Sunday, April 27, 2008

Florencia 13: SoCal Mexican

florencia 13
We went to Florencia 13 to meet one of Foodie's old high school friend who was in town. Reviews on the web were very split with people either loving it or hating it and some people commenting about the rude service. We were able to get a reservation for our group of 7 a few hours before dinnertime which is rare for us. One reason why we were able to was probably because the tight turnaround time that the folks at Florencia 13 have for their tables. It almost borders on rudeness! Our reservation for 7:30 and since everyone from our party wasn't there by 7:40, the hostess told us that our reservation would be cancelled if they don't show up in 5 mins. Everyone did turn up, about 15 minutes later, and we were given a big table at the back after a couple of minutes more.

The ambience is a little too dimly lit- one of those places where you have to strain to see the menu. Food was above average but not excellent. The foodie ordered chilli relenos which tasted alright, however, was doused in too much curry. She likes her chile relenos to be crisp. The photographer had the Santa Catalina fish tacos. The portions were good, but the fish was mediocre. Not close to the freshness that a Santa Catalina native would expect. The sangria was good. Also notable in their drinks menu was a Dos Equis and lemon combo in a salt-rimmed glass. It made for a very nice and cheap (not very creative, though) cocktail.

We cannot say anything about the dessert. That's because our waitress came by as our meal was finishing and told us she had another party coming in in 10 minutes and she needed the table. Oh well!

Food: 6/10

Service: 6/10

Ambience: 7/10

Florencia 13, 185 Sullivan St., New York, NY 10012

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fig & Olive: Chic UES Brunch

Long time no review? Our readers (yes, both of you) needn't worry as we are still eating out, just not getting enough time to pen something interesting for this blog. Hope to clear the backlog this weekend so wish us luck. Btw does anyone else want to see the Pope in NYC tomorrow or is the photographer just weird? Anyway, here goes...

This review should have come sooner as this is fast becoming our favourite place for brunch with its convenient upper east location and super food. We have also never waited for more than half an hour for a table which stands out in stark contrast to 2-3 hour waits at the neighbouring Alice's Tea Cup. Fig & Olive has a very chic decor with the bar lined up bottles of olive oil and a variety of gourmet freshly baked goodies. The cane chairs and the communal table (which seems like an idea picked up from Le Pain Quotidien) give it a very chic feel.

The food is very nicely presented and tastes as good. The poached and the scrambled eggs come atop a crisply baked bun along with salad drizzled with olive oil. Since the foodie can't resist anything doused in truffle oil, her favourite is the poached eggs with asparagus and truffle oil. This dish also comes with yummy grilled peppers. One of Foodie's friend also recommends the vegetable quiche. We have never gone there for dinner - a trip which is due to taste some their olive oils with bread.

The service is average. They have once mixed up our order and once told us " we don't keep ketchup" in a tone that smacked of upper east side snobbery. However, usually they are efficient, quick, not overtly friendly but get the job done. One of the foodie's friends commented that crew cut and well-shaven seems to be a part of the uniform for all the waiters!! For brunch our bill is $20 per person including gratuity.

Food: 8/10
Service: 7/10
Ambience: 8/10

Fig & Olive: Bet 62 and 63rd on Lexington

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tonic: Really bad medicine

The only reason the logo is worth putting up on this post is so that you know to avoid it when you see this logo near Times Square. The photographer has consistently had the worst experience in any bar/club in NYC at Tonic Times Square.

Tonic hosts an 'Indian' DJ and upstairs gets converted into an Indian dance party every Saturday. That was the reason why we first checked it out. Lets start at the experience at the door. The door policy, and cover are completely arbitrary. The doorman refused entry to a friend of ours on the reason that his ID was 'hand written' and therefore not valid. What was this ID you ask? It was an Indian passport. The ultimate identification document for any individual, one that contained a number of visas- including a US visa, one that is recognized by the strictest immigration standards, was not enough for a doorman of a B-grade club! You see the Republic of India isn't as 'advanced' as the US of A yet. There are passport offices where the passports are still hand-written, and then signed and sealed by the authorities. It meets all the security and authenticating standards of every country in the world, except for the enlightened Tonic doorman. In any other setting, a refusal to acknowledge a country's passport is treated as a national affront and may spark an international incident. It is also worthwhile to note that fake IDs, apparently so rampant amongst US youth, are almost always printed. Was it because the passport belonged to an elite wall-street investment bank employee who happened to be Indian (and clearly above 21)? The doorman would neither listen to reason, nor willing to take us (the lucky folk with printed IDs) to the manager to sort out this issue. Therefore to get into Tonic, you first have to convince a guy who is either hugely ignorant, or hugely racist.

The club upstairs is even more pitiful. It is a cramped, long hallway type area with a bar dominating one side. The acoustics are terrible with speakers crackling and hissing with every bhangra beat. The photographer had a prolonged feeling of Tinnitus after leaving this place. The drinks are watery and the ambiance is an afterthought. The crowd is best described as B-grade. There is no cover for women till 12am, so unsightly ladies who cannot get into any club (but apparently have printed IDs) cover every available square footage of Tonic. The men are no better. 'Indian men have BO' is not a racist stereotype- rather an apt description of the men at Tonic. In my opinion, the average Indian music is not worth the ordeal at Tonic. People looking for similar music, but a much better ambiance should look at Kemia Bar or Mehanata or Earth or SOBs.

Drinks: 4/10
Ambiance: 3/10
Service: are you kidding?

Tonic. 727 Seventh Ave., New York, NY .