When the nyc food critics unanimously swoon over a new restaurant I tend to take notice. So, last week, I girded my loins and ventured into Murray Hill for some Belgian fare. It was a Thursday evening, about 10, and we were told the wait would be about thirty minutes. We waited by the bar for the inattentive and overwhelmed bartender and eventually placed orders. The beer was excellent. I had wanted hard cider but, alas, they don't serve it so I was given an apple flavored alcoholic something or other; it was good.
Once we sat down, the service improved. Everything was brought promptly (bread, water, food), and our server was quite attentive. The food, however, was really disappointing. We started with the deviled eggs, which, aside from being the least healthy foodstuff on the planet, were quite good but really greasy. They left little pools of grease on the cutting board plate (that's sort of gross). We then shared a burger and mussels, both of which were thoroughly mediocre. The broth in the mussels had absolutely no flavor whatsoever (it was ale and orange, I think). The mussels were cooked properly (that's not particularly difficult) but the utter lack of flavor was truly confounding. The burger was so incredibly salty that it verged on the inedible. At first we thought it was us, but our closest table neighbors interjected that they too had a rather salty slab of meat. The fries were fine but not great. We skipped dessert.
All in all, I was left wondering what had others found so fantastic? Where was the cuisine that had won so many loyalists so quickly? I was puzzled.