Tried this new British restaurant last night and here's a quick review.
The room: dominated by a large bar up front serving decent tap beer (no Bud, thankfully, Kronenbourg, Boddingtons, Harp, etc.) to a loud after-work crowd. The dining room is in back, but not separated from the bar area, which makes the room a little loud. Interesting cocktails such as the Posh 'N Becks and the Ooh Aah Cantona add a cheeky touch.
The service: friendly, as to be expected from a place open for three weeks. The waitress seemed to be there at the perfect times and was very pleasant, though I believe at the busiest there were only three other tables occupied.
The food: tasty, warm, herby bread to start.
As an appetizer I ordered the Earl Grey chicken soup which was exactly as described. Some boiled chicken arrived in a large bowl with carrots and broccoli. A separate tea pot of the earl grey broth was then poured over top of it. It was strange but somehow really good - the bergamot flavors of the tea blended well with the chicken. The broth eaten alone was very tea-like, but when consumed with the other portions of the dish it married the different flavors very well. My only complaint was that the bowl used was huge (10 or so inches in diameter) and it was hard for the flavors to mix as the broth covered probably only a half-inch of the bottom of the bowl.
For an entree I got the coronation chicken salad - a favorite of mine. This version did not disappoint - a dozen or more chunks of chicken covered in a curried cream sauce, served on a bed of greens with some roasted peppers and tomatoes. There could've been a bit more spice in the sauce, but it was very flavorful.
One of my other dining companions ordered a halibut filet served with "bloody mary" sauce and horseradish mashed potatoes. She loved the dish as it reminded her of a good oyster dish from New England, although she has been allergic to shellfish for the past dozen years or so. Apparently the bloody mary mix and the horseradish potatoes took on a very pleasing cocktail sauce flavor that mixed well with the presentation of the fish.
Other dishes ordered were the chicken devonshire and apricot chicken, both enjoyed but neither overly thrilling. Both served with a "potato tower" which looked like gratin potatoes baked in a round form - they smelt very good and cheesy.
Total for four including three glasses of wine, a beer, and a cocktail, plus tax, came to $125.
Definitely a good place that could become very good - I think the chef has it in them to do interesting things. However, the poor traffic probably keeps the menu fairly basic at this point. A quick blurb about the chef from the Telegraph:
"Fiona Carmichael, 32, in charge of the kitchen at UK New York, said: "We want to show New Yorkers that English cuisine is nothing to be frightened of."
An ex-policewoman who once patrolled Clapham and Brixton, Fiona is reinventing classic dishes at the city's latest Britfood venue.
Her toad in the hole - Cumberland sausage wrapped in bacon and coated in rosemary batter - is an offbeat take on the old standard. The chicken broth for her Earl Grey soup is poured out of a teapot."
UK New York
22 Warren Street
(b/w Church and Broadway)
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