Disclosure: I received a complimentary dinner at Tribeca. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are mine.
During our pre-kid days, my husband and I enjoyed long, romantic dinners at the best restaurants in town. But once our children were born those dinners became a thing of our past, unless we were willing to ante up some (big) extra bucks for a babysitter. And even then it felt like we were always racing to beat the clock to get home on time.
Our other option was to take the kids out to dinner with us. And, sure, this can be done but for it to be an enjoyable experience, the planets must align perfectly to ensure every family member’s preferences are met. I don’t know about you, but dinners out with our kids routinely involved establishments with sandboxes and playgrounds and fried food. LOTS of fried food. A romantic setting with expertly-prepared entrees was not on the menu. On the flip side, it wasn’t fair for us to drag our kids to high-end restaurants to satisfy our culinary cravings and expect them to behave like adults while other diners shot us dirty looks.
Parents want fresh, delicious, high-quality (and sometimes even adventurous) menu selections while kids usually want to eat food that’s predictable in a fun setting where they can be themselves. These opposing desires are rarely satisfied in one location because, in San Antonio, there just aren’t many (any?) restaurants that cater to adult palates and are welcoming to children at the same time. Until now, that is.
Located at 4331 McCullough in Olmos Park, Tribeca serves farm-to-table, affordable cuisine for adults in a romantic setting, while also providing a kid-friendly menu and a separate dining room where children can eat, play, and watch movies.
Owner Jean-Francois Poujol, who previously owned Tost on Blanco and who boasts an impressive restaurant and entrepreneurial background, wanted his latest venture to be family-friendly, starting with his own family. Whereas Tost’s dining room was simply too small to accommodate frequent visits from his wife, four-year-old son, and nineteen-month-old daughter, Tribeca was born with this goal in mind: to create a place where Poujol’s family could visit, relax, and join him while he worked. And, if his patrons could benefit from this kid-friendly room, all the better!
The kids’ dining room, which is just steps away from several of Tribeca’s tables, plays family-friendly movies, has a couch and a beanbag lounging area, crayons and paper, and a chalkboard. Parents can pop in to check on their kids as much as they like (although they may prefer to keep toddlers and babies with them in the main dining room as supervision in the kids’ dining room is not provided).
While the kids are enjoying pizza, pasta, and playtime, parents can savor sophisticated cuisine like quail, mussels, gnocchi, steak, scallops, salmon, and more.
During my visit to Tribeca with San Antonio mom bloggers Debi, Michelle C., Michelle H., and Tori, I sampled the Brussels sprouts with house-made pancetta, pecorino, rosemary vinaigrette, and a poached farm egg and the crispy calamari with pomodoro sauce. The Brussels sprouts were slightly crunchy (not at all overcooked, which was great) and enhanced beautifully by the pancetta and poached egg (of course, poached egg added to just about anything tastes divine in my book!). The calamari was crisp and tender.
For my entree I selected the seared scallops with butternut squash risotto, sautéed spinach, and lemon butter sauce. The sauce was a bit salty but the scallops were cooked perfectly and the rich risotto and bed of spinach rounded out this savory fall dish. Debi gave me a piece of her hanger steak and it was tender, rare, and full of flavor. The arugula chimichurri sauce served atop the steak made it seem even more decadent.
While Poujol is not a classically-trained chef, he grew up in France with a traditional French mother who put a priority on creating fresh, bountiful meals, straight from the family’s garden.
Together with his head cook, Poujol creates Tribeca’s menu, which features Italian, French, and American dishes, with the freshest ingredients they can find. Gluten-free pasta is available and all other pasta is made in-house.
My only suggestion for making Tribeca even better is for the kids’ menu to offer a few more options, including salads and vegetables. Yes, most kids will be happy with pizza or pasta but some, including mine, are slowly but surely developing sophisticated palates. I’d love to see Tribeca’s kids’ menu offer a couple of kid-priced options for our adventurous little eaters.
It’s about time a restaurant in San Antonio catered to families with fresh, creative cuisine and an atmosphere that celebrates children instead of hinting that they aren’t welcome. I can’t wait to take my family to Tribeca so I can enjoy an evening of adult conversation with my husband over a romantic meal, while my kids have a fun night out too. And, just imagine, there will be no babysitter expense or ticking clock to worry about! I hope Poujol’s successful execution of this family-friendly dining concept catches on in San Antonio. Parents all over town will rejoice.