Okay, so we made it to Balthazar today. We tried a couple of times shortly after it opened, couldn't get a reservation, sort of blew it off for a while.
But this weekend, we had guests from SF, who wanted to go....called this morning, and Lordy, Lordy, Lordy! Got a reservation right away.
It was good. The five of us had Trout, Cod, Skate (two people each ordered skate), a Burger and Skate, respectfully.
They were good--the Trout was very good. (The skate, frankly, was subpar, which in itself is extraordinary. I've had better skate at many less hyped places.)
We each had a couple of glasses of wine, and we split three mediocre desserts (Banana Tartine; Warm Chocolate Cake; and Apple Tart).
The Tab? With tip, $340. Not wildly expensive, considering it was five people. But for less than half of that, we could have had a considerably better dinner in Montclair, NJ (at 28, Deja Vu, Taro...or what should be the real newest barbecue craze, Indigo Smoke). Not as good--considerably better.
How does this happen? Well, if we all stop acting like lemmings and get up the nerve to say when the Emperor is wearing no clothes, that would probably be a big step in the right direction.
Again, Balthazar is pretty good. But if you factor in the price, "pretty good" should not cut it in this city. It is beyond my comprehension that for the first year or so of its existence it was virtually impossible to get a reservation there. I'd be grateful to hear from those who agree, those who disagree, and especially those who've had similar experiences at other hot spots.