Is it me or do these hat mannequins look abused? - 7th Ave
The Breslin on 29th and Broadway, known as the hip gastropub restaurant attached to the too-cool-for-school Ace hotel, which totally brought a new level of interest into the midtown west neighborhood known for its kinda shady looking wholesale cellphone, wig, and accessory/jewelry stores.
So why am I bringing up The Breslin? After being open for more than two years, I finally tried it out for a business lunch. Yes, I'm late to the scene, but give me a break there are too many restaurants in NYC to keep up with! I was expecting a cool, British-y pub atmosphere and plenty of meat options. What I didn't want to deal with was ATTITUDE! And so...
My power-lunch guest and I arrived at 12 pm on the dot because they don't take reservations, and were greeted by a smiling hostess who really did look happy to seat us. On the way to our table we passed a large group of about 10 adults who were wearing top hats over long hair and other weird vaudeville accessories--um...what? This was definitely not a typical business lunch spot, which I appreciate!
After drooling over the menu for about ten minutes at our table, we realized we had a lot of questions and also wanted to try EVERYTHING (and our waiter was taking a while to visit us). Then he arrived: he was skinny, tall and wearing tight pants, dark-rimmed plastic glasses and a green T-shirt that had faded writing on it. "Hi," he said in a low voice with an emotionless face, "D'you know what you want?"
As I looked at him, I wondered if he was depressed, bored, or still getting used to the role of being someone who is supposed to get people excited about eating rather than slitting their wrists.
"Actually, we have some questions. What are the scrumpets?" I said.
He sighed. "Fried braised lamb like chicken fingers with a side of mint vinegar dipping sauce," replied Mr. Kill Me Now without blinking or smiling. His mouth barely even opened actually!
I ignored his doomsday demeanor and responded, "Sounds delish! And what about the sauerkraut stew? I like sauerkraut but--"
"It's good [his eyebrows arched slightly to show some emotion finally!] and it's not too heavy on the sauerkraut. The kielbasa sausage is cut up inside the stew along with other vegetables."
Although there wasn't much convincing on his part, I was sold and so was my friend. We ordered those two items to share, plus the oven baked three-cheese sandwich.
While stuffing my face on our delish meal, I realized at one point that Mr. Kill Me Now had not checked in on us. He had disappeared. Finally a manager-like woman came to our table and asked how things were. We told her that we needed the check and I almost asked her if our waiter was still alive. I left a descent tip nonetheless since I do want to return. It's New York, so I'm not expecting the world's best service in places like these, but really--when you have bored servers it makes you wonder how much the chefs are paying attention in the kitchen!