Having worked in SoHo for the past two years, It's easy for me to feel like I know 75% of the restaurants or eateries in the area. Rintintin was always one of those establishments that I walked by twice a day to catch my train on Bowery. My boyfriend, Akuro, even worked across the street from it for almost a year of that time. He has said to me over and over, "I heard this place is great, we really should go there." I would shrug knowing that we say that about a ton of places but when it comes time to eat, none of these places are ever top of mind. Even this night, I believe we were headed to Uncle Boon's because Akuro had never been. Thanks to a 3-hour wait for a table of two at Uncle Boon's, we settled for the 30 minute wait at Rintintin. The weather was moderate. Nice enough that everyone decided to walk around Nolita at this time. The streets were filled with hungry beings on the prowl for the shortest wait time.
"I want to sit outside." I remember repeating over and over. Akuro insisted on sitting inside. His reasoning was to listen to the music and experience the ambiance of Rintintin indoors. I just wanted to finally enjoy a meal outside! It felt like we would never get that opportunity again thanks to this year's crazy winter/spring. So of course, we got a seat outside. No, it never dawned on me that the heating lamp would shine bright red and make taking and editing photos for this post a challenge. Just about 100% of the posts I make are not planned. I rarely plan to go somewhere just for a post. Most times, I won't even think about writing something or taking photos until I look at the menu and the first course comes out. It just feels more natural this way and allows me to enjoy the meal instead of focusing more on working than actually eating.
I never even saw the menu for Rintintin until we sat down. I knew nothing about the food and had no idea it was mediterranean cuisine. I was quite shocked when Akuro suggested the grilled octopus as one of our starters. It's one of my favorite things to eat and I know it's not really everyone's cup of tea. The octopus, however, was neatly grilled, not overdone which can happen pretty easily with a fish like this. The two tentacles were a thick cut giving off a juicy flavor and far from dry or chewy. I would definitely recommend you stopping here even if it is just for the appetizer.
Since Akuro suggested the octopus, I was okay with also getting the zucchini chips.
The Zucchini chips were actually fried zucchinis and eggplants served with three dipping sauces; tzatziki, hummus, and a feta cheese dip that I did not enjoy. The chips were crisped perfectly. Veggies like these are very hard to fry without mistakes, at least for me, but no surprise a certified chef would nail it.
Since the entrees at Rintintin were surprisingly bigger than we expected, we probably could have just order one appetizer...but what fun would that be?
Akuro ordered the lamb burger. I would've tasted it myself, but I didn't want him to take a bite of mine. The beef torpedo pita, which I got, was phenomenal. I won't say that I was expecting the meal to be average, but I was definitely surprised at how amazing it all was seasoned. The beef meatballs, if you will, were heavily seasoned with cumin, coriander, black pepper, and tahini. The side salad kept the dish light so you don't lean back feeling super stuffed afterward. The beef meatballs are pre-mixed with pistachios, so heads up to anyone with nut allergies.
Overall, I give this meal a solid 10. Everything was perfect; the service, the food, the ambiance sitting outdoors on a busy corner. For our two appetizers, entrees, and a bottle of wine, the meal came roughly to $80, which isn't too bad for this area. However, the menu isn't too exciting so I doubt we would come here over and over.
Photo editor: VSCO: C3 & Dark Room X to lower the red and orange hues.