Dennis Foy, a self-taught chef who has owned and operated restaurants in the tri-state area for over 30 years (most recently, EQ, which closed shortly after 9/11) can currently be found in Tribeca at the eponymous Dennis Foy. Although the restaurant has been open since December, a recent visit on a Thursday night found more empty chairs than one might imagine. Could it have been the cold weather, or perhaps the location, which is not prone to street traffic?

The space pays tribute to the chef's other passion -- painting. The walls are adorned with his landscapes, which are all available for purchase, the multi-colored arches on the ceiling, the and the enormous chandeliers, which resemble giant mushrooms, like something out of Alice in Wonderland.

The menu, however, is more down to earth, featuring "French-influenced Contemporary American Fare." This translates into appetizers ($8 to $18) like a comforting potato gnocchi nestled in butter with sage, chives, and mushrooms, or the more adventurous foie gras with "Eis and Snow," (pictured) a terrine of foie gras on toast accompanied by Eiswein gelée and a garnish of a "snow" powder made from foie gras. Entrees ($24-35) are served with an artistic flair, combining flavors and textures. The loin of lamb comes with a sweet, creamy acorn squash and a crunchy, bitter broccoli rabe.

2007_02_food_foynapoleon.jpgDesserts are as beautiful to look at as they are tasty. The clear winner at our table was the chocolate hazelnut dome with coffee brulee and dulce de leche, an exercise in decadence, and the pumpkin napoleon (pictured) got a dash of spice from a cardamom ice cream. Service, although slow at times, was careful and deliberate. Our table of nine was served in well-choreographed French fashion, and the sommelier did not flinch when we asked about wines on the low-priced end of the wine list, and in fact, assisted us in selecting a unique spicy red (an Austrian Zweigelt) that suited the range of dishes we had ordered.

The night we were there, a photographer was snapping photos. Upon asking, we learned that Bruni's review is due up tomorrow (link will be up around midnight). Perhaps a good review in the Times will bring more customers in the door.

Dennis Foy
313 Church Street