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Park Avalon--don't bother ( a little long)

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Park Avalon--don't bother ( a little long)

Jessica Shatan | Dec 6, 2000 10:34 AM

Ok, so we only went because it was near the Union Sq. theatre, and Candela, our original choice was closed for a private party. Plus, we needed it to be really near the theatre as my Dad can't walk far, and we wanted a nice place as we had friends from out of town joining us.

Started with nice but cold nutty whole wheat rolls and what seemed like a Swiss Peasent bread. One tiny ramekin of a white bean/olive oil and garlic spread--very nice but of course we needed more, luckily when we asked the bus boy he brought 2 more. Also a small bottle of olive oil with peppercorns sitting on the bottom looked promising but frankly had no pepper flavor and tasted like my $9.99 a bottle Bertolli extra virgin olive oil from Grand Union. This was a premonition of sorts: food that looked good and was based on good ideas but lacked flavor.

I started with the beef carpaccio with truffle oil vinaigrette, asiago cheese, and some kind of fig-molasses puree drizzled on top. Too vinegary! 1st bite was great but then the vinegar took over. Just truffle oil would have been better. The carpaccio itself was very good, tender and in beautifully presented bite-sized pieces and the cheese was generous and good. The whole thing was a bit too cold but that is tricky with raw meat.

My companions had the crab cakes and the salad of field greens and seemed content.

Then my main course TOTALLY SUCKED!!! How you can render TASTELESS the following is beyond me: homemade rock shrimp and shitake mushroom ravioli in a buerre blanc with a delicate bit of corn pureed into the butter sauce. What arrived was about 12 round homemade ravioli, the pasta too thick and the filling some kind of thick bland mush that was whitish and had NO shrimp flavor. No mushrooms to speak of. The waitress was really excited about this special and as I love rock shrimp BECAUSE OF IT'S DEFINITE FLAVOR I ordered it. She asked how it was and I was totally honest: it had not taste and where are the mushrooms? Well, it's subtle, she replied. But it doesn't even tasted like shrimp. She offered graciously to bring me anything, else, the ricotta ravioli perhaps. As the food was not inoffensive and we had showtime approaching I declined the offer but she said she would tell the chef. I told her maybe it was a bad batch of ravioli and someone should just taste it to see. OY. A waste of all those buerre blanc calories.

3 of my companions had the chilean sea bass on a corn salsa type of thing which was nice and delicate but I had almost the same exact thing for about 2/3 of the price at the Sun and Moon restaurant in Fire Island and it was a little better. My mom's salmon was dry and boring to me but she liked it and is a chowhound in her own right so maybe I was having a bad night! She did order it medium which I never would do--I always order rare or medium rare anything as I loathe dry food. It came with some kind of mashed potatos which, again the waitress said would be "to die for" and just tasted like good mashed potatoes, nothing special.

OY. OY. OY. This place is exactly what it looks like: a pretentious scene pretending to serve good food. Avoid it.

Also, our 1st bottle of white wine while cold on the outside and even a little frosty looking, was warm, almost hot esp. the 1st 2 glasses, as it got farther down it was cooler. What's up with that? Just one more instance of their incompetance to me.

I want to have delicate envelopes of pasta filled with finely shredded rock shrimp and shitake mushrooms, bursting with flavor, lovingly carressed by a slightly corn-sweet buerre blanc! I was lead on!

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