Although I haven't been to Clementine in about six months I have eaten there several times. I have some qualifying statements. The following can be said once you are seated. The food is very good and even could be considered reasonably priced. The wine list is interesting and some bargains can be found. I have loved the spicy tuna tartate appetizer and the cod entree. Service is good in the dining room.
At the end of the day the food is the most important part, but the overall experience does count too. Every time I have waited to be seated for 45-60 minutes past my reservation. This seems to be a consistent them to their reservation policy. I excuse this by only going with people who are comfortable with sitting and having a drink or two at the bar before dinner. If they are not then we go somewhere else. The food is quite good though.
I've been to Clementine (5th Ave/8th st) around five times tho' not in the last few months. When it first opened it was a little chaotic to say the least. More recently, quieter and more organized. I've always liked the food. Cod was cooked to prefection. Crispy skin, and moist fish on really good mashed pots. One app that was memorable was dumplings with lobster, I believe. We even had thanksgiving meal there last year, and the four of us enjoyed it. If you go, ask for a table in the main dining room rather than in the smaller one by the front door. The main dining room beyond the bar is attractive.
They have a home delivery service called kumquat that gets written up now and then. Anyone tried it?
re: yvonne johnson
i used to work there, back in the days when it was still hot, but starting to cool down a bit. been there a couple of times since, though not in the last year. words i've heard is that while the kitchen still produces really good food, things are getting dicey. seems the one fifth avenue curse might well finish clementine off in the near future. (there was a long string of ambitious, yet ultimately unsuccessful places in that space before john schenk, chef/owner - though i also heard that while he's still in the kitchen, he sold his stake in the place - came along). that said, i'd recommend the stuffed squid appetizer, the cod, the skate, the spicy pork loin, and the lamb chops. desserts? they've gone through a few pastry chefs since i was last there, but they were all pretty decent. please give a report after you visit.
re: yvonne johnson
I tried Kumquat several times when they first started offering this take-out service quite a while ago (must be almost two years).
The nice thing about it was that it definitely was restaurant food, not your garden variety take-out. The bad thing about it was that if there was a problem, there was no waiter around to complain to -- and there usually were problems.
What often happened was that the dish that I received would be different from the dish I ordered or that which was printed on a recent menu. The sauce would be different or omitted, etc. Beyond that frustration, the food was really quite good and reasonalbly priced. One standout in particular was a mac and cheese made with chevre - really YUM.
The desserts were the ifiest. Never bad, but NEVER delivered the way they were described.