18 February 2007

New York food, part two

Now that I am sufficiently recovered from my ordeal, here are the last three New York restaurant reviews. The brief synopsis is good food at all three, acceptable service at the first, unacceptable service at the second, and outstanding service at the third.

Sunday brunch was at Country. It felt a little pretentious going in, but I got over it quickly. My virgin mary ran circles around the one I had in Pittsburgh at Lidia's the week before. We were off to a good start. After we ordered JT noticed some lovely looking fries heading for a nearby table. We needed some....and we were not disappointed. We should have split an order of bacon (from very happy and contented pigs, JT noted) but otherwise, no complaints. She gushed over the decor, plotting how she could get similar light fixtures made for her house. I think next year we will aim for some variety, like Country for dinner on Saturday and Artisanal for Sunday brunch.

Dinner on Sunday was at Rosa Mexicano (Lincoln Center location). We arrived somewhat late to find a huge crowd at the entrance, but our reservation, made through OpenTable, meant we were taken immediately upstairs, past the big blue wall of water, to our table. That was the end of the acceptable service. While the waiter was attentive to JT, I seem to have dug my grave by inquiring if any of their yummy cocktails could be made without alcohol. I got a very curt, "No." and that was the end of his wanting to be of help to me. The guacamole, prepared tableside, was fantastic. Entrees were good too. We decided to splurge on some dessert but the waiter never asked if we wanted coffee. Foolishly, we were too stunned to even ask for it. Lucky for the waiter JT calculated his tip.

The dog show started on Monday, which usually means eating bad food at Madison Square Garden. The choices are hot dogs and hot dogs. This year, when I was making my reservations on OpenTable, I noticed major bonus points for off-peak reservations. I found Ouest had a $31 three course prix fixe menu between 5 and 6pm, and I could get 1000 OpenTable points, rather than the usual 100. A 5:30pm reservation seemed reasonable to get us in our seats for the evening session at the show by 8pm, even if it was further north on the west side than we usually venture. I was not disappointed in any way.

In spite of our late arrival, we were seated quickly and had plenty of time to get our orders in before the prix fixe menu expired. The mushroom soup was heaven, my yummy chicken could have fed three people (I NEVER leave mashed potatoes on the plate unless they came out of a box but in this case, I was determined to leave there not feeling like an overstuffed chair), and the sorbets I had for dessert were delightful. The service was over the top in attentiveness, in an entirely good way. They seemed to know what we wanted before we did. I would go back there in a heartbeat, especially if I had someone I wanted to impress to take along.

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