Eat It/See It: Tribeca Grill and Robert DeNiro and Son

Last weekend, we took our sons to New York to celebrate my older son’s birthday  at Tribeca Grill. The restaurant is chic, noisy and fun, and right near the Holland Tunnel so easy to get to from New Jersey. Since Robert DeNiro has a stake in the restaurant, you fantasize that you might actually see him. Stand-out dishes were the Atlantic cod with mussels paella, the New York strip steak and the chocolate layer cake. Downstairs, near the bathrooms, are framed posters of DeNiro in movies I hadn’t thought about in a while—Taxi Driver and Mad Dog & Glory. But the loveliest part of the restaurant are the huge, colorful paintings by DeNiro’s father, Robert DeNiro Sr. Whenever a son pays that kind of homage to his father, you have to pay attention. I was so happy to discover that DeNiro had made a movie about his father. Here is the link to the extremely moving 45-minute documentary that DeNiro made in 2014 for HBO. Robert DeNiro, Sr. was gay and struggled with his twin desire to be both loved and famous during his lifetime. He. was a prolific painter and journal-keeper. His writing reveals that he was insecure about his place in the art world and deeply loved his son. He died of cancer in 1993. DeNiro Jr. cries during the course of the film. You may too. “He was the real thing…” DeNiro says. “My father thought he was different and he was different, not only as an artist, but for other reasons. He was very particular about what art was.. I just want to see him get his due. That’s my responsibility.”