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Baton Rouge (Harlem-145 St) Report (LONG)

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Ora May 16, 2006 02:49 PM

Baton Rouge is a recent entry to to the Harlem upscale dining scene by the poepl who brought us Mobays (I love Mobays @ 125 St). Physically, it is a cute, homey spot in a well renovated multi-floor Brownstone. The rear courtyard is quite a nice hideawy. The food concept is new Orleans Cuisine. I had such high hopes for this place we held our Mother's Day dinner there. It was a disaster in terms of food taste and service. The food dosn't live up the physical quaintness of the place at all. My Salmon was not good at all and the grade of the Salmon seemed supermarket quality. The cashew rice and spinach sides were completely flavorless. The service was inattentive and clueless. On the way out I spoke to some other patrons who thouight their meal was lackluster and too expensive and they commented on the very slow service they received. Our server even got our bill wrong. In sum, sadly, I cannot recommend this restaurant as there are far better choices in the Harlem market. We regretted having our special occasion meal there.

PS--Oddly, our server told us that Food Network will be filming a show there--I guess due to the Brownstone feeling of the place which is nice. I hope they aren't using the Chef we had on Mother's Day---the food is simply not good, uninspired and not plated well at all.

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  1. s
    Sugar Hill May 17, 2006 01:17 PM

    I keep hearing that the food is horrible there. Maybe someone some email the owners so they are aware of the bad reputation their business is getting. It would be shame to lose that space again. Brownstone used to be so popular at one time.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sugar Hill
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      Ora May 17, 2006 02:27 PM

      Hi Freddie--Thanks for the shout out. I don't live up there, but I love going uptown for flavor a few times a month. I want to try Perks next. OK--On Mobays--dont even attempt it on prime nights--Fri and Sat--unless you go EARLY. It gets mobbed and its small. On off week nights its quite sane and enjoyable. They have good live music almost every night. The food is a solid good but it is expensive for what it is due to ambiance and live music factored. I love the corn muffin and pieapple sauce they give when you sit for a meal. The mixed drinks are very good as well--but expensive. It has a supper club vibe. The fish dish portions are tiny. But the regular soul food portions are average portion and well prepared. The BBQ is just OK--Rack and Soul's is better tasting.
      Hope this helps.

      Re: Baton Rouge--I did consider calling the owner, but I figured it wouldn't matter. Surely they must know their problems. How can the same people from Mobay's have anything to do with that disaster of a restaurant. They only got the decor right. After the fact I asked around--NO ONE likes Baton Rouge. I didn't know this before hand or wouldn't have taken my Mom & Sis there--I am know for picking great spots--I was embarassed by the whole thing. So sad, because I just love the brownstone atmosphere itself. I was hoping it would be like going to grannie's, like Miss Mamie's or Maude's. I toned down my review of them to be honest. The food was just NOT good at all. The service was appalling. The place was booked solid for Mother's Day so I thought it was a find. None of the other patrons were happy with Baton Rouge that evening. Sad...
      I love the concept of upscale dining in Harlem to relive that great history--Baton Rouge fails miserably in food and service.

      1. re: Ora
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        Sugar May 17, 2006 03:50 PM

        Earl Monroe's might have been a better choice. I've heard good reviews come from there. Also Melba's is borderline. I've heard good and about about them.

        1. re: Ora
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          Foodlyaware Oct 6, 2006 05:05 PM

          Hi Ora--Re. Baton Rouge, you are working with dated information when it comes to Baton Rouge, it is the most deligtful addition, not just to Sugar Hill but to all of Harlem and most important the food is over the top fabulous, especially the abundance of fresh, tasty,seafood offerings. I was also there on Mother's Day, and Baton Rouge performed as all restaurants do on Mother's Day, they tried to hold up to incredible demand. Most of my friends had a fine experience that day some didn't. All that have returned in the past several months give Baton Rouge rave reviews. My husband and I go weekly, it's convenient, it's elegant and not expensive, from the stuffed pork chops, to Mardi Gras Seafood Platter, to the Pecan Crusted Catfish, the dishes are heavenly. Ora, you are working with 6 month old information, journey back to Baton Rouge, be amazed as I am and give me a post back.

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        freddie May 17, 2006 01:27 PM

        thanks for your uptown report! (we need more on this board, so again, thanks).

        can you tell me more about what you love about mobays? it's on the expensive side, and i'd love to hear more before planning a splurge there

        1. Uptownflavor Sep 15, 2006 08:01 PM

          Ora, thank you so much for this honest review of Baton Rouge! I also have heard that the food is not good AT ALL and the drinks are eh. Like you I LOVE MoBays and feel that Baton Rouge has the potential to outshine them with either the right chef or the right cuisine or possibly both. Their prices are WELL above the going rate for the area and the food and experience simply do not live up to the price IMO. Not that I am a food critic but I know a good dining experience when I have it. I won't go into details about the what was wrong just yet. I am trying to find a way to write a fair review of the place because I really wanted to like them. I am like you...at a loss as to how the other restuarants can be doing such a great job and this one is suffering. Too much on their plates or simply just a bad chef?

          I also agree that the ambiance of the place can be a gem in Harlem but the whole experience needs to go hand in hand.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Uptownflavor
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            Foodlyaware Oct 6, 2006 05:15 PM

            Hi Uptown flavor--May I suggest that you journey to Baton Rouge and judge for yourself. The line of reviews as I see it, only refer to one visit on Mother's Day, 5 month's ago. Let me say that whatever kitchen overhall that was necessary, it has been done. Baton Rouge has some of the best food that you will find anywhere in New York City, not just limited to Harlem. My husband and I are regulars at Baton Rouge, the bad reputation, relates to the prior owners, Sugar Hill Bistro, that sadly went down after a fine start. I have had many private dinner parties for family and friends in Baton Rouge's private dining rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor, the service is always crisp and the food grand, don't miss the Mardi Gras, Seafood Platter.

            1. re: Foodlyaware
              Uptownflavor Oct 7, 2006 04:10 AM

              Hi Food...actually I DIDjourney to Baton Rouge (which actually isn't too far away from where I live). Did you read my post? Matter of fact, I never heard complaints about the food at the Bistro. My companion and I HATED the food at B.R. The drinks were also very overprices and not up-to-par. The ambiance is nice but that doesn't make up for overpriced food and drinks that don't live up to their standards. Sorry if you disagree but we had a negative experience and don't plan to give them another try. That is NOT to say that we don't LOVE MoBays (the sister restuarant on 125th St.) with the same owners. Nothing personal...I just know Creole/Lousiana cooking since my family is from down there.

              1. re: Uptownflavor
                Ora Oct 7, 2006 05:00 AM

                Uptown, I agree with you, sadly the reports are that Baton Rouge has not improved the kitchen or service. Shame, the venue itself is lovely. There is clear concensus at this point.

                I can recommend Melba's, however, in particular the beef short rib is deeply flavorful. Nice spot for a mellow cocktail. Just tried it earlier this week--I look forward to returning. Looking forward to visiting Society across the street.

                1. re: Ora
                  Uptownflavor Oct 7, 2006 04:18 PM

                  I also had the short ribs at Melba's with the tres mac and cheese and collards (that were generously seasoned for a change) and I was blown away! The bad reports that people have been giving the restaurant are unfounded. Perhaps all of their dishes are not the same quality but I know that I will be giving my business to Melba's whenever I want a delicious meal! Thanks for chiming in again.

          2. Ora Oct 7, 2006 04:25 PM

            Uptown--we agree on Melba's, while not all dishes standout, there are a couple of gems on the menu, short ribs is the best dish IMO.

            Have you tried Society, Perks, Revival, Native? Any place else I need to try. What's the East Harlem scene like these days? I love what I see happening up there. Many new places springing up everyday...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Ora
              Uptownflavor Oct 10, 2006 01:06 PM

              From what I understand Revival has the best brunch in town. I have heard many negative reports about Native however. Don't get over to E. Harlem but there are plenty of bloggers that live in the area and can probably recommend a few places. I spoke to a co-worker who lives in E. Harlem and she says the Mexican food is phenomenal.

              1. re: Uptownflavor
                Ora Oct 10, 2006 02:19 PM

                Yes--116 St from Park Ave (and surrounding streets) heading east has developed a deep concentration of Mex spots. Seems the Puerto Rican and Dominican places are dwindling in that area. I've been looking to sample tres leches cake, perhaps I should head in that direction...

                1. re: Ora
                  Uptownflavor Oct 19, 2006 01:59 AM

                  Check the board first...seems someone mentioned the best place to try a tres leches cake in a older thread.

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