Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hype-o-meter on the Breslin at the Ace Hotel

I went to The Breslin in the Ace Hotel last night and was pleasantly surprised that it was easy to get a table. This is the second walk-in score in a row, since Buttermilk Channel, shockingly, had tables at 8pm on Tuesday. Both of these restaurants are notoriously packed, so either the NYC dining scene has moved on and I haven't found out where yet (a possibility, I admit), or even the rich people are finally running out of money. Ivan says the latter.

Other things that have dribbled out: April Bloomfield and the locavore whole-animal trend. The crowd at the Breslin was square. There were no good-looking girls. If you are a good-looking girl looking for an older guy in a suit, you may have been happy. The decor is the ironic and overwrought version of the old pub, and I like old pubs, so I sort of liked it, but I also felt like I was at T.G.I. Fridays. If the menu had been ok, I could have gone with it. And the menu, at first, looks ok, or wildly creative, or something, until you realize that there's nothing on there people would actually want to eat. It seemed to be composed entirely of things that the Scottish middle-class outgrew in the '50s. Peanuts boiled in lard and thrice-fried chips and scary terrines and Stilton pie. The people sitting next to us both ordered the lamb burger because it was the only user-friendly thing on the list. Ivan and I debated the $125 steak for two, but I decided to test them on their home ground and have the beef tongue and oxtail in broth. Ivan had the vinegared poussin, which he felt was too vinegary. The broth for the tongue & oxtail was truly divine, but the cuts of meat were both suspect. It was a delicious tongue, but cut way too thick... you don't want the tongue bouncing back at you as you chew it, no matter what the flavor. And the oxtail hadn't totally melted out the fat and connective tissue the way I would have liked. Oh, and the "Garden" gin and tonic, their specialty drink, was bitter and unpalatable. I left with the impression that maybe it would have been fun to go there and drink a ton of beer and then eat the unhealthy fried food in a drunken stupor. Which, really, is what a pub is good for, gastro or no.

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