Regis Royal is a new restaurant located downtown at Rector and Washington Sts. It seems the area is starting to come alive with new spots as we approach the 9/11 opening of the World Trade Center Memorial. We could not be happier. Between that and Danny Meyer’s new empire opening down here, we actually are getting some options.
The Regis was a long time opening! We stared longingly at the papered windows for at least a year. We kept trying the website posted in the windows and it didn’t exist. But here it is, finally. And we are impressed. They did a fantastic job with the decor. It is a bi-level space with a bar/bar dining on the main level and more formal dining upstairs.
The food is also great. We decided to stop in for lunch on a weekend since it seems quite busy post-work on weeknights. Have I mentioned that we love steamed clams? And that we are constantly in search of NYC restaurants that prepare them well? Guess what, FINALLY there’s one in the hood. Steamer’s Landing is gone and was replaced by another member of the Merchant’s restaurant chain that we love :(, so we’ve been unable to get steamers in the hood. The closest recent find was City Winery. Great but a ripoff. 6 for $14? Regis Royal, for the same price, offers up a full bowl in a fabulous white wine and garlic sauce that you want to drink to the last drop. They are probably the best we’ve found TO DATE.
Additionally, we tried a homemade pizza and the house salad. Both were made of fresh ingredients with care. The pizza took a long time, but to be cooked properly it needed that time. We wound up brining half home for another meal. It was a white pizza made with artichoke hearts for which I always have a soft spot. Clams and artichokes in the same spot makes me happy.
Little Neck Clams sauteed in white wine, garlic, fresh herbs, and extra virgin olive oil
served with garlic toast
Regis House Salad $7
Seasonal greens, vine ripe tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, Gorganzola cheese with balsamic viniagrette
Pizza Bianca $11
Spinach, artichokes, ricotta, roasted garlic and mozzarella
Our plan is to hit this spot a few more times and report in. But so far, so good!
We’ve now returned to Regis Royal a few times. On the good news front, they serve bacon as a bar snack. On the bad news front, I have now had a mediocre to bad flavorless dish twice. The first was canned artichoke hearts and the second was tuna tartare. Last night I watched as the dishes went out and nothing was looking too hot. I think pasta is the best bet here from what I can see. Regis Royal was so sorely needed in our food barren neighborhood, but I think this place is on deathwatch. I give it until the dead of summer. And of all things they took the steamed clams off the menu.
Regis made it through the summer, but not with our patronage! Unfortunately, they were hit badly by hurricane Sandy and just recently re-opened. I do have sympathy for them and I sincerely hope they brought in a new chef. Most likely we won’t be going in to find out. Our last experience was taking Steve’s sister and her fiancee for brunch and it was SO BAD. We were all disappointed.
21 Rector Street – Financial District