TÊTE Charcuterie (1114 W Randolph Street) officially opened for business in the Meat Packing District. Which is fitting, given their menu of house cured saucissons, composed fresh sausages, terrines, and pâtés. I popped in for a few bites during their soft launch party to sample the goods.
Is Randolph street’s newest restaurant worth seeking out?
The Meat of the matter…
A few salads aside, the menu focuses exclusively on skillfully prepared and artfully plated cured meats. The waitstaff highly recommended the Germany sausage, a mild brautwurst served with vinegary peppers and grainy mustard. Each forkful delivered a balance of flavorful pork and pickled tang, and the smallish serving left me with an appetite for more.
The Pork Belly Rillons were a highlight as well. The smoked bacon was a feast of fatty textures, while the XO sauce mixed a wallop of heat with crunchy meat bits. I carefully spread one on the other as savored each bite.
Notable passed items included a mild Mortadella — a bologna dotted with pistachios and infused with white wine, the Duck Pâté, and the house-made gerkins. Of everything I tried, I would go back for more of the perfectly seasoned American Hot Dog, the epitome of encased meat. It’s great to see restaurants do the simple things well.
I’ll drink to that…
TÊTE Charcuterie has a respectable beer and wine list, but I was intrigued by the cocktails and the near-sighted mix-master working the bar. I ordered a Tete A TÊTE made with gin, bitters and sparkling wine, and watched this gentleman squint as he poured out each measure. Simply fantastic. Each sip cut through the flavorful noise of charcuterie, making this drink a perfect companion for a meaty meal. I wanted more.
The Two-Three Days and Enhhhhhh each featured a sweeter approach to balancing the palate, but proved awkward to order in the booming space. However, the names were the only complaint I had — each drink was delicious. If you like vodka, watch as they construct a Jackson Blues with green tea, lemon and sparkling wine. Tasty.
I think TÊTE Charcuterie is worth seeking out. With a superb selection of charcuterie, tapas-sized plates, and convivial cocktails, they are set to make a mark on the Randolph restaurant corridor. Make plans to go before its over-run with hungry fans of swine, beer, and game.