No, Romera Doesn’t Live Up to the Hype

Romera, the überdesigned restaurant helmed by Spanish chef Dr. Miguel Sánchez Romera, opened in late September with a one-seating-per-night policy. Its 11-course meal, supposedly designed to "nourish the mind and awaken the senses," comes with a price tag of $245 per person. Though it's too early to offer any definitive reviews—the restaurant is still in its first month—Chowhounds are beginning to weigh in.

In fact, there’s a can’t-miss thread started by hungrynewyorker, who declares that Romera served "by far the worst (faux) gourmet meal I've ever had." Oof!

The hound declined to elaborate further, prompting chloes to observe that it’s possible that hungrynewyorker dined at Romera during the soft opening since the post was dated four days before the restaurant officially opened its doors on September 21. chloes inquired whether anyone had dined there since then, and ImStillHungry reported that "I was there on opening night and this place was terrible. The food is totally unmemorable. The food is flat with no depth. ... There was one dish that keeps coming back to me as a poor execution. We had foie gras (how can you go wrong?) with a HUGE white chocolate disc covering it. While I understand the idea of sweet and savory together, the amount of chocolate on this dish was out of control." ImStillHungry was also no fan of the "aromatic waters served with each course," and concluded that it's best to "avoid this place."

kosmose7 heeded the advice of fellow hounds and canceled a reservation, as did strangemd, but chloes ignored the warnings, and several days later she chastised herself for not listening to the wisdom of the board, calling the meal an "absolute disaster." For example, chloes, a vegetarian, was served seafood even after notifying the restaurant of her dietary restrictions. But the "nightmare moment" of the meal came during the ninth course, when her husband was served Wagyu beef in a "smoker contraption" that was then accompanied by the lighting of myrrh incense. Their tab at the end of the night: $700.

chloes was downright contrite, and told hungrynewyorker and ImStillHungry: "I'll say it so you don't have to... You told me so!"

The sole Romera fan weighing in on this thread? The Cookbook Addict, who called the meal "thought-provoking." There was also a positive review on the Wall Street Journal’s blog, but journalist Katy McLaughlin disclosed that the restaurant knew she was coming since she’d gotten to know Chef Romera while reporting a story about him. (The Journal paid her bill for the meal.) Perhaps most tellingly, the original title for that review was "Could a Spanish Neurologist Be the Best Chef in the World?" The headline of the piece has since been changed to "Romera New York: Does the Food Live Up to the Hype?"

Any other Romera experiences out there?

And thanks to Chowhounds for a thorough (and often quite funny) thread.

Romera [Chelsea]
355 W. 16th Street, Manhattan
212-929-5800

Discuss: Dinner at Romera on Opening Night

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