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May 13, 2008 09:35 AM

Is Danny Brown better at dinner?

I wanted to take my mother-in-law to dinner at Danny Brown Wine Bar for Mother's Day, but they were only doing brunch seatings at 10:30am, 1:30pm and 4pm. We opted for the 1:30 time and had several items from their prix fixe menu: chilled cantaloup soup, arugula salad, smoked salmon, spinach and mushroom frittatta, sweet crepe with berries and carrot cake. It was all fine, but none of it was anything I couldn't make at home and nothing impressed us enough to make us want to go back.

Our server was also kind of annoying because he was trying to be charming but just came off as fake and insincere. Plus, he said I couldn't substitute my dessert course with a bowl of fruit (even though a fruit bowl was an option for the entree course), but when another waitress served us the dessert course and I asked her about a possible substitution, she said she'd check with the kitchen and promptly brought over a bowl of strawberries, blueberries and sliced apples.

I've read this is one of the better restaurants in Queens with Manhattan-quality food, but our visit did not seem to support this. Is is better during dinner, and when it's not a special holiday menu?

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  1. Not that it should ever be used as an excuse, but as a general rule, I avoid any restaurant on Monthers Day, Valentines Day, etc. You never seem to get a decent experience.

    I have had three dinners at the restaurant and was pleased each time. I found the appeitzers/small plates slightly better than the entrees. Not an outstanding restaurant but one of the better ones available in that zip code.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pepper

      I went on Valentines Day this year and had a good experience. Not earth-shattering, but a very nice dinner. I was quite impressed with the wine list - from the name of the restaurant, he is obviously interested, and it lives up to expectations on that front.

      1. re: JulesNYC

        I also went on V-day and agree with pepper that it's best to avoid any "Day"s of the year. I found the service lacking and borderline rude. We had very little choice from the set menu, but the food we tried (seared scallop appetizer, fillet main) was good and I wish the atmosphere did not suck so much that my wife won't hear of going back there ever again.

        1. re: garbonzo

          Interesting that your service experience was so different from ours! We liked our server and didn't get any of the rudeness that is mentioned above. I agree that you can't really judge a restaurant based on a "holiday" meal - but in our case, the restrictions that were put in place due its being V-Day didn't affect our experience (although I wish we could find a time now to go for the regularly priced menu!).

          We also liked having a table at the back so we could watch all the goings-on in the open kitchen.

          1. re: JulesNYC

            I tried to remember what exactly annoyed me about my dinner there, and there were a few specific things that bothered me. When I made a reservation they called me back a few days later to ask if I wouldn't mind coming in a bit later. I obliged. But when I got there, we had to wait... to get a table we did not appreciate, in the back. Though it was nice to see the kitchen, it was cramped on the booth. We only got bread while we were tucking into our mains because they ran out at the time we sat, and we got it after some other tables who sat after us while our server kept telling us they had run out. When I complained to the hostess, she argued with me. She kept wanting to give us a complimentary glass of wine, but my wife is pregnant, so in the end, we just got out of there before dessert. It was probably a fluke, but it was a terrible experience. And for the price we had to pay for it, we left really unhappy.

      2. re: pepper

        I agree with pepper. I never go out to eat on holidays like that because the prixe fixe or special menus are not good indications of the restaurant at all. I usually avoid Restaurant Week for that same reason - I'd rather order less and go for the regular menu to see what a kitchen can put out.

        I've been to dinner quite a few times and actually except for the first time (which was right after their opening), have really enjoyed the food there. The most recent time was last Friday night. They changed over to a spring menu and I had the risotto with asparagus and fava beans which was very good though needed a bit of salt. My SO had the burger and it was fantastic (it's the sirloin and short ribs ground together that makes it amazing). There is a starter of arugula, white beans and grilled calamari that is outstanding. The warm chocolate cake - ok, it's a bit outdated now - is terrific.

        It's a great restaurant for the neighborhood which has a dearth of options like this. If it was in Brooklyn or Carroll Gardens it would easily be more expensive too, so I appreciate that the prices are reasonable.