I took my brother to Bar Americain for dinner tonight. I'm a pretty experienced foodie, but this was my first time eating Bobby Flay's food.
Overall, the food was pretty good, though not at all memorable. The bread basket they brought was really lame, with a few small, thin pieces of bread and one roll. For apps, I had the chicory salad with bacon and a poached egg. Quite good, but certainly nothing special and a touch over-dressed. My brother had the Johnny Cake with Duck. That was delicious.
As my entree, I had the Rack of Pork with mashed potatoes (those damned potatoes - more later on that), which was fantastic. The first bite of the "chop" (it's actually a chop off the rib rack) was exactly the chargrilled porky goodness I was hoping for. The mashed potatoes were completely forgettable, and were pissing me off for another reason I'll get to in a second. I had the spinach on the side, which I have to say was some of the best spinach I've ever had.
The strange thing about the dish was that it didn't hold up, and I'm not sure why. By the time I was halfway through the pork chop, it was suddenly a better-than-average pork chop, but had lost that particularly special quality that the first bite or two had. *Really* good food doesn't do that.
My brother had a fish entree that he liked quite a bit. (I didn't try it.) We also ordered the Brooklyn Hash Browns, which we were told are modeled after Peter Luger's hash browns, but were dry, brittle and not well seasoned. Ick.
Desserts were fine - nothing too memorable. They get a bonus point for having some quality tea, though!
But here's my real beef: My pork plate came with mashed potatoes, which I didn't really want. I asked if I could get the spinach instead of the potatoes and was told that the potatoes were part of the makeup of the plate and couldn't be substituted. (The potatoes are listed as a side dish to purchase as well.) So yes, I paid the $9 (!) for the spinach. When the plate arrived, the potatoes were just lumped on the plate in their spot. The chop wasn't on them and it wasn't an elemental piece of the plate. For me, things like this tell me that their focus is not on meeting the customer's needs, but on either (1) fulfilling the chef's "vision" no matter what, or (2) forcing the customer to buy the additional side dish they want. That issue alone would make me not return. There are too many restaurants which are too eager to please their customer to make me head back to place that doesn't seem interested.
Food: B (with a few big disappointments)
Service: A (the wait staff was terrific)
Misc: D (lack of accommodation is such a big thing for me)
[I know that spells "bad" but that's just coincidence....]