The bread basket at Commerce is a sign of good things to come. There are some mini baguettes, a brioche bun, a sesame loaf, maybe some sourdough and who knows – but that’s some fine dining-level bread basket action for a space as fun and old-school-looking as Commerce. The kitchen is helmed by Harold Moore, who came up through the line at Gotham Bar & Grill, Daniel, and Jean-Georges. Some real respectable pedigree. And a nice dude.Between two dinners in the West VIllage, we covered a good chunk of the menu. Here’s the rundown, starting with the appetizers. The marinated hamachi, with microgreens, yuzu, tomato and chili:Fried oysters with remoulade:Deviled eggs. I don’t particularly care for deviled eggs usually, especially the funky smell of the blended yolk, but these were borderline fragrant, with a crushing of extra-crispy bacon. Plus, the yolk ain’t so bad when it’s doused in mayo, and probably some healthy amount of butter. Duck foie gras rillette terrine with sweet onion and apple relish. The walnut bread was a sturdy undertone for the luscious, extravagant terrine:Burrata tartine: Shaved Brussels sprouts salad with sweet potato, apples & bacon vinaigrette: Roasted sweet potato tortellini, hazelnuts, pomegranate, beurre noisette:Beef deckle “toro,” with charred mushrooms and ponzu:After deviled eggs, the sweet potato tortellini was my favorite, the nutty sauce with butter as a sleek undertone, a cinnamon sweetness tucked away into each meaty bite of pasta.
Onto the mains. Classic steak Diane with haricot verts & potato puree:
Mushroom cannelloni:Ora King salmon with spice yogurt, beets, favas and crispy quinoa:Pecan-crusted Long Island duck with wild rice, root vegetables, and clementines: Spaghetti carbonara with black pepper & coddled egg yolk:Korean-inspired Berkshire pork chop with rice cakes and Kimchi apple salad: Pork schnitzel with fingerling potatoes and cucumber salad:The duck, pork chop, and schnitzel were ones I ordered, and I managed to snag bites of the other stuff. The duck was fantastic, a bit on the lean side, tender and gamey, enhanced with the pan-seared pecan, the clementines a slight nod to that old French recipe. The pork chop was my second favorite, a perfectly-cooked, generously-cut slab of tender pork with a healthy char. The crunch of the apple salad and the spicy, vinegary addition of kimchi make for a great, precarious balancing act, one that teeters on the edge of pan-Asian curioso but manages to land very well on both feet. And the schnitzel was very well-done, albeit not quite as interesting as the other two.
But the dessert, in particular the coconut cake, is what captures my heart at Commerce. The kitchen decided to send us some birthday cake (simple yellow cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles), which we wouldn’t have otherwise ordered, but hey, it was delicious. The real draw for me is the coconut cake, aptly termed “The Best Coconut Cake.” That is not even an exaggeration.