Optimistically Cautious

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New York City: Day 7

After leaving our luggage with the Pod Hotel staff, we walked to Bar Americain, one of Bobby Flay's three New York restaurants. Before Becco, before S'MAC, before any of the places I researched when it was decided that we were coming to New York, I knew I wanted to have brunch "with" Bobby Flay. In particular, I wanted to have a biscuit at one of his establishments - those of you who have seen him make one on Iron Chef America will know why.

We had some time to kill before our 11:30am reservation, so we loitered near Times Square for a while.

"Mack in the City"



"Pass the Cheer," I say



Mack disagrees

I wasn't sure what I was expecting the outside of Bar Americain to look like, but when we arrived, I can tell you I wasn't impressed. Red awnings alongside a non-descript business building? I expected more from you, Bobby Flay.

Outside Bar Americain

Once inside, we were greeted by the restaurant's host and swiftly brought to our table. The interior is exactly as pictured in the website - a mile-high ceiling, an impressive mirror-backed bar, and immaculate white linens. I have written in the past about my very narrow definition of the atmosphere that makes a good brunch, and although the dining room was grand, I can't help but think such formality and scale would have worked better for a nice dinner as opposed to a weekend breakfast.

The bar

Mack

Showing off the menu

I had known for weeks what I wanted to order (Miss Stephanie's Biscuits & Cream Gravy, Artisanal Ham, Sausage & Scrambled Eggs), while Mack decided on the Open-Face Omelette with Fire-Roasted Peppers, Wild Mushrooms, Goat Cheese and Parsley.

Unfortunately, we found that the service wasn't as attentive as what we had received at either Becco and Gramercy Tavern. Mack also wasn't floored at the fact that his orange juice was priced at $4.50 per glass (but then again, we did find out that juice in New York was expensive, period).

The food - Mack's omelette was essentially a baked egg dish with a fancy name, while mine was presented exactly as advertised. The biscuit was the best thing on the plate - crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. The gravy was rich, and not a bad garnish on the creamy eggs, but I could have done without the meats. The ham was much too salty, and the sausage patties were tough and chewy, a result of being overcooked.

Mack's Omelette

Miss Stephanie's fixings (my assumption is that the "Stephanie" referenced is his wife, as she loves his buttermilk biscuits)

I can't say that I was wholly disappointed in my experience at Bar Americain, but it didn't quite live up to my (admittedly high) expectations. I would go back, but probably for lunch or dinner instead.

We took the "scenic route" back to our hotel - partly because we had some time but also partly because we didn't want to leave.

Radio City Music Hall (there were always masses of people around the building; even when there wasn't a show on)

Mack being silly

The Waldorf...one more time

We decided in the end to take a taxi to LaGuardia (or "shady town car" as arranged for us by the hotel staff), which made the end of our trip transfer as efficient as our arrival. Besides a slight delay in Ottawa, we made it back to Edmonton without any trouble whatsoever.

In documenting my trip to New York, I have had time to think about not only what we were able to see, but to take note of what we didn't. This exercise has brought me to the realization that we left so much untouched that I can't quite say that we did the city justice (if one assumes that a tourist can ever really "know" a city well enough to make adequate judgments). In that regard, I see the potential of so much more of the city to discover that a return trip is not only desired, but necessary.

E.B. White, in an essay titled "Here is New York", writes, "New York is nothing like Paris; it is nothing like London; and it is not Spokane multiplied by sixty, or Detroit multiplied by four. It is by all odds the loftiest of cities." I have no other words.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Vitality said...

Your pictures make me want to go for a visit! I see new sights that weren't there years ago. Thanks for sharing.

January 2, 2008 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger Gravitas said...

You're welcome. Thanks for reading!

January 2, 2008 at 7:14 PM  

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