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River Barrel in Greenpoint

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hungry_united Jan 12, 2009 07:03 PM

Has anybody else been to this new restaurant on Franklin Street in Greenpoint? Stopped in tonight with a friend to check out the place... There was an empty table (one of several empty tables) right near the bar and we asked the bartender/hostess if we could have it. She told us to take a seat at the bar and then we could move there... Then she tried to push some cocktails on us... My friend ordered a wine and I asked for a soda. We had come for dinner so it was a bit annoying to be asked to sit at the bar when there were empty tables in front of us. Nobody seemed to be making a move to prepare the table for us, so when a waitress walked by we asked if we would be able to sit at that table. She said we should go ahead. As we moved to the table, the bartender called out that we needed to settle our tab at the bar first. It seemed like a ploy just to get us to tip her on the drink we would have ordered with dinner. (I don't think it was that the table was really not ready, because the waitress didn't even bring the cutlery until after she brought out our meals...) Maybe business is slow and the bartender really needs some tips, but in my opinion this is not the way things should go in a place that hopes to become a neighborhood joint... We sat down and each ordered a cheeseburger. They were pretty good, ten bucks each, with a side of greens or fries. Mine came out with two bottom pieces of brioche by accident, but the waitress was very nice about bringing me a puffy top piece (which is obviously the best part of a brioche bun!). But then later she came and tried to take my friend's plate -- which was empty, but only because he was holding the remaining half of his burger in his hand! I thought the burger was decent and it would be great to have a new dinner option within walking distance of my apartment, but I hope they get their act together with the service...

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  1. malibu RE: hungry_united Jan 13, 2009 03:32 AM

    Thanks for the report. That's too bad. Hopefully they will get their act together like you said. I might try it this week and appreciate the warning.

    1. Bob Martinez RE: hungry_united Jan 13, 2009 05:49 AM

      "As we moved to the table, the bartender called out that we needed to settle our tab at the bar first."

      That's standard procedure for most restaurants, good ones included. They track the money for the bar and the dining room separately.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Martinez
        b
        Brklynbobby RE: Bob Martinez Jan 13, 2009 07:44 AM

        It's true that this is standard procedure. However, the bartender was clearly out of line making them sit at the bar while tables were obviously ready.

      2. l
        lucye RE: hungry_united Jan 14, 2009 08:35 AM

        The food at this place was really good (I think I've found my Greenpoint burger - blew Label, Coffeehouse, Paloma - RIP- out of the water), but the service was very strange. They were definitely getting their sea legs where that's concerned. My hope is that experiences like the above will disappear as they get settled in. The place has potential: good menu, good prices, good bar, good atmosphere, good location. It's just the service that needs help. Sorry you had a bad experience hungry_united.

        2 Replies
        1. re: lucye
          Asumnuthin RE: lucye Jan 14, 2009 11:56 AM

          Thank you so much for your wonderful comments Lucy, I hope to see you at the Barrel soon!

          1. re: lucye
            h
            hungry_united RE: lucye Jan 14, 2009 03:27 PM

            I'm going to give it a few weeks and try again, hoping for the best!

          2. t
            teenyAW RE: hungry_united Feb 6, 2009 03:20 PM

            My boyfriend and I had dinner at The River Barrel last night. We started with the duck spring roll which I thought was ok, kind of a strange choice for the rest of the cuisine on the menu but I enjoyed eating it none the less. I had the wild mushroom ravioli with sage butter. It seemed like it had been frozen and was kind of crispy from being cooked in the brown butter. My boyfriend had the hanger steak with truffled mac and cheese. The steak didn't seem like it was all from the same cut of meat and the plating of the dish was strange. They put a huge bowl of the mac and cheese which was virtually covering the steak on the plate. On a bright thought the mac and cheese was worthy of being an entree in itself. Overall I found the food adequate for a neighborhood joint but I would definitely not recommend going out of your way for this restaurant.

            1. malibu RE: hungry_united Feb 25, 2009 07:29 AM

              What's the verdict? I am wanting to try the burger and my husband the shortribs. I was thinking of treating him tonight as he just got back from a crappy business trip. However, everything I read about this place isn't so great- mainly unprofessional service. I walked by last weekend and it looks quite promising. Anyone been in the last couple of weeks? I'm sort of afraid to try it if they *still* haven't worked out the kinks. Anyone?

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