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What is so appealing about RESTO?

We had dinner recently. Among the 4 of us, we had deviled egg, asparagus/morels, and bitter ballen to start. There is nothing wrong with any of these appetizers, but they're not truly fabulous either. We then had burger, beef cheek, mussels w/ bacon and leeks and the chicken. I am amazed that in other threads it's mentioned that RESTO has one of the better burgers in NYC. Meat was thin with not much flavor, bread was similar to Wonder-Bread (I saw waiters bringing a plastic bag of them into the kitchen). Mussel portion was copious, but I only finished not even 1/4 of the steam pot as they don't taste good at all. The beef check was too sweet and not at all tender. Chicken was okay, but portion is insultingly meager.

The dessert selection is not very exciting. The waffle is just that, waffle. The chocolate bread pudding was weird and the passion fruit sorbet (for $9) consist of three little scoops of same flavor -- tart, tangy and not very good.

I am glad we went, so that we won't wonder anymore about this place. Surely we won't return (service was okay, but main courses took 50 minutes to appear and dessert 20. Waaaay too slow). But I wonder why CHers seem to think this is one of a better restaurants in NYC?

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  1. We, too, thought the place had been hyped as we didn't like any of the overly salty foods we ordered and would not return.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tsiblis

      Ditto here.....tasty food....small portions (except the mussels) My wifes Waterzooi was a total joke. It was a $20 bowl of soup. The service was terrible. We asked to speak to the Mgr. when we were leaving and he was vey apologetic and handled it very well.

      1. re: jp62

        given my love of pig and pig head, i slept on resto for awhile before going for brunch one morning. my grilled cheese was sort of puny and merely ok. the service was uncomfortable and unprofessional and i told them so on my way out.

        i really wanted to like it there but they make it very hard to. i may stop by for dinner one more time to try the real menu but it was pretty off-putting my first time around.

    2. went there last sunday after hearing about their burgers

      ..You apparently can't ask for how you want your burger cooked. Charred-to-burnt is the only option you get. The inside is pretty much cooked well-done. No pink color, just a greyish brown. The flavor wasn't bad, it was seasoned well enough, but definitely doesn't deserve the praise that it's been getting from the press. You're better off walking a few blocks south and waiting in line at Shack Shake.

      the fries were okay, if it wasn't for the fact that they had Leffe Blonde, I wouldn't have enjoyed my experience at all.

      1. I went with a friend a few weeks ago for lunch on a weekday and it was fine. I liked the relaxed atmosphere.

        I ordered the burger, with a fried egg on top, and while it's not the best burger I've ever had, I did like it. Yes, you can't get it cooked to order, but as it was explained to me, the fat content of the patty is so high, it keeps it moist. My burger was medium-well, not really charred or burnt, and didn't seem dry at all to me. The fried egg on top may have helped. The burger patty was also pretty large and thick, not thin. The fries were only okay (I prefer shoestring), a bit too salty. We skipped dessert.

        I thought service was fine, more on the nice and talkative side, although our server did try to upsell us on drinks/dessert a few times.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kathryn

          I went back with some coworkers for lunch recently. They enjoyed their fish and chips; thought the fish was really fresh and well cooked, but the portion of fish was on the smaller side. It look like about 4-5 oz. to me, though, but I think they were expecting more. Potatoes with brussels sprouts were fine. Really liked the fries this time; they weren't oversalted. The sweet chili mayo sauce was really nice, reminded me of Siracha sauce!

          My grilled cheese was great -- not too puny, and very rich and buttery. Nice bacon on the inside. Perfunctory side salad. Grabbed some hot chocolate for dessert; it was fine. Obviously not from a mix, had real chocolate in it, but too thin for my taste.

        2. totally agree - i can't understand what was so great about this place. Overpriced for food which is just a bit better than a good diner.

          1. Oh, man. I wish I did a search on this board before heading out to Resto today. I was wondering if it was because we got the C squad because it was Labor Day. But from reading some of the threads here, I'm realizing that it's probably the restaurant.

            Service was indeed very slow. But that wasn't the thing that irked me. They were very friendly and cordial and I liked them.

            I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich and DH ordered moules frites. The grilled cheese came with a little side salad that was just OK. The sandwich was good -- nice, crispy, buttery. It was a bit pricey at $12 considering it wasn't a huge sandwich. The mussels were very good quality -- plump, large and juicy and sweet. But the sauce had no flavor at all whatsoever. When I tried the broth by itself without the mussels, it was very bland. And the worst thing were the fries! How can a Belgian-inspired place screw up their fries? It was so undercooked. Fries were way too pale in color with the insides not being completley done. It tasted like an underdone microwaved baked potato. Was totally disappointed. We were completely surprised after reading the NY Times and NY magazine reviews. Guess I should have checked here first.

            1. I went only after reading about Resto's top rated Grilled Cheese ($12, pic on my link). It really was very, very good, as was the special sandwich of the day that I had as well. I guess I'm glad I didn't order anything else, after reading the reviews on this page..

              http://www.flickr.com/photos/fudee

              4 Replies
              1. re: FuDee

                My wife and a few friends went here for dinner last week. They all walked out before ordering. The menu is does not have a single vegetarian dish on it and the waiter said the kitchen wold not alter any of the dishes. 80% of the entrees are based on a part of the pig. Now we all love pork but these are not you standard pork dishes. The service was rude and unattentive.

                1. re: princeofpork

                  I do think it's wise for vegetarians to either call up a restaurant in advance or do research on the Net as a restaurant is not obligated to provide a vegetarian entree. In a place like NY, though, it does seem like prudent business sense to have at least one vegetarian option. But I'm really shocked that they weren't able to accommodate your wife and friends. The grilled cheese could have EASILY been made without the pork.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    I don't think that they offer the grilled cheese at dinner, though, only lunch/brunch.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      I see. Thanks for the clarification. I was only there for lunch. And based on my lunch, I doubt I'll be there for dinner unless somebody insists.

                      Even though they didn't offer it for dinner, though, a smart move would have been to offer it to the vegetarian(s). I'm sure they had some bread and cheese lying around.

              2. I went a couple of weeks ago. I guess it depends on your luck, which is true of most places anyhow. I had deviled eggs and the pig ears, which were tasty, albeit very fatty (pig ears!). for the main I had the beef cheeks and thought they were fabulous. so tender and and there was a lot of food. The beef cheeks plus the potatoes or whatever in there, filled up the medium sized pot.

                the only real problem was that we had to wait awhile despite reservations, but that's inevitable at popular places - some people are lingering longer than avg, etc, and that it was incredibly noisy.

                1. Our experience was overall BAD. Mostly poorly executed food. Burger was charred, overcooked and worst of all, unevenly seasoned. Fries were a disgrace for a Belgian place-undercooked, oversalted and limp. Mussels were large in portion but unfortunately full of grit, 3 out of the first 6 we ate had sand in them, we had to send back to kitchen. The pig head sandwich was tasty but I thought over priced and a little on the oily side.
                  Service was inattentive and slow. Food and drinks took over 30 mins and 10 mins, respectively to arrive. After being seated, we had to ask for menus, then ask for water and finally ask for a waiter to take our order. The restaurant was about only 60% full.
                  I would only go back for drinks. They have a great beer selection. The ambiance is nice but I was very disappointed with the overall dining experience.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: clafouti

                    Our experience was also BAD. The beef cheeks are revolting...fatty with slimy pieces holding the meat together. No one in our party was able to eat it. The chicken is a joke, $27 and it's the size of a pack of cards. The beer is fine...if you're going for beer and appetizers, this place may be OK, but DON'T have dinner here.

                  2. Sorry I do not get it either, the food and service is uninspiring. I ate there twice, the second time to give it a second chance. I will not go back.