Conversation in the "happy" thread made me think of this. Not last night, but still relevant.
The wife and I went to Battersby in Carroll Gardens this week. Hugely hyped restaurant. They just started taking reservations for the tasting menu and we have a friend who is leaving the city who really wanted to go there, so we finally decided to pull the trigger.
The food was excellent, but we were on the whole not impressed. It's a very small, Brooklyn neighborhood type place with probably 25 seats max. The two chefs are in a tiny open kitchen cooking everything themselves, which I very much appreciate.
Our problem was that it was trying to be something that it was not. The tasting menu was very much trying to be on the level of the big Michelin-starred restaurants. Any of the individual dishes were certainly on that level, but the whole was less than the sum of its parts:
- We showed up on time for our reservations and were told that a bunch of people before us had come in late and so it would be 45 minutes before we could be seated. If reservations are coming in so late that it's offsetting other confirmed reservations by 45 minutes, you need to tell them tough luck. We were not happy about this.
- Service was, on the whole, spotty.
- The timing of the dishes was weird. We'd go 30 minutes with nothing, then get a bunch of dishes one after another with no time to appreciate them.
- Many of the dishes were very, very similar. I lost count of how many seared white fish over fava beans/asparagus/whatever springy puree type thing we had.
All this plus a bit of wine came to $300 for my wife and I which, while clearly less than the big Michelin-starred places, is not exactly cheap. It puts it into a weird price range--too much for random going out, but expensive enough where, at that price, I'm going to spend a bit more and get the whole nine yards.
Basically, it was a small neighborhood place trying to do the technical-masterpiece tasting menu, but not being able to execute the non-cooking parts of that. I think that had we been in there and just ordered an appetizer, entree, and dessert, it would have been excellent. Problem is, it is completely impossible to get in there to do that.