ROYALE - "out of burgers" at 8pm
admittedly, the ny times alerted me of the existence of Royale, and I'm always up for a new entry into the NYC burger pantheon.
Really liked the set-up, vibe, etc.
Unfortunately, no burgers to sample.
This brings up an interesting question: If you're a Manhattan restaurateur and you receive a great review similar to the one that Peter Meehan gave to Royale in the Times, don't you immediately make sure that you increase your meat order for hamburgers?
The place was packed and our waitress indicated that it was a dramatic difference compared to prior to the review...
I hope I get to try their burger soon.
Either nobody there reads the "NY Times," or it's an obvious case of extremely poor management.
I mentioned once in another thread that my daughter and a friend went to Burgers & Cupcakes for dinner a couple of months ago, and when it came time for dessert, their server informed them there were no cupcakes. They had run out. As my daughter put it, "Your name is Burgers & *Cupcakes* and you run out of cupcakes?!!" To say she was pissed is putting it mildly. And, btw, this happened without any kind of write-up in a major newspaper.
I can't say I'm surprised. If I read a positive NY Times review about a restaurant I've wanted to try, I usually avoid it for the next month or two to let the crowds die down.
You also have to realize it was one day after the review came out it. The bar probably had no idea if the review was going to positive at all, let alone pretty glowing. Plus, I'm sure its hard to estimate how much of an effect a review will have on a bar on Avenue C after one day. Maybe they increased their meat order 500% and it still wasn't enough or they couldn't get their supplier to increase their order that much in one day.
As pissed off as I'd be, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt this time. If this happened again at any point after this week, then I'd never go back.
I have a friend who owns a couple of restaurants. Based on my conversations with him, it is very difficult, especially at the beginning of a business, to predict demand. This is true even in the wake of favorable publicity. If you over-order, especially meat, you could end up losing a significant amount of money.
It's not always that easy. The restaurant probably doesn't not have enough refrideration storage to serve 200 burgers a night. You can't just throw bags of raw meat in the back on the floor. Spotted Pig goes through over HALF A TON of burgers a week. Ramping up for the kind of demand that a NY Times review can bring is a lot more complex than add 10 lbs of ground chuck to your fresh direct order. I went there before the review and the guys were serving maybe a couple dozen a night. I'd give em a week or two to sort it out.
It has been packed for some time. It was packed before that review. That's why I've never been in there. I guess the previous sardines were boozing, not eating.
Know what? Don't bother. Went Sunday around 7, plenty of tables and burgers in stock. Whatever their traffic was before the NYT review, I can't imagine the service being slower. And the burger...
I'll start from the outside in. The bun was toasted. Theoretically, a nice touch, but the sesame bun they used was dry and had the texture of stale bread. The result was oddly that it soaked none of the meat's juices (which the meat sorely needed; read on). The lettuce was pretty, but utterly useless. Tomato, not ripe. Good onions, but how hard is that? I'm not well versed in pickles, but they were wrong. They lacked the tangy and tart touch that makes them an asset to a burger. Just distracting. The bacon was rubbery and flavorless. The cheese--only option is American--ended up in the basket with the juices. Speaking of juices, or lack thereof, the patty was the consistency of meatloaf. Not bad, but not good for a hamburger. Just crumbly, dry and boring. Supposedly, Royale is pretty accurate when cooking the burger to order. My medium-rare was very much a medium (if not medium-well). My friend's medium a definite medium-well (all grey).
Lure is next.