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The Tin Building, By George (Jean-Georges, That Is)


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I hope they pay you when they make A Total Shitshow Of Savings their new slogan.

I paid my first visit to The Tin Building yesterday, about a 2.5 mile round-trip, so a good exercise walk - though I sure wish our lower east side waterfront wasn't so fucking horrendous. I didn'

20 years ago I would walk from 6th Street down to the streets between Houston and Delancey for a really quiet night out. Nobody around. A few peaceful bars open.

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On 9/2/2022 at 5:59 PM, small h said:

How was the seafood counter? If you saw it.

Oh, I only glanced and didn't really good it a good look. I'll check it out again during the upcoming week. The counter where people were eating seafood was crowded.

32 minutes ago, Tubbs said:

My dad used to park there sometimes if he drove into work...would take a week for the smell to leave his car. 

Yeah, the seaport smells nothing like it once did.  If you're nostalgic for that, check out Ludlow between Hester and Canal some morning - there are a couple of seafood distributors on that block, and if it's nice and warm out...well, you get the drift!

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We went down to check it out this weekend. Was not particularly enamored. We didn’t dine at any of the restaurants, so some of those may be interesting on their own, and I’m sure we’ll wind up trying a few - but wandering through the market (with the exception of the Bordier butter) I kept thinking I couldn’t possibly imagine purchasing anything. I’m sure the quality is quite good but the prices all seem pretty high, even for what it is. Most of it just a little high… fine, it’s a tourist destination, you expect that - but not much reason for locals (at least this local) to shop there. 

 

You could say the same for Eataly, I suppose, and that seems to have worked out fine for its investors. So maybe this will be the same. 

 

The premade stuff for takeout… I’m sure it’s all fine, but it felt a bit uninteresting. Chilled baked salmon filets with pasta salad or whatever just weren’t catching my attention.

 

There will probably be items of interest among the oils and vinegars, though my cabinets are already bursting at the seams with those so I probably shouldn’t be adding too much to the existing collection. (That said, I probably will.)

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45 minutes ago, Seth Gordon said:

There will probably be items of interest among the oils and vinegars,

This was the most interesting to me, as I may have related.  Also, I think the gummies were kicking in, so I had to keep going back to see if I remembered what I had just read about a specific oil.

I bought...tabbouleh, because I just wanted to at least try something/anything. It was...tabbouleh.

At least in the mayo - there was Duke's (*I didn't look at the price).  But as you offer, anything I knew the price of, vs. what I've paid elsewhere, was about a buck or two more.  I did feel the overall selection was deeper, or at least more expansive, than what I've seen at Eataly (where I haven't been in 4 years).

I like being within 5 minutes of Essex Market...and 10-30 of the farmer's. And like this place, they're clean, new, etc. etc.

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  • 1 month later...

Made another visit, mainly to grab some butter and maybe lunch. Shitshow ably describes it.

We intended to try the Chinese place upstairs (a couple friends have said it’s very good, most seem to agree it’s the best of the restaurants there) - a wait list and a more dinner-looking menu led us to just go for a couple sandwiches downstairs instead. 

Simple enough. Order sandwiches, pay for sandwiches, get sandwiches, eat sandwiches. At most restaurants that would be a straightforward process. Ah, but no one ever accused Jean-Georges of doing things the simple way. This a man who’ll make a vinaigrette with forty ingredients and three blenders, after all.

So you order your sandwich, and then you’re told to go around to the other side of the counter with your slip to pick it up. Only at no point did anyone ask us to pay for them. What was left unsaid was that on said other side of the counter we were supposed to hand our slip to another person who would scan it and then you pay there. Seems a bit simpler (and would lower payroll) to have people order and pay at the same counter, but whatever.

After about fifteen minutes we realized we were supposed to do this. We paid, and were immediately handed one of the sandwiches and told the other would be right up. It appears had we not mentioned it, we would have simply been handed the sandwiches without paying.

Or sandwich, I should say, as another fifteen minutes went by and we were still waiting for #2. At some point, after noting to staff we’d been waiting a half hour for some presliced vegetables on a bun, someone claimed they were going to do something about it, and like five minutes later we got our second sandwich.

The pickup counter was chaos, with staff yelling out mispronounced names and customers wondering if it was their turn. Ticket numbers would be a much better system.

Taking them outside to eat, we realized the sandwiches hasn’t been sliced, so SO went back in to get a plastic knife and some napkins. The knife was easy. Napkins, apparently not really a thing at TTB. You’d think they would be right by the utensil dispenser, but no.

The sandwiches… nice flavors, if nothing to go out of the way for. But a mess. One was so overfilled with hummus there was no way to keep it from shooting out the sides and all over one’s hands. The other, a zucchini-mozzarella thing, was fine. Nice bright salsa verde in there, though the brioche it was housed in was straight up greasy. In both cases, napkins would have been useful.

Back upstairs now, to buy some fish sauce I’d spotted. Only there was no price on it, and the UPC came up as nothing in their system. So now someone on staff is texting a picture of it to someone else, and we’re waiting around again. Eventually one of them takes the initiative and just punches in a price - $10 - and waits to see if I’ll pay that. (Actual retail price of $15 online, so sure I’ll pay that )

Downstairs to butter. I pick out a few flavors and… wait, where do you pay? There’s no register area. Do you just pay at the food counters? Do we just walk out with it? We could just walk out with it, but I grew up in retail so my moral code won’t allow me to do that even in Chase Bank Presents Jean-Georges Presents The Tin Building Brought To You By Chase Bank. So we ask someone at a stand and we’re pointed to what looks like an information booth, which it turns out is where one pays.  Or tries to, except the products you want to buy don’t have UPC codes so they don’t know what to do. The bored cashier, like her compatriot upstairs, just makes up a price - $8.00 each. Fine. Looking them up after we left, turns out she guessed right on the price of the unsalted bar, but well below the seaweed ($12) or vanilla ($16, holy crap)

So total shitshow, but also a total shitshow of savings: $17! It’s like we were reimbursed for our 35-minute pre-sliced overpriced vegetable sandwich.

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My number one takeaway about the Tin Building is not to go on a Saturday or Sunday (cause we tried Sunday last week), but instead on a Thursday (and now open Wednesdays!) at around 11 AM, especially if one is just shopping for butter...and I haven't had the same problem with the butters - each time I've bought butters, the price came up fine.

We had lunch last week at the T Brasserie, which was okay. Burger would be better on a potato bun as opposed to what it was on, rotisserie chicken was good, and shrimp cocktail was generous. Fries could've been better.  The whole rotisserie chicken is available for takeout at $19 - but I'm not gonna tell you where to find it. 

The 3 dishes I had previously at the bar at Red Pearl were okay - certainly nothing that made me wish I could eat there regularly instead of some of the Ctown places we use.

Some of the produce looks nice and not outrageously priced - good looking puntarelle at $5/bunch, for instance.

We'll probably all be talking about how "interesting" service has gotten in the food/beverage/restaurant biz.  You should've seen the hostesses at the stand at the T Brasserie last weekend...oy.

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On 11/5/2022 at 7:28 PM, Sneakeater said:

(I guess they think they've already paid you.)

Ha. They can have it for $17. In fact, I’ll pay to see Daryl Dismond (the supernaturally handsome former Pastis maitre’d who is now the official Tin Building “ambassador” - whatever that job entails) wear it on a t-shirt. 

On 11/6/2022 at 6:20 AM, joethefoodie said:

My number one takeaway about the Tin Building is not to go on a Saturday or Sunday

We had lunch last week at the T Brasserie, which was okay. Burger would be better on a potato bun as opposed to what it was on, rotisserie chicken was good, and shrimp cocktail was generous. Fries could've been better.  The whole rotisserie chicken is available for takeout at $19 - but I'm not gonna tell you where to find it.

Yeah, my days off are Saturday and Monday currently, and Monday’s not an option at TTB yet. I have enough butter to last me a bit for now, though.
 

I saw a pic of that burger - it did look good, though it seemed like more of a fork & knife number. I can’t imagine picking it up in all that puff pastry. 
 

i think I max out around $13 for rotisserie chickens. It would take some convincing to get me to try one at $19, unless it was particularly large or something.

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5 hours ago, Seth Gordon said:

i think I max out around $13 for rotisserie chickens. It would take some convincing to get me to try one at $19, unless it was particularly large or something.

Oh come on, you can't get a good uncooked chicken for $13.

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Wednesday - 3 PM - a perfect time to visit the Tin Building, as it was practically deserted except for Jean Georges and me.

Got a nice rotisserie bird, a liter of 2022 Harvest Spanish olive oil. And some Bordier.

Some of their pork products look great.  They also had this in the display case of piggie parts...

IMG_7684.thumb.jpeg.df7f4651a9b294d6c027ba9859e52c9d.jpeg

Maybe next time when I figure out what to do with it - like a country paté I imagine.

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Pete Wells: "I was drinking a cold glass of muscadet at that bar when Mr. Vongerichten stopped to chat. (By then I had spent so much time in the Tin Building that I was essentially a regular, greeted with a nod by hosts and bartenders.)" :D

Review showed up in my inbox but I don't see it on the site yet.

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