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Thomas Beisl , do not try it !!! (long)

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Peter B Wolf May 23, 2008 10:43 AM

I don’t think I ever wrote a comment about this Restaurant . At least not in a complaining way. Although I am known to be opinionated and many a times over critical.
But this time I strongly believe to have a need to do so. I also think that I am fairly if not fully qualified to do a bit critiquing.

Here we go:
Last Monday night, as a final day, I live in Maine, and spending a full week in New York City (staying with family in Queens) we, four of us, went to “Thomas Beisl” in Brooklyn.
Our expectations were totally demolished. Many mentions in local media and culinary forums indicated the place being highly rated by the majority of patron reviews and/or articles.
What a let-down.
Reservations, not really necessary, were made a day in advance for 6:30 PM. Arriving, we noted only two other tables taken. We were promptly seated by, as it turned out , our waitress. A helper (busboy) poured water reaching directly over and in front of two of us.

Small? Big? Faux Pas!

Noting on the menu: ‘Cash’ or ‘AmEx’ only ( a disappointment )
Asked if we cared for Beverages, the lady in our group asked for a Clausthaler and so did I, it was listed on the menu! We were informed that they only had one (1) Clausthaler left. Ok, no big deal. Water is delicious in New York.
A plate with cut slices of a very good looking selection of different Rye Breads and one small ! piece of Butter was immediately provided. Rather tasty but not enough Butter for four people. Later during the meal we were asked if we cared for more Bread and saying yes please, a double serving of said Bread with at least five huge pieces of Butter were delivered. What gives?
Monday nights at Thomas Beisle an offering of a Prix Fix Dinner at $ 19.55 is announced and our attention was directed to a wall mounted blackboard with four Appetizers, four Mains and four Desserts written in chalk and challenging our interests.
The printed Menu itself had an item called Pork Cheeks
Deciding to order this, our waitress (the only one in the whole place) informed us the item being “86”.
So I switched to the Prix Fix and ordered a Gazpacho (Austrian?), which turned out very good, plus it came in a large bowl, possibly a bit too much as an appetizer. The blackboard listed Choucroute garnie . I ordered. What came out of the kitchen was a soup plate quite heaping with the Kraut in as much cooking liquid, the “Garnie” turned out to be a three inch piece of thickly skinned sort of “Kielbasa”, and an abundance of pieces, not really slices, of a smoky Pork loin (Kassler? Or was it the leftover cheeks from yesterday?). The accompanying two small pieces of ‘Servietten Knoedel” with a single soggy crouton in the middle were dense, like hockey pucks and bland in taste, their weight preventing them from happily floating in that ‘Kraut juice’. The Choucroute was fairly seasoned but a few Juniper berries would have been an enhancement.

One of us decided to have the ‘Green & White Asparagus Vinaigrette’. Fair.

Two people had no Appetizer and ordered the ‘Salmon, Oven -roasted with a polenta gratin, tomatoes provencale, and watercress salad. A thick tranche, bland tasting Salmon, moist and flaky. Polenta was a dense square with a covering of Fontina. The whole plate not very exciting, lacking ‘Austrian’ deftness or finesse.

One of us had the ‘Cod Schnitzel’, ( I guess the word Schnitzel made an ordinary piece of Cod fish Austrian) . A misunderstanding of us not reading the menu rightly required to ask for ‘hot’ potatoes (menu read ‘Potato and Cucumber Salad) . Our mistake, but we received hot boiled Potatoes.

By the way, all plates delivered by said busboy were inadvertently passed straight across and in the faces of every diner, besides he did not know ‘what belongs to who’, had to ask and did not know himself what he served. A good thing, we could tell by the looks of the plates what each one was and directed him, he in turn sort of literally ‘handed’ us the individual items and we ourselves could play the switcheroo game with our dinners. Great job by management to properly train employees.

Dessert, the Crown Jewel of disgrace.
My , blackboard listed, “Cheese Strudel” came in an oval ceramic dish, the majority of the bottom covered with a puddle of ‘Skin-Milky-Looking’ yellowish liquid, the looks and consequent tasting of it was grainy, seemingly an attempt was made to thicken it with unstrained Tapioca . WalMart makes a better attempt on creating ‘Strudel’. What is served here and called Strudel is an Abomination !!! A square of some kind of pudding, or is it custard ? a corner piece from a baking dish, having two sides with an nondescript crust, not doughy not crisp, a distant taste of Farmers or Ricotta Cheese inside should be named rightly: “ piece de resistance “ as I resisted eating it !!

A piece of Sacher Torte, if tasted by Herr Sacher ( if he were alive today) of Vienna, would have caused him to pull out his hairs. Never the less, him reading this made him turn in his grave.

Ein Stueck Linzer Torte, a piece of Linzer Torte, was not too bad at all, except the ‘bottom’ crust was not quite fully baked, plus I only know this particular Torte to only contain a ‘lattice’ covering vs. a full dough lid. Not really a crime.

One of the bigger annoying things to make our dining experience, and it was an experience, a bit uncomfortable, was the background, actually more in the foreground, music. Nothing against Mexican music, but all night long and nothing but ? And too loud!!

Three diners had finished eating, the fourth had not, but finished plates were removed while the fourth person kept on chewing. That was before dessert and where at this time we found out that the Walnut Torte listed on the black board was not available either.
That made it three ‘Unavailables’, Clausthaler, Cheeks, and Torte.
When I asked the waitress, why they not simply could have wiped the Torte off the chalkboard, she answered “the board hangs like this all week”, never changes.

Again, not being satisfied with the whole event I asked to talk to the manager. We were told no manager on premises, about five minutes later a gentleman with a British horseman’s cap on!! Came to the table and exclaimed: “What I can do”, I explained our displeasures about the whole meal and inexperienced service personnel, not even mentioning the cook’s (I doubt they have a chef) lack of “ Austrian “ food preparation knowledge. The good man’s answer to my rather heated complaint(s) was shrugging his shoulders and playing the disappearing act. His name, when asked while leaving and he stayed ‘disappeared’, the busboy told us his name was ‘Abdoul’ (sp) (Moroccan?) .

Can someone on this board report any similar or other, worse or better, experience at this establishment?
I do not plan to ever patronize this Restaurant again, nor can I recommend it to anyone else. (Claiming to be Austrian or not)

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  1. Steve R RE: Peter B Wolf May 24, 2008 09:14 AM

    Unfortunately, your experience is par for course. The place was good its first year and had lofty ambitions but it's exactly like you experienced most, if not all, of the time these past several years. I don't know why anyone even thinks of going. Much better food in the surrounding areas.

    I love being able to copy posts from board to board, don't you (inside joke)?

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