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Mar 22, 2006 11:12 PM

Applewood over-rated

  • s

I went to Applewood with semi-high expectations after hearing so much hype about it and seeing it ranked as one of Brooklyn's 5 best in some poll. What a disappointment. I feel that this restaurant is not sure what it wants to be.

If it's trying to be an unassuming neighborhood restaurant as suggested by the country furniture, cramped seating, high noise level, and lack of tablecloths, then I think it fails. The portions for a glass of wine and entree are quite small yet the prices for both are amongst the highest in the neighborhood. I can get larger portions of equal or better quality food in a nicer environment and for a lower price at multiple places two blocks away on 5th avenue. The pretense of certain things was completely contradictory to the casual ambiance they were going for. Serving just two pieces of bread out of an oversize picnic basket, and pouring water out of glass milk bottles is just pretentious. I felt like I was being skimped throughout the entire dinner and getting 50% of an experience that was priced at 150% of its real value.

If it's trying to be a more elegant and higher quality place as suggested by the sleek menu that changes daily, the offering of a tasting menu paired with wine, and the high prices, then add some simple tablecloths, bring down the noise level, space out the seating, and step up the service.

In short, too many contradictions and not worth the high prices.

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    Another Slope Foodie

    Slope Foodie-

    So sorry you feel that way. I'veeaten at Applewood maybe 5 or 6 times over the last year and find the mix you speak of *exactly* the reason I go back.

    Why should excellent food come with tablecloths? Why should a daily changing menu only be part of a restaurant with hushed tones. I love the energy of the place.

    And pretentious? Pouring water out of a glass milk bottle isn't "pretentious"... it maybe overly "cute" but it's the exact *opposite* of pretentious.

    Speaking of water, one of my favorite things about Applewood is that I don't recall ever being asked if I want tap or bottled water -- they know that NYC water tastes great so they don't try to upsell me!

    In the end they clearly have a strong local following -- they've been bursting at the seams for months. Thanks for sharing your opinion and if you don't care for what they have to offer it's a good thing you have so many choices in the area!


    2 Replies
    1. re: Another Slope Foodie

      That's funny. We actually were asked if we wanted bottled or regular water. This started a conversation as to why do restaurants even bother asking that? Who asks for bottled water anyways? I learned that some people have allergies or are quite particular about their water.

      1. re: Another Slope Foodie

        i still find applewood to be absolutely excellent. service is friendly (nearly casual) but totally competent. i think the female owner is very smart in the way she balances being casual and friendly with being professional.

        the food is excellent. i went to craft the other night and their short rib entree didnt hold a candle to applewood's. the price is decent for the quality.

      2. I know what you mean, but I am pretty fond of the food. I think the place is perfectly Park SlopeĀ—upscale and expensive with a homey face, not too challenging, but comfortable enough. Some days they even throw in a cute baby to make the package complete! Successful people from Park Slope who are content with their lives are TOTALLY at home there. But again, it is yummy, so whatever.......

        1 Reply
        1. re: Gnosh

          "Successful people from Park Slope who are content with their lives are TOTALLY at home there."


        2. On of the reasons I like applewood is that they don't slop huge portions on the plate - Their food is unusually rich and I think they put just enough of it on the plate to leave you sated, but not stuffed.

          Re: the baby - I don't mind it. Being a food professional with children, I realize that owning a restaurant is like having another child - it takes up all your time and it's tough to divide your time between the 2. They're producing great food there, so if they want to do it with a baby in tow, more power to them!

          2 Replies
          1. re: jerry j.

            The baby in tow as an accessory, the often seen breast feeding at the dinner table.. Yuk!
            One doesn't want to pay those prices for a low class hippie kind of experience.
            When we go out to dinner we are looking for an adult experience. The pretentious pseuso-"family" ambiance just doesn't work in a pretentiously "upscale" restaurant.
            It is highly over rated for what it is.
            For fine food in a lovely setting try CONVIVIUM OSTERIA or GARDEN CAFE.

            1. re: JPANDA

              We're here to discuss chow, not the appropriateness of babies in restaurants or breast-feeding. We're removing off topic responses so please, keep the responses about chow. Thanks.

          2. You say "I can get larger portions of equal or better quality food in a nicer environment and for a lower price at multiple places two blocks away on 5th avenue."

            Where might that be?

            7 Replies
            1. re: Cheapskate

              Stone Park Cafe, Al di La. Hell, even Olive Vine.

              1. re: slope foodie

                I haven't eaten at Stone park but I've eaten at Al Di La multiple times. If you have similar sized meal at both places the total bills (Applewood vs. Al Di La) will be comparable.

                1. re: Bob Martinez

                  Haven't been yet, but isn't Little Dishes supposed to have big portions?

                  I agree about Al Di La portions being similarly small.

                  As for other upscale(ish) restaurants with well-sized portions, how about Stone Park, Rosewater and Blue Ribbon?

                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                    two glasses of wine, one appetizer and two entrees came to $79 without tip at Applewood.

                    At Al di La, this would be more in the $60 range. And they'd actually bring you more bread through the meal.

                    1. re: slope foodie

                      i had a 1/2 bottle of bordeaux, 2 appetizers, 1 cheese plate, 1 entree, and 1 dessert...$89 total...

                      very reasonable

                  2. re: slope foodie

                    The quality and preperation at Stone Park does not come close to Applewood. I've actually found Stone Park to be quite ordinary and unremarkable. In order for simple food to be extrodinary, a restaurant has to master the preperation, without being sloppy and use top notch ingedients. Stone Park does none of this.


                    1. re: slope foodie

                      Olive Vine is not even on the same planet as Applewood.

                  3. "I can get larger portions of equal or better quality food in a nicer environment and for a lower price at multiple places two blocks away on 5th avenue"