Thursday, January 05, 2006

When bad food happens to good people

We could not resist arguing and kvetching about some of New York Magazine's more dubious restaurant star ratings. I consider this to be a community service. You've been warned.

OTTO ENOTECA PIZZERIA got two stars when it deserves niente. It used to be good, now it sucks. It has been turned into the mess hall of NYU and a venue for obnoxious birthday and bachelorette celebrations where young, impressionable sluts can't hold their peach bellinis or keep their annoying cackles down. Strictly for amateurs. Last time I went, for a late dinner, I ordered pasta puttanesca. The pasta, which is served in a puny appetizer portion, arrived not only not al dente, but hard, almost fresh out of the box, and was covered with a sauce that seemed to hail from a tomato puree can stuck in a deep freezer in Wyoming. Just in case you think I'm a fineschmecker, I never send things back, but this was probably the worst plate of pasta I've ever had (and I lived almost my entire life in Mexico City, where only until recently they have stopped boiling pasta until it's mush). They still make great ice cream at Otto, but in the Summer you can get it from their cart on Washington Square Park (northwest corner).

FLEUR DE SEL. It is because of reviewers like Adam Platt, that hardworking, credulous New Yorkers take a risk on expensive, pretentious places like Fleur de Sel when they would be better off eating cereal at home. The food was the most boring, bland, tasteless thing I've had since hospital food. Two words: turnip soup.

The place is stunning (great for a drink), the service at the Bar Room extremely gracious, knowledgeable and professional, but when one is paying big bucks for half portions, one does not expect the steak to be hard and chewy like the elk on Brokeback Mountain. My relative from Mexico City kept staring at his two tiny pieces of perfectly cooked salmon and asking the waitress where was the rest of his food. For dessert, the waitress, a lovely Austrian girl, thankfully recommended the apple strudel, which was the best thing in the menu. The Modern is nice but chewy steak is unacceptable at those prices.

I wish I could say something about the food in TIA POL, but the night I went there the staff was so rude and indifferent as we asked for a table, that we didn't stick around to contribute further to the humiliation.

Blue Hill -- I don't remember anything I ate there.
Chanterelle -- super expensive and not that great.
Bread Bar at Tabla -- what my Mom would call "ongepatchket".

Because of my disinterested and philantropic nature, I am willing to share with you some of my favorite restaurants in NY:
Note that except for Jewel Bako, you won't have to sell your soul to eat well.

• Bar Pitti
• Lupa
• Jewel Bako
• New Pasteur - for great, cheap vietnamese on Baxter St.
• Soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai
• Roast duck at New York Noodletown
• Blue Ribbon Bakery
• Five Points
• Virgil's BBQ

No comments:

Post a Comment