Bruno Jamais Restaurant Club
Had dinner at Bruno Jamais two nights ago. The space is really interesting-- from the street, it appears to be just another East Side townhouse-- you walk through a neat wine cellar and proceed through a huge automatic door and then are escorted professionally to your table.
That's when things start to fall apart.
White bean soup was good, as was foie gras terrine. Lobster caesar salad was basically this really succulent, sweet piece of lobster meat, gracelessly thrown atop a supermarket bag salad and overdressed. Note that appetizers are often more expensive than the entrees at Bruno Jamais.
Then came the meal. My father had seabass which was very nice. My mother and I had steak frites. The steak was a little tough, but more importantly it seemed to have a briney taste, almost like pastrami. It was coated/rubbed in a blend of spices that didn't do it for me.
Then there were the fries. They were, to sum up, inedibly salty. First I thought they were just dusted with salt before leaving the kitchen, that I could dig under the top layer of fries and get some less-salty ones. Not so. Every last french fry was literally coated with sea salt.
Toward the end of the meal, the waiter asked if everything was OK. I told him the fries were too salty and he asked if we wanted them replaced-- I said no, because we were largely done with the steaks. He said he would tell the chef-- and never returned. No apology, no free drink, no nothing.
In short, I would never return. It's a cool concept for a restaurant but the execution is poor. I wouldn't recommend it to friends.
I'm actually a huge fan. I live on the UES and as far as food goes, it's pretty good. The chef used to work as a line cook at Nobu and there are some standouts, like Lobster Bolognese and Risotto. Also, Sunday nights they have a very good deal on a half priced menu. It's definitely a different scene. More like an old-fashioned supper club.
Yes, it is a 'treat' to be sure. Go with the spirit that you are observing an odd subculture of NYC. Old, rich men and their Russian molls in tiny outfits; outta boro wannabe gangsters (as other poster mentioned) with gigantic watches and massive amounts of cologne. Prices are ridiculous, and the food unmemorable. The space though is beautiful. It's a great UES townhouse. I'm surprised it's still open, to be honest.
I would go, but just be prepared to approach it as 'dinner theater.' it'll be a hoot. I sorta wish I was going!