinner partner.

We immediately split after the main and walked home disappointed that yet another upper west side restaurant was a major downer.

Oxbow Tavern 240 Columbus Avenue and 71st Street. Open for Dinner Monday-Saturday starting at 5pm. Lunch Tuesday-Friday 11:30am-2pm. Brunch on Saturday and Sunday 11am-2pm. Reservations on OpenTable.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *