21 West 9th Street (Btwn 5th and 6th)
New York City
I had drinks a few weeks ago with friends at Hotel Griffou. We thought the atmosphere was really cool and on Wednesday we went back and tried the food.
I’m not sure that Hotel Griffou is actually hotel, but walk down the stairs of its discreet awning on 9th street and you enter an old world sepia-tinted drinking parlor with multiple side rooms and cozy tables. In the dining area we were in the theme is a messy art studio: unfinished looking paintings and jars full of paintbrushes. The general feeling inside kind of reminds me of a smaller version of The Jane Street.
Before going for dinner I mentioned it to a few friends who gave bad reviews of the food, so I was a little nervous, but I have to say that I completely disagree. We tried a few things and shared everything. Some highlights were the lobster thermidor fondue appetizer and the scallop entrée. I personally ordered the “Steak Diane,” which was lovely. My friend next to me had bone marrow with his meat, and sorry for the cheesy pun, but I didn’t have the guts to try it. Everyone was very happy with the food and we were all a bit uncomfortably full afterwards. The wine list at Griffou was great but I would stay away from their specialty cocktail list. They’ve tried too hard to be unique on this and it’s not working… one of the drinks tasted more like a wheat grass shot and my friend told me the spicy tequila one gave him heartburn for the rest of our night!
As far as the history of Hotel Griffou and its name, I recently read that in order to be a success in NYC, there has to be history, and if there is none, create it. So the word on the street is that Hotel Griffou used to be a brothel run by Madame Griffou and they have based their menu around this with clever names for “Mamma’s recipes” and “trophy wife” drinks.
I have a theory about why I heard bad reviews, they came from models and I have been full from that dinner for the past two days… I’m not sure they even ate the food. Hotel Griffou is owned by the people from Freemans, Waverly Inn, and Pastis and I love it, which seems to be a unique opinion on the Web. I will definitely go back… The food is good, just a bit too heavy, and the eclectic staff is nice and knowledgeable.
BY: LAUREN BROWN