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apiary in EV

c
chundi Nov 5, 2008 06:22 PM

thoughts? good food? does it get loud on a weekend night?

taking the parents out for dinner saturday night and thought we'd try this place because it is in the neighborhood.

also thinking about jane.

any opinions or other suggestions would be most welcome...i'm not good at finding a place for a parents dinner, they don't want somewhere too loud, and i usually go to loud, inexpensive places.

  1. e
    evdiner Mar 7, 2009 03:44 PM

    I went about 2 months ago. It was pretty good, but I made the mistake of ordering the pork, which was completely overcooked, and I should have known better as I had seen that comment a few other times.

    Wine and beer only if that matters to you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: evdiner
      c
      craig_g Mar 9, 2009 12:18 PM

      I went there on Friday night and thought it was not perfect, but excellent and absolutely a restaurant to be excited about. (Note that several members of our party have known Scott Bryan since his days at Luma, at least one socializes with him outside of work, and he knew that. Based on other reviews we've read I don't think it affected the kitchen's output, but it seemed worth mentioning.)

      We were there for a BYO wine dinner, and asked the restaurant to make a tasting menu for us, so we were able to sample a good cross-section of the available dishes.

      The first dish, a Thai squid salad, was great. Despite the name it wasn't spicy, and the acidity level was perfect. The next was a sea scallop with some microgreens. Unfortunately, this dish was somewhat oversalted; a true shame as the scallop was cooked perfectly and the non-salt flavors were terrific. This would have been as good a scallop dish as I've ever had if it had been salted a bit less.

      Crisp sweetbreads with romesco sauce and frisee was another just-miss. The sweetbreads were also prepared perfectly, but the spicy romesco overwhelmed the dish (and the wines). I've read other reviewers who loved the match of the romesco's heat and the sweetbreads, though, so maybe it was just us.

      Atlantic skate with clam chowder was probably the best dish of the night. One of my favorite dishes at Veritas during Bryan's time there was the skate, and my extremely high hopes were justified. Following that, we had a dish of duck breast (again, cooked perfectly) matched with duck confit (alas, oversalted and a bit dried out). Finally, our last savory course was a portion of hanger steak with risotto. The meat was, again, prepared well, but neither the risotto's flavors nor its texture really seemed to come together.

      We wrapped up with a small cheese course served with 3 excellent honeys, followed by desserts: a superb cherry financier, and very good versions of warm chocolate cake and tarte tatin. The staffmentioned when they presented the desserts that there is no pastry chef; Bryan is doing all of it himself.

      The service staff seemed stretched a bit thin, but part of that may be because they're not used to larger groups. They were very nice to us, always welcome when you're the last party in the place, but we had to request extra bread a few times (necessary as the sauces were so good), and our server didn't have a great sense of how much to pour out to get 8 or 9 pours to a bottle of wine. Also it was a modest struggle to get appropriate glassware, which seems inconsistent with the restaurant promoting itself as a wine destination with no corkage fees on Monday nights.

      Overall, we were extremely happy with the quality of the food, and the prices are very reasonable for the quality. I'll certainly be back.

    2. s
      susan robin Mar 3, 2009 06:44 AM

      You might consider Belcourt, it may be more in line for a parents dinner. I love Back Forty but they don't take reservations. I Coppi is a very pleasant Italian restaurant, nice people but the food can be uneven. Also take a look at Cacio e Vino.

      1. e
        ExFlexitarian Mar 3, 2009 05:43 AM

        I also tried the $35 prix fixe the other night. The green salad was nicely portioned, very fresh looking and tasting, and the scallion vinaigrette was light and nicely flavored. The tuscan white bean soup, was more of a stew or a puree as it was so thick and earthy. Portion wise, it was enough to whet the appetite without filling your stomach pre-maturely.

        The mains were all around elegant yet simple and very delicious. Huge portions considering the value of the meal. I had the duck confit which was perfectly cooked, nicely crispy on the outside and moist and dense underneath. I tried my neighbors skate, which was probably my favorite dish of the night. The roast chicken had a nice crispy skin, huge portions (no one could finish it) but became a little dried out near the end.

        I am definitely coming back here on a Monday night to take advantage of the no corkage fee, and to get another order of that skate. I thought Apiary was an overall win, and a must visit if you're in the area.

        1. p
          Pan Feb 4, 2009 01:43 PM

          I'm unfamiliar with Apiary (where is it?), but I don't recommend Jane for dinner. I went with two friends a few months ago, and we found it competent but boring and overpriced.

          Why don't you see if you can get a table in the back of Lupa, around the corner? The front is louder and less comfortable, but the back is relaxing and quieter. Hmmm...I just noticed you said "weekend night." Not a good time to try to get into Lupa.

          Hounds, one place that comes to my mind is Savoy on Prince and Crosby. I haven't been there in years. Is it still good and quiet? What do you all think?

          9 Replies
          1. re: Pan
            r
            RGR Feb 4, 2009 10:28 PM

            Apiary is on 3rd Av., at 11th St.

            http://www.apiarynyc.com

            We have never been there, but we were fans of Scott Bryan's cuisine when he was at Veritas, so we will definitely be giving Apiary a try very soon.

            1. re: RGR
              k
              kathryn Feb 5, 2009 06:48 AM

              I eagerly await your report! (I was hoping you'd chime in.)

              1. re: kathryn
                r
                RGR Feb 5, 2009 12:16 PM

                Not certain but could be as early as this weekend.

                1. re: RGR
                  j
                  jsmitty Feb 6, 2009 07:10 AM

                  last night at apiary
                  scott bryans touch on apiary is tangible. whether one can stand the noise and trendy environment may be an issue to some, but the food is tight. briefly...

                  duck breast-fruit flavor crispy/moist great
                  bean and kale soup( i think kale)-hearty, lots of great little bites on the spoon
                  salad-my buddy had it. think had some frisee and other fres greens. nice vinaigrette
                  sweetbreads-almost tobasco-like sauce.. but it really worked
                  dessert- the ubiquitous choc. gooey center warm cake-great-great homemade vanilla ice cream
                  wine-nice bottle of shiraz(the wine program is said to be good. im not extensively in that game)
                  service-eh.. but thats ok with me it was fiine. they need to work a little on over booking and that kind of thing. but that doesnt bother me as much as others

                  overall i say a minus

                  1. re: jsmitty
                    k
                    kathryn Feb 6, 2009 07:13 AM

                    Overbooking? As in, you had a reservation and your table wasn't ready yet, that sort of thing?

                    "ubiquitous choc. tooey center warm cake" = molten chocolate cake? You can blame Jean Georges for its ubiquity! Hah.

                    Can you describe the sweetbreads some more? I like hot sauce but tobasco's vinegar-y nature really affects my nose and sinuses (in a not good way). I'm curious about how the dish worked.

                    1. re: kathryn
                      j
                      jsmitty Feb 6, 2009 07:59 AM

                      1. yes forgot to mention good detail. they bought us a bottle of wine because of the wait. had a reservation, but waited 30 min.

                      2 molten cake yes (meant gooey),

                      3 wouldnt say overly tangy sauce on the sweet breads. i liked the texture. they firmed them but not overcooked with a nice bite.

                2. re: kathryn
                  r
                  RGR Feb 8, 2009 06:34 PM

                  We went to Apiary earlier this evening and ordered from the $35 prix-fixe menu.

                  The meal began with bread service. We were two kinds: French and Picholine olive. We both chose the latter. The bread, choc-a-bloc with olives, was wonderfully crusty. Our request for butter instead of dipping oil was promptly met.

                  We both started with the tuscan white bean soup with kale. It was prepared in the style of a thick ribollita, i.e., not much broth. A hearty dish with lots of flavor -- just the ticket to ward off winter's chill.

                  For our mains, my husband chose the duck confit with celery root puree and French green. He was pleased with all of it. I tasted the confit, and it was deliciuos. I chose the roast chicken, something I rarely order in restaurants. But they say the sign of a first-rate chef is his or her ability to produce a first-rate version of this simple dish, and Chef Scott Bryan did not disappoint. It perfectly prepared: exceedingly crispy skin and very moist breast meat. The accompaniments -- soft polenta and mushroom -- were tasty, and the Madeira jus added a lovely flavor component without being overwhelming.

                  Both main dish portions were more than adequate with the chicken being the more generous.

                  For dessert, my husband ordered ice cream and sorbets. He said the vanilla ice cream was excellent while the blood orange and strawberry sorbets were a bit too "icy."

                  My dessert, the cherry financier, was delicious, as were the two brandied cherries which accompanied it. I didn't realize until just now when I looked again at the menu However, it seems the whipped creme fraiche listed on the menu was mia. But I didn't realize it at the time and only noticed it just now now when I looked at the menu again.

                  My husband had a glass of Gigondas and ended with a latte.

                  Service was very cordial, knowledgeable, and professional. There was an unusually long wait between the main course and dessert, but we didn't mind, and when the desserts finally arrived, the server apologized for the delay.

                  Apiary has very attractive decor, tables are not too tightly spaced, and the lighting is just right. The fairly capacious bar area in front was not busy. The dining room at the rear is not particularly large. As the evening progressed and all but two table became occupied, the noise level increased but managed to remain comfortable.

                  With Scott Bryan in charge of the kitchen, I think Apiary is a winner! We'll definitely be back!

                  1. re: RGR
                    k
                    kasiav Feb 27, 2009 04:46 PM

                    Just wanted to chime in with my experience, since I don't think it's long enough to merit a separate post:

                    Had a 6:30 reservation on Thurs... Apiary went from being completely empty when we arrived to packed, very loud, and what looked like a decent wait by the time we left a little over an hour later. The noise level could be considered a minus by some, especially if you are looking for a more intimate dining experience, but was not too much of an issue for my party.

                    Service started out quite rough, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to the individual taking care of us for the evening. Luckily, the food assuaged any previous misgivings of restaurant choice. We ordered:

                    a lovely juicy roast chicken with creamy, cheesey polenta

                    the dark horse/surprise of the evening, super light ravioli in a fresh, bright basil cream sauce that was a great compliment without overwhelming the dish. we couldn't figure out what the cheese filling was but man was it tasty.

                    peking style duck which had a delicious, almost steak-like crisp fat skin on top, over a bed of celery puree and french lentils. portion seemed small for the price compared to the size of the chicken.

                    for dessert we had the blackberry financier (tasty but not unlike a fresh muffin made with almond flour) and the tart tatin (a very light dessert; the puff pastry mostly exploded shards all over the plate which did not leave much for us to eat, but that which made it to our mouths was classic and not too sweet).

                    Overall I'd say the main courses were excellent in flavor and execution, if not just a touch too expensive for the amount of food provided. The desserts, while good, were nothing special... if making a choice, spend the course/money on something savory instead.

                    1. re: RGR
                      t
                      tazerowe Mar 3, 2009 04:49 AM

                      I also add a positive note based on a visit last night. The sweetbreads with romanesco sauce and frisee were the highlight of the meal, but everything was good. Monday is no corkage fee BYOB night, which made the evening a reasonable deal - dinner for two, with 2 courses and a glass of sparkling wine each, was under $100 with tax but before tip. I would put this place in the same category as Hearth, but I think my meal last night at Apiary was better than my last Hearth experience.

              2. LeahBaila Feb 4, 2009 09:05 AM

                I haven't been to Apiary, but I found my food at Jane to be disappointing. Do you have any particular cuisine(s) in mind?

                www.thelunchbelle.com

                1. t
                  thursdaynext Feb 4, 2009 08:52 AM

                  I went there in early January on a Saturday night (with my mom). It was definitely crowded, and "festive"...not too loud, but not quiet either. Food was good. I had the sea scallops appetizer and hangar steak. I think Apiary would be a hipper scene than Jane, but there are probably better restaurants out there.

                  1. k
                    kathryn Feb 4, 2009 08:25 AM

                    Has any Hound been since Scott Bryan took over the kitchen?

                    1. k
                      kathryn Nov 5, 2008 06:57 PM

                      What about Hearth or Five Points (Noho)? Both of these are nearby and a little more relaxed, less crowded, and quiet than a lot of other places in the East Village.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: kathryn
                        m
                        MinhLikesFood Nov 6, 2008 11:06 AM

                        I actually wasn't the biggest fan of Apiary when I went a few weeks back. I was there on a week night so I can't comment to the noise level, but it was pretty dead on a Tuesday night. Really just thought it was a little overpriced for what you got. Yeah the atmosphere is nice and service is great, but i'd rather go to Mermaid Inn, Lavagna, or Back Forty for a parents dinner.

                        1. re: kathryn
                          e
                          evdiner Mar 7, 2009 03:45 PM

                          Hearth has been one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants for years. Consistent, good quality. Can be tough to get a table on less than a week's notice.

                          1. re: evdiner
                            r
                            RGR Mar 7, 2009 06:55 PM

                            There might have been a time when getting a table at Hearth required a week's notice, but not anymore. Checking OpenTable, there are reservations available tomorrow (Sun.), and you can have your pick of times. I also checked Monday. Same thing. So, I think it's a good guess reservations are now quite easy to get every day.

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