Bar Americain

Bobby Flay  has been a reasonably successful restaurateur in NYC.  He is on the Food Channel, he has books, he has slowly gained a national reputation.  I always liked Mesa Grill.  Bolo has been around for years and have had good meals there too.  I read about the opening of Bar Americain and figured at one point I'd get up there to try the place out.  Last night was my night. 

Another restaurant designed by the architect, David Rockwell.  I am not a huge fan of his work.  Very large, too many fabrications in one room, very theatrical.  The only place that is subtle enough for my taste that he has done is Town.  Bar Americain is a very large, high ceiling restaurant.  It would be a challenge for anyone.  It is a very high-end midtown type restaurant.  Maybe I sound too judgmental, but that is basically what is reads to me.  Nothing special.  The decor will be old hat in 5 years. 

The menu is just as the name, southwestern American.  American with a bit of a twist.  We didn't get to taste many things because the service is absolutely atrocious.  It was almost comical.  I was surprised that Bobby Flay wouldn't make sure that the place was running like a clock after 2 months.  The majority of customers in that neighborhood are going to be big repeat customers.  Hmmm.  We won't be. 

We got there at 6;45 and told our waiter we needed to leave promptly at 7:50.  We had a screening to go to.  No problem he says.  Yeah, right. 

We ordered a dozen oysters, spicy tuna tartare, roasted cauliflower and goat cheese and 3 tastings from the raw bar which included a lobster crab salad, shrimp with spicy sauce and a chunky guacamole.  We waited, we waited and we waited.  We had already put in a dinner order too.  We were going to split up the lamb chops that came with a sweet potatoes and a pea mint sauce and the chile roasted poussin that we asked to substitute in a chicory salad instead of the bread salad.  We are still waiting.  The waiter seems to be completely ok with the timing.  Now, we are getting a bit annoyed and laughing at the same time. 

The manager comes over and apologizes and says dinner is on her, everything will be coming out momentarily.  We get the appetizers (not correct but they fix it quickly).  The food is ok, not great.  We wait and we wait and we wait for the entrees.  We are 7 minutes and counting from our departure.  Finally out comes the salad and lamb chops but no poussin.  Surprise, the waiter screwed up.  At this point, what was the point.  We got some homemade potato chips and shared the small portions of our entrees.  I was starving. 

Our 7 minutes were up, we got up and left.  No tip.  No nothing.  It was as if we dined and dashed.  Truly in all my years eating in restaurants in and around NYC, this performance beat all others by a long shot.  Too bad, they could always use another decent restaurant in mid-town Manhattan.

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Joanne Wilson Joanne Wilson loves food, books, and music. She lives in New York City. Her husband Fred and children Jessica, Emily, and Josh are bloggers too. More »

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