So Aegean on Columbus and W70 has just been replaced by a Pan-Asian/Sushi restaurant called "Amber" which has another location on the UES. We tried takeout last night and here's a review.
First, I must begin by saying that the guy behind the counter is a sweetheart. Poor guy was working his butt off between handling takeout orders and seating incoming customers. The other staff seemed more or less expressionless. We ordered fried dumplings, the rib appetizer and pad thai. Very boring? I know.
Okay, so we placed our order at 7:28pm (written on my takeout stub) and then waited..... and waited... and waited....ugghhhh.... and waited. Yup. You got it. Well, the place was packed. Nearly every seat was occupied and the bar area was overflowing. I like the layout and the decor was nice although some may argue that it's cheesy. The place sort of draws folks in.
There were approximately 4-5 takeout orders before mine and they were messing everything up. The sweet guy behind the counter was running back and forth from the kitchen in an attempt to obtain (and then resolve) the outgoing orders. He was frantic and apologized to me while taking my order b/c he was unfamiliar with the computer system. No problem at all as far as we were concerned b/c the place is new and he was really nice about it. Even the craziness with the outgoing orders was understandable but it soon became apparent that this was worse than we thought.
A gentleman came in to retrieve his order. There was some confusion and then his two bags finally appeared. Soon after he left, the counter guy ran outside to catch him. He ran all the way down the block after him which was really nice, I must admit, but ugghh! What a disaster. He brought him back into the place and took one of his bags into the kitchen. Seconds later, he ran back out to him and took the other bag (WRONG BAG!). Uggh! Finally, he resolved it and the guy left.
By this point, it was 7:45PM - 15 minute wait so far. I thought, ok, if it comes out now I can't really complain. They are new. Well, I'll spare you all a long story but after multiple bags appeared and then got switched around, we did not receive our order until 8:10PM. The guy was very apologetic and was really trying hard to resolve things. I felt so bad for him but I was really upset about the 40 minute wait.
Got home and decided that we really still wanted to like this place. If the food was good, we'd forget everything else. The food was nicely presented, and no errors in the order . The dumplings were not made by hand - definitely frozen.
The three, small ribs had a very unappealing taste but the worse part was that they were sooooo fatty. Ugghh. Ok, now onto the pad thai. Oh, please let this be good, we thought, as we can't get good pad thai up here anywhere. I gotta say this was GOOD - large serving, the chicken and egg were grilled well down rather than boiled and the noodles were great. Thankfully, it didn't have the horrible red sauce that pam thai encore uses and it wasn't as americanized as other places where it's basically boiled, tasteless chicken, barely cooked egg and noodle without any taste. This wasn't as spicy as we would have liked and it needed more peanut flavor and sauce but it wasn't as one dimensional as the pad thai from other places. It actually had a nice taste. So far, though, Jaiya on 3rd and E27th is my favorite pad thai in NYC.
Yes, we will return to them and try eating in next time. Servings we saw seemed on the small side but the plates are very large. Prices are somewhat higher than a moderate thai restaurant but I'm sure rent is high for that corner. Sushi bar was buzzing- 6 sushi chefs and every seat taken. That's where they plan to make their $$$$. Anyway, they need more help in the kitchen, for sure. Hope they continue improving as it can be a decent neighborhood place AND it's far better than a bank or a duane reade!!