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Eulalie upturns her violet eye on Tribeca
RESTAURANTS • First Person
“You’re due at X in 30 minutes.” For most restaurants these days, an automated text from a reservation app is the first point of communication with your hosts. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Last month, I stumbled upon the charming (daresay, retro) restaurant blog from the proprietors of Tribeca’s forthcoming Eulalie. I searched the website for a reservations link. Nothing. Just a phone number, at the bottom of the page. I called it, and voicemail picked up: “You’ve found us,” it began. I left a message.
A couple of hours later, my phone rang. “Apologies for the noise in the background,” I said, “that’s my two-year-old daughter in the tub.” “Apologies for the noise in my background,” the woman on the other end of the line replied without missing a beat. “That’s my husband in the kitchen!” After a little more back-and-forth, our table at Eulalie was booked for the following week. I had just been charmed, for the first time, by Tina Vaughn.
Vaughn, with husband Chip Smith, ran Upper East Side restaurant The Simone for nearly a decade, until they lost the lease last year. Now, they’re opening in the old Bâtard space on West Broadway next door to Frenchette, continuing the style of extremely personal service that won them ardent fans uptown. She’s the front of the house, he’s the back, filtering French cooking through his own lens. The entire experience is something deeply personal, down to the handwritten menus and repeated visits by Tina to our properly white-tablecloth-clad table to check on our progress throughout the four-course dinner.
Across the dining room, we spotted old friends who live on the Upper East Side, and followed Tina and Chip south to their new home, as many regulars from The Simone surely will. (On this night, we were, as Tina told us upon arrival, “our new people.”) The meal stretched three hours; we savored all of it, especially a “middle treat” of fish quenelle with caviar, materializing between appetizers and mains.
On our way out the door just before 10p, a hello from Chip, out from the kitchen, and a warm farewell from Tina, with our thanks for a very generous evening. If all of this sounds like something you might like to experience, Eulalie’s phone number can be found below. And should you go, as a final treat, they won’t follow up with an email survey about your experience — as it once was, and maybe should always be. –Lockhart Steele
→ Eulalie (Tribeca), 239 West Broadway • Dinner prix fixe $115, wine pairings $85 • Call to reserve: 646-476-2380.