Sunday, January 27, 2008

Barking Dog: Good for big groups


The Barking Dog was recommended to us by a friend who stays across the street from it. It is unlike your regular diner. It is rather cozy with a hip ambience and a good song selection of the top 20 hits. Beyond that, there is much scope of improvement in the food and the service. Our waiter looked like he was dragged out of bed and took our order rather reluctantly. He was, however, quick to get our food. They were accomodating to our group of five and we saw many other big groups, especially in bigger, round tables in the far corners. The foodie got the poached eggs with bacon, sausage and biscuit. The egg was still swimming in water and the biscuit was cold and tasteless (maybe she is spoiled by Alice's tea cups scones!). The others ordered omeletes which were rather nice, so you should stick to them as they are relatively hard to screw up (although you would be surprised about that too if you go to Brio). 
Our bill was $16 per person which is not bad considering the diner food and above average ambience. We recommend if you are part of a big group and omlettes are all you care about. Alternatives to the Barking Dog include Vinyl. Annie's was a great UES spot for brunch but unfortunately they are all boarded up now.

Food: 6/10

Service: 7/10

Ambience: 7/10

Barking Dog: 1678, 3rd avenue

January 27, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tavern On The Green: Checked off the list

Zagat had warned us to go for the view not the food, so we kind of knew what we were risking. However, it was Restaurant Week in New York- 2 weeks (twice a year) where the usually unthinkably expensive New York City restaurants have a special 3-course restaurant week menu. This cold friday evening, we decided to try out Tavern on the Green in the western side of Central Park and 67th street. We waited for our table in the fancy bar which looked much like a palace set from one of those historical movies. The decor was plush with velvet seats, huge chandeliers, glass, mirrors and thick carpeting (bordering on stuffy, depending on what you are used to). I guess we partly paid for the decor with our $20 cocktail (gratuity and tax included). The dinner was nothing to write home about and was quite disappointing for a place of this much fame (or hype? probably hype). So as not to make lowly patrons squirm in their plaid dining chairs, the wines in double digit dollar amounts were printed in bold in their wine menu. The waitress (they want to refer to themselves as 'captains' for some reason) could not recommend a single sweet red wine from the entire list. The lobster bisque (appetizer) had too much salt but was creamy, the organic chicken entree was average and the chocolate cake tasted like it was bought from the neighborhood diner in a jiffy. The photographer's salmon entree was exactly like the salmon he eats in his university cafeteria every Tuesday for $5.95. Service was similarly dismal - we had to return water with ice twice after having told our server that everyone of us will take water without ice. What is with restaurants and ice in the water anyway? The time they took in getting us the water without ice made us wonder if they are actually waiting for the ice to melt.

In summary, we would suggest you visit Tavern on the Green only if you have fantasized about it since childhood and can afford to be laden in fur and adept at air-kissing. You can apparently take a horse-drawn carriage to the place. You will probably need that memory to tide over the horrible food and service.

Food: 5/10
Service: 4/10
Ambience: 9/10

Tavern On The Green: Central Park at 67th Street

January 25, 2007

Hangawi: They call it the vegetarian shrine

We went to this place for a friend's birthday in a big group and had a great time. This Korean vegetarian place was surprisingly picked by a more carnivorous friend. Relaxing ambience with low seating, candles, earthen colours and endless cups of sake made for perfect setting to catch up with friends. Appetizers were a delight and I would particularly recommend the Emperor rolls. These thin pancakes wrapped in picked vegetables served with a special ginger chutney were delicious. Tofu Stone Bowl Rice was recommended to us by everyone who had been here before so that is what I ended up ordering. However, I found it a little dry, it may be a good order with some sauce (spicy chilli mushrooms anyone?). Photographer's Mongolian hot pot was hot spicy and flavourful, perfect for the cold winter evening and my top pick among the entrees order on our table. Our bill was $45 per person, including the mandatory 20% gratuity.

Food: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Ambience: 9/10

Hangawi: 12 East 32nd Street, NYC

January 22, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Subtle Tea: Between Lunch and Dinner

We went there to pass time before a dinner reservation for which we were an hour too early (I know!) and left glad to discover this gem of a place. The decor was chic with one wall lined with colourful teapots and mugs and long communal table lined with magazines. It seemed like a place I could sit for hours with a book and cup of one of the 100 teas (you can smell the tea before you order!). The crowd was diverse with members of a knitting club on one side of the table and some college kids scattered on the cushions by the side. Foodie claimed that her hot chocolate was the best she has had ever and the Photographer's cold chaser tea did what it promised, helped to relieve his cold. The pumpkin walnut scone was low on sugar and a perfect accompaniment to our hot drinks. Our total cheque was the three items was $6.

Drink: 9/10
Service: NA
Ambience: 7/10

Subtle tea: 121 Madison avenue
January 22, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sarabeth's: Underwhelming

We wanted to go for brunch at Sarabeth's for a while. We finally got enough people for a reservation (they only take reservations for 6 or more) at this chi-chi 'highly recommended' Central Park South eatery. Our experience could be best described as underwhelming. 
There was no creativity in the menu as one would expect from a place voted in the past as the best brunch place in town. The food was average but the service totally put us off. Our waitress took so long getting the milk that our coffees were cold. On asking for a wine recommendation, she replied "I don't know. I've never had these wines". The wine we ordered was not in stock and the one that was finally given to us was like sugar syrup and couldn't be finished. Maybe the lacklustre service was because they add 18% gratuity to the bill for a party of 6 or more? For our second round of coffees, one of us had to get up to request the waitress to get the milk! We were very disappointed with both the food and service, so we won't be going back. Brunch entree's listed between $10-15. 
Food: 7/10 
Service: 4/10
Ambience:   7/10

Sarabeth's- Central Park South, between 5th and 6th Ave, NYC
Jan 12, 08
Image: From Sarabeth's website

Ino: No Eggs Benedict- in a good way

We braved 20 deg F (that's -10 deg C) to try this quaint brunch place in West Village. A wine bar by night, this friendly place attracted the Foodie's attention for NOT having Eggs Benedict in its brunch menu- something that no other brunch place worth its pancakes would do. This place is famous for its Truffled Egg Toast and we see why. A kind of poached egg served on a crusty focaccia type base with steamed asparagus and a delicate flavor of truffle oil. Foodie says truffle oil elevates common dishes to a-la-gourmet. The seating is cramped, yet cozy. The tables have to be slid with precision so as to let the lady sit while not knocking off the Photographer's panino. Very reasonably priced at $12 which includes coffee/tea/fresh OJ with your brunch entree.  

Food: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Ambience: 9/10

Ino- 21 Bedford Street, NYC
Jan 20, 08

Description of the authors

The Foodie: Loves to eat and loves to cook. Loves to travel the world and has what might be described as a somewhat adventurous palate. Bad food is a crime and doesn't believe in giving places with bad food (or bad service) another shot. She has an MBA and is an investment banker by day. Very strong family history of creativity, art and good taste.

The Photographer: Doesn't really care about food that much. But 'goes places with The Foodie' would be a horrible blog title. Just started dabbling in photography. Holds advanced degrees in Chemistry and Biology. Mixologist. Looks for unconventional ways of doing stuff. Obsesses about photography equipment, hence the name.

Together they are out to categorize the world!

Tasting, tasting 1,2,3...

Oh! so you are funny eh?