Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Dec 29, 2007 02:58 PM

Back Forty - A Disappointment

Had dinner last night at Back Forty and was disappointed.

We were seated at a two-top table in the back room which was great. The interior had a cool, relaxed, 'farmhouse' feel which we liked as well. We ordered a couple of beers and felt good about checking out Back Forty. However, as soon as the waitress came to our table, the problems began. We had a really aggressive waitress who stopped by every 30 seconds to see if we were ready to order. We felt like saying "Back off and lets us look at the menu!". My friend ordered a shrimp appetizer (with heads on for anyone squeamish...) which he said was 'okay'. He also ordered the pork sausages on a bed of red cabbage ($15.00). When the sausages came out, we were shocked at how small they were! We both thought they would have made a nice appetizer, but were certainly not enough for your average guy. I ordered the burger ($10.00 + $2.00 for cheese) with a side of fries ($5.00). I requested that the burger be done 'medium' and it arrived extremely well done wasn't very flavorful. It was also on the small side with bun much larger than the hamburger patty. The only thing I liked about the burger was the bun, which was soft, with just a bit of bite to it. I'm not a fan of hard crusty hamburger buns. On to the fries....well, they were though they'd been fried hours before and had been sitting around in the kitchen. They tasted great, but we were disappointed their sogginess. Overall, we felt like the restaurant kind of 'dupes' you into thinking it's affordable, but because everything has to be ordered separately, costs add up! I'm sorry, but a burger should come WITH fries...not as a $5.00 'side'. For dessert we tried the homemade donuts with apple cider glaze ($7.00). The donuts came out cold with a slightly lukewarm cider glaze. The donuts were 'okay', not great and we expected them to be at least a bit warm.

We liked the atmosphere of Back Forty but overall were very disappointed with the food and with the aggressive service.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Wow, funny to read your assessment because I tried it on Friday and felt pretty much the same way about everything. Basically, everything is tiny and you have to order lots of sides and "snacks" to have a real meal, which wasn't exactly what we were expecting. The crab roll, at $18, was miniscule, and the bread was kind of stale. Ditto on mushy fries. My husband liked his burger though. Also, the shrimp and bacon beignets were really bland. The best thing was the brownie for dessert. To be fair, I had heard the sides were the best part, but the only one we ordered was the fries.

    Still, all in all, don't think it's really worth another visit, given how many restaurants there are out there...

    1. I think most of the food is great: the trout, the cauliflower, the duck liver... But for such a casual place, the equation is a little off; either I should be richer, they should be cheaper, or the portions should be larger.

      1. I had a great brunch there recently. The quality of the ingredients seriously high (grass-fed meat, farmstead cheese, top-shelf liquors like Junipero gin appearing in the cocktail menu) and that justified the cost for what I ordered. In the $9 granola with yogurt and fruit, the yogurt was fantastic--I think the server said from Hawthorn Valley upstate--and the fruit consisted of dead-ripe red and green Bartlett pears. I'd much rather spend $9 for this rendition than the more typical $7 for an OK version. That said, I hate when a burger doesn't come with fries. And $10 for a grass-fed burger + $5 for fries is actually higher than the $12 being charged during lunch at the parent restaurant Savoy.

        I managed to come away spending a bit over $20 for a shared salad, two shared mains, and coffee, but that took some will power when ordering, given some of the higher-priced dishes (like an $18 blue crab roll) and the abundance of "snacks" and sides