28 Degrees disappointment (long)
A few months ago I had a good cocktail at 28 Degrees - and encouraged by this we decided to head back and try the place out for dinner this weekend. All I can say is that it was a major disappointment. Although reviews here made it clear the food was nothing spectacular, I still expected something better given all of the effort that's gone into the bar there. Sadly it was all style and no substance - and even the style is somewhat dubious
Warning bells were going off as soon as we entered. The decor is just over the top, trying oh-so-hard to be hip and happening, but it feels stuck in the 1999 dot-com boom. Even the bad house music pumping over the sound system was terribly dated. Inexplicably they would also occasionally show a MUSIC VIDEO on the projection screen - what's up with that? The whole thing just made me sad.
Started off with an attempt to order cocktails. Given the reputation of the bar I wanted to test them a bit and ordered a Sazerac. The server had never heard of it, but asked the bartender and -- get this -- they didn't know how to make one. Strike one. OK, so how about an old fashioned? If done right could be a good indicator of the bar's prowess. Nope, the bar apparently was out of maraschino cherries and didn't have any sugar cubes ... huh? Strike two! OK, so I fell back to a Manhattan, which was done well, though a bit sweet for my taste. DP had the honey lavender martini, done with Hendrick's - which I tasted and was pretty nice.
The food, though, was just awful beyond words. We were shocked at how poorly executed it was from start to finish, and yet the place was packed. 28 Degrees seems like the kind of place where people who don't know anything about food or cocktails go out to feel cool and look cool. Sigh. Anyway, so back to the food - strike three, by the way - started with the "spicy Maine crab tacos" which turned out to be refrigerator-cold flecks of crabmeat (I guess) mixed with some kind of creamy cilantro sauce and not spicy in the least. And get this - the "taco" was literally an Old El Paso crispy taco shell, somewhat soggy and also cold - to cop a line from Andy Samberg "That's NOT what I call a taco!" Next course: pea tendril salad with goat cheese; it was fine, nothing to write home about. Third course - prosciutto and parmesan flatbread pizza. It came out lukewarm, somewhat dry, and WAY too salty - we both recoiled at the amount of salt loaded on there. OK, so given the toppings you'd expect it to be a little salty, sure, but not like this. Fourth - seared scallops, also too salty, also lukewarm. Last course was the coup de grace - pulled pork BBQ "sliders" served with homemade chips. These were also too cold, the buns completely soggy, the meat drenched in some kind of awful BBQ sauce that tasted like it came from a bottle - and the chips were limp, cold, and greasy. Thankfully we got out of there before they could offer us dessert.
Ah, I would rather forget the whole thing happened. We really should have known better, of course, to even try to take a place seriously that seems to be all about how beautiful the space and the people are and pays no attention to the quality of the food.
re: MC Slim JB
That's sad. I figured out early on that it's better to stick to the house cocktail menu----or the fairly nicely put-together wines-by-the-glass list. Their bartending staff are clueless.
But the food I've had has always been pretty well executed---the scallops included. And hot.
I hope it was just an off night.
That's too bad. I enjoyed going there last summer for dollar oysters from 5-7PM - nice on a hot day when I wanted to gorge myself on mollusks and bellinis.
Actually, the photo in my avatar is of me doing exactly that, enjoying fresh oyster liquor.