Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jan 29, 2007 05:11 AM

Restaurant Week/ Firebird disappointment

Went to Firebird on Friday as part of restaurant week. The two hosts were exceptional. They greeted us promptly, were very courteous and remembered my name at the end of the meal when they asked me if everything was fine. Unfortunately, that’s all I can say positively about our experience. Let me start with the food. I started with what we believe was a cream of chestnut soup, although we heard another waiter tell another table something else. I think we would have understood better if either waiter hadn’t seemed totally put out for having to move their jaws. It was fine if unexceptional but then, what is one to expect from cream of chestnut. My girlfriend got the perogi which was dry and flavorless but came with the tiniest dollop of delicious sour cream.

At this point I had asked for a wine list and 45 seconds after receiving it had been asked for it back… twice. So relinquished it without having picked a wine. Now, I understand that Firebird, despite what seems to me to be bland, dry, totally uninspired food considers itself to be a high class, high end establishment. But, to serve a wine list with only one bottle under 40$ seems like a little overkill. Then to be out of the Bogeda Norton Malbec ($41 on the menu, $8 at my local wine shop) and to bring over a “just in, lovely bottle of Malbec for only $64” really took the cork out of the night. Not to mention at the ratio of the Norton, the offered bottle at $64 would have been a $12.50 bottle of wine. So, upon my third inspection of the wine list we ended up with a twist cap, pretty bad bottle of Cab Sav from New Zealand for $44.

On to the mains. We were both ordering from the restaurant week menu, and I’ll get to this in a moment. I had the beef stroganoff, disgusting, wet, overcooked and undelicious. Served with an even smaller dollop of delicious sour cream. My girlfriend had the chicken kiev, which wasn’t bad, certainly was filling, but really was nothing remotely special. It did come with a tiny plate of fantastic blanched vegetables and a potato croquet that we were of mixed opinion on. She liked it, I think in comparison to the other things on the table. I thought it was dry, mushy and not very good.

To make matters worse, no sooner had we taken out last bites, but the plates were swept away and desert flung in front of us in tremendous hurry. The menu read for this course:


Chocolate something

Oh the myth of choice!

The bill came to over $120.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. As for restaurant week, why would a restaurant participate and then so clearly resent it, and thus put its worst foot forward? It seems to me like they should accept significantly reduced profits for that week. They should not serve their worst dishes, done extra poorly but rather excel. The point to me is to get lots of people raving about your establishment. “Worth every penny.” This experience… they should have paid me.

    My suggestion, make a reservation at Firebird. Go. Tell the host as you get there that you’ll need to cancel. He will be very polite and you will have had the best of Firebird.

    1. Oh no! I am going there for dinner later this week because I couldn't get any other reservations... I had wanted to take my friend out for a special belated birthday celebration. From your review, this doesn't sound like the type of place for us, but what places are still open for Friday dinner would work? IIRC, there wasn't much left that was actually a good deal for RW. Anyone else go to Firebird for RW and want to share their experiences?

      1. I also went to Firebird for RW for a friend's birthday. I had low expectations before we walked in, hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Everything, from the old bread (I have never had such bad bread at a restaurant, much less a place like Firebird), the oily, flavorless cream of chestnut soup (basically oil in chestnut puree), overcooked pierogies, and overcooked salmon (in gloppy phyllo dough) was below par for the price (even at the "bargain" price of 35). The beef stroganoff was the only decent-tasting item, but it was nowhere near as good as Veselka's (my fave). The non-chocolate dessert was a joke - it was basically slices of jam rollups with some sort of whipped cream. I would not be surprised if people had similar experiences. Take your reservation elsewhere - my friends and I felt gypped at the end of the meal. Why offer a RW menu if the food tastes like airline food?

        1. Was recently to Firebird for a non-RW dinner--and I have to say I was every bit as unimpressed as all the other posters on this thread. While the room is lovely, the food was mediocre at best, and the service was awful. We had a group of 11, and main courses were brought out for about half the group....then a 10 minute wait for the others to be served. No excuse for that kind of lack of decent service at a place charging those prices.