REVIEW: Breakfast at Petrossian
It was right across the street from where I was staying. The name brings forth images caviar and foie gras and old Russian-style service of classic French food.
So I went for breakfast, and I had a bagel with cream cheese, their house smoked salmon and, because I couldn't bear it, a small serving of osetra caviar. (Who eats caviar for breakfast, you may ask? People who know they aren't going to be able to make it for dinner.)
The caviar came first, with the required toast points, creme fraiche, two blinis and mother-of-pearl caviar spoon. It was... sublime. Also extremely expensive (I paid for this one myself). It's clear why Petrossian is such a name to conjure with in the world of caviar.
The bagel, however, was disappointing. It was fresh, but crumbly and a bit flat-tasting, even with the cream cheese on it. The salmon was... just okay. With the addition of tomato and red onion, it made a perfectly fine sandwich, but certainly not worth the $10+ it cost. Honestly, you could make a better lox-on-bagel yourself with a quick trip uptown to H&H and Zabar's, the doyennes of 80th Street and Broadway -- certainly Zabar's novy ("sliced thin, but don't shred it") is leagues better.
The coffee was strong, it was perfectly fine, it came with an urn so you could refill it yourself -- the order of coffee is enough for three six-ounce cups. I don't think anyone in New York makes bad coffee -- at least I've never had any coffee that I noticed as being particularly bad -- so this is not praise nor condemnation.
Service was cold. The server couldn't have cared less that I was there eating. No checking in, and the big eyeroll when I signalled for the check.
In conclusion -- caviar of surpassing excellence, remainder just "eh" and terribly overpriced. Unless you particularly have a need for caviar for breakfast, go elsewhere for your bagel, schmear, lox and coffee.
182 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019
In their bakery department, I find their brioches are a standout, and a remarkable bargain at just $1.25. Really eggy and buttery---better, I think, than the more expensive ones at Le Pain Quotidien across the street. And they hand you your $1.25 purchase in a fancy Petrossian shopping bag, so people will think you're walking down the street with a kilo of caviar.
Petrossian is truly unbelievable for caviar and perhaps really the only place left in NY that services different kinds of caviar and knows what they are doing. You can easiliy get a better bagel with smoked salmon at Russ and Daughters or Barney Greengrass. There is something unique to the atmosphere, but again, the food is no longer anything that blows you away. If you want to get a caviar education and sip great vodka or champagne, then Petrossian is the place IMO.
I've stopped at Petrossian to buy baked goods to go around three times. The experience of shopping there (like eating there based on the foregoing) is totally in consistent. And the baked goods are nothing special in New York with our many fine bakeries. In sum, I don't recommend the place to anyone as I can't certain of the food or experience. It is a shame as the place has much potential to be a great NYC place. But it simply falls short and it is unreliable.
I went to Petrossian once and once only, a few summers ago. They offered a $20 lunch. Decor sleek and vaguely elegant, service was below average but it was not bad, and if the food had been good or even mediocre I would have gone back, judging $20 a small price to pay for a civilized meal in such surroundings. But it wasn't and I didn't.