if you've read any of my reviews before, you know my boyfriend and i lead a charmed life as far as walking into a crowded, popular restaurant and snagging a table instantly. i'm not exactly sure how we do it, but last night was no exception, two minutes after we'd been told the dining room was fully committed and there would be an hour and a half wait for a table in the lounge, the hostess ran up and grabbed my bf, wiggled her finger in a come hither sort of way and asked us to follow her to a table.
ok, the chairs were wobbly and the table moved this way and that with the slightest amount of pressure and drinking bar patrons, more than once, slammed their drink down next to my food and the pos computer was right behind me, but let me repeat myself, within two minutes of practically being told, "you ain't gonna eat any time soon," we were nibbling on the best cornbread i've ever had.
clearly, this place is about more than the food, so i'll start with the incredibly nice bouncer/doorman who greeted us warmly and was so handsome he made me swoon just a bit. the crowd was a mix of middle aged foodies and, from the way the waitress knew everyone's name, what seemed like neighborhood regulars. The crowd was dressed to impress, natty, and in a few cases, WHOO, superfly. The soundtrack was a mixture of good ole detroit motown (music to this detroit girl's ears) and 70's disco hits. The place was designed with a bit of a heavy hand for my taste; there were lots of nice details, but mostly things were a bit too slick for me and despite the handwritten bathroom signs, and display of ms's personal items, it faintly smelled of wanting to be a chain.
the food was good, some things great, but some things strangely bad. the afore mentioned cornbread was sweet and cakey with a salty crust that almost made me order a second round. (as it went, i ate the whole cube put on the salad that came with the mac and cheese, which my boyfriend noticed and commented on. i still feel guilty) the portion was huge, though not as big as the one the regular customer with the mini tv sitting next to us was served. the duck liver mousse? with pastrami'd duck breast was up and down. Just couldn't wrap my head around the liver texture, but the taste was fine, the duck breast pastrami slices were delicious.
for dinner, bf ordered the fried chicken which was unlike any southern fried chicken i've ever had. i'm not much of a fried food girl, but i could have eaten nothing but the thick crunchy coating and gone home happy. i had red snapper which was sweet and so tender, i couldn't get it to stay on my fork. it was served sitting in a broth, but the small amount of cold (was it supposed to be that way) liquid was impossible to get into the spoon, something about the bowl shape just didn't work so i was left frustrated and confused. we shared a mac and cheese which was delicious and cheesy and not really at all like mac and cheese. instead of the creamy, gloppy slightly orange colored mess i was expecting, we got something that reminded me of the delicious cheesy mess that is onion soup if you took away the onions and the broth and substituted my favorite ear shaped pasta.
it was served with a small salad, which neither of us took more than a bite of, though i was curious about the hard marble shaped orange blob on top. i guessed kumquat, my bf an onion, but i couldn't stab it with my fork and at some point it rolled under my plate and was forgotten.
we had pudding for dessert which came on a plate full of fruity surprises. it was good but not earth shattering. and to be honest, after the waitress gave a several minute speech/lecture about the godliness of the tea, i was a bit disappointed to be served a cup already brewed with no pot to
allow me to refill or adjust the strength.
a few random notes. our tablemates ordered oxtail and it looked like the winning dish, though i didn't get to taste it. and if you get the blondish waitress from somewhere in the midwest, clearly here in nyc chasing a career in musical theater, watch out. she is overbearing, annoying, and prone to calling her customers "you guys."
310 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10027