Artisanal...."are u kidding me?"
I love my chowhounds but where did it go wrong for this place? I'm in NYC for the week and after much study of all you great hounds I made my reservations. For my third night it was to be Artisanal. I am so glad I have two more days. I need to re-invigorate my palate and try and brush off one of the worst meals (for the money) I have ever had!
You told me it was about cheese, so I ordered Cheese. And all I got was "we are out of that and out of this" and when they brought me what they had it was five small lonley pieces of oddly cut cheeses. Worst of all...nothing to stimulate the flavors of the cheese. No honey, fruits or homemade jams.
You told me to get the gougures. I did and they were very well made but cold!
You told me the wine list was superb. It was but I never received my selected glass when the cheese arrived. I waited and waited hoping I would have wine with cheese. But No...at Artisanal, its here is the cheese........"are you finished?"...."here is your wine"
Finally I must comment on the dining room. I will leave you with this. I feel sorry for the young couple who had just received their overpriced bottle of wine only to have it end up in the lap of the lady caused by the buttocks of the other lady trying to squeeze into her sardine can like seat.
I'm affraid Zagat got it right. Zagat rated it a 23. If you know Zagat a 23 to me equals crappola!
Artisinal recieved a 23!
By the way, Sfoglia, Lupa, OTTO, Aburiya are all fantastic! Thanks for the great ones.
I also had a good experience at Artisanal. Didn't love it. The lively and noisy ambience of a French bistro is rarely my first choice for dinner. Our favorite was the cheesecake dessert with a praline crust. My friend had the prix fixe which was a great deal and she liked it alot. I could take or leave the chicken under brick. We didn't try the fondue.
"The lively and noisy ambience of a French bistro is rarely my first choice for dinner."
You are too kind. I don't think I have ever experienced Artisanal as "lively and noisy" like my favorite bistros in Paris. Rather squished and deafening -- like an American business proposition. Food would have been ok for the price if they cut the number of tables in half and kept the same number of staff.
I took some cheese home from the take-out counter recently. Place was empty pre-lunch and I had the full attention of the counterperson who explained how carefully they treat their cheeses and that is why I should pay the premium for cheeses that I could get cheaper at Fairway. I was doing a big cheese thing and in my errand run I had cheese from Fairway and Dean and DeLuca as well--all domestic, all artisanal. Artisanal (the restaurant) cheeses were the least interesting and most expensive.
I didn't like Artisinal either. The cheese fondue was bland and had a plasticky texture. The killer for me was when they brought my steak-frites under a plate cover. The fries under the cover too. Because of the steam build-up, the fries were completely limp and soggy. Gross.There were a few things which ended up on the floor when I was there too.
I definitely agree with you on that. I went for the last week of restaurant week - and although that is usually not a good time to try a restaurant, i was definitely not happy. Bad food - my taboouli accompaniment for the moroccan salmon was too sour to eat, moroccan glaze too sweet) service was poor (waiter never explained the cheese plate selections), and the tables were too tightly packed.
Sorry you disliked Artisanal -- like the other poster, I have had nothing but good experiences there, including one trip in the middle of a blizzard. Food and service have always been good (they even changed the size of our order of mussels to the appetizer size because we were too full from everything else to eat the entree size). And they were incredibly apologetic and concerned on another trip when my co-worker who has some sort of non-serious seafood allergy mistakenly ate anchovies.
As for your complaint about the size of the table and people squeezing in awkwardly -- relatively few restaurants in this city have the sort of space between the tables found in other cities. Much of the tastiest food is found in places that are significantly smaller and more cramped than Artisanal -- if you really want to enjoy eating in this city, you'll have to forgive this flaw.
I'm so surprised to read your post. I've been there twice and had very good meals both times. The first time we had an ethereal salad of watermelon and feta that still haunts me with its goodness. The fondue was okay (but I'm not a big fan of fondue in general) but everything else was wonderful. Went back recently for lunch and had plate of cheeses paired with wines. Admittedly, the service wasn't great, but the wines and cheese combinations more than made up for it. I can't wait to go again.
I am sure they have dishes that are worth while. But for me I will not waste my time and money on "whats if's"
There is nothing like a great pairing of wine and cheese. But I can go to Whole Foods and get a great pair for a fraciton of the price and enjoy it in a place that is not so cramped its "asses to elbows"