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Mar 27, 2009 03:06 PM

X2O more like X2 no

So I decided to go to X2O for restaurant week, and I have to say it was so disappointing. I've heard mixed reviews from family and friends, but I thought restaurant week would give me a good opportunity to try it.

I had the Jerusalem Artichoke Veloute, which was okay. The taste was pretty nice, but I felt like the serving was a little too much, as I was practically full once I was finished with it. My boyfriend wound up getting the asparagus flan. I thought it was okay. I just didn't like the idea of the shrimp with it (I know it is supposed to create a different texture and such, but something just seemed "off" with it to me). It seemed like the rock shrimp were poorly sliced and just thrown on the plate next to the flan.

I went with the Chatham Cod. By far this was the worst entree I have had in awhile. It tasted so bland. I felt like I was being served a bowl of air. The breadcrumbs on top of the fish just made it very dry and dull. There was no flavor to it at all. My boyfriend got the pork loin, which left much to be desired. The pork was tough, the sauce was pretty bland. The "jalapeno" polenta had no jalapeno flavor to it at all.

The desserts were okay. The white and dark chocolate timbale had way too much cream surrounding it. I felt like the dessert was drowning in it. My boyfriend had the creme brulee, as the other options were of no interest to him. It was alright. The presentation was pretty awful. The taste was alright I suppose.

The worst part of the experience had to be the service. I appreciate when waitstaff is attentive, but they just seemed to push the limit. I could count at least 5 different people that came over to ask how everything was. It just gets really annoying after the second or third time, especially when you are there to relax and have a nice meal and conversation. We felt so rushed too. As soon as we finished our appetizers, our entree was handed to us. I felt even worse for the two women next to us. Their desserts were brought out, and when they were halfway through with them someone finally brought over their coffees.

I honestly could not wait to get out of there. I am glad, however, that I did get to finally try X2O, but I definitely plan to keep spending my money elsewhere.

I hope that the restaurant was just having an "off day" or something like that, but I was just not impressed at all, and I am really surprised by all of the great reviews.

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  1. that's really too bad. I've never been for restaurant week, but this is really my absolute favorite special occasion restaurant. We enjoy bringing our teenage kids there for their birthdays, and we brought my father there at Christmastime, and have always had a wonderful meal, and wonderful service. I guess I haven't wanted to go for RW since the regular restaurant is just so "perfect" for me that I don't want to ruin it!

    2 Replies
    1. re: DGresh

      I actually tend not to go to try a place restaurant week. I dislike limited menus and I don't feel like you get a true experience of the restaurant

      1. re: wincountrygirl

        Totally agree. Gave up on "Restaurant Weeks" everywhere years ago. They show a restaurant at its worst, for whatever reason. X2O is a fine joint, but I'm not surprised to hear the experience is different during RW- it always is, for me anyway.

      1. You complained about the soup because they gave you too big a portion?? You could have stopped eating it if you didn't want any more.

        I have read not great things about the Cod, we just ate there last night and I got the chicken instead because of the reviews. On the other hand, the pork seems to get rave reviews from everyone but you, so I am not sure what's going on there.

        Similarly on the sauce on the dessert plate -- you could have easily eaten the chocolate without the sauce interfering.

        Also, many people actually like attentive service. You're the first person I have read about who complained about it.

        23 Replies
        1. re: MisterBill2

          I've only been to X20 once, but had a similar reaction to the "attentive" service - after 3 visits by a phalanx of assorted waitstaff, it felt intrusive instead of caring. We had, however, a fantastic meal (not during RW).

            1. re: MisterBill2

              I have to agree. The chicken looked so uninspired and the idea of coconut rice (especially white rice) just seems awful.

              The waitstaff was beyond annoying with a "How is everything?" about every 5 minutes.

              I think everyone just goes there so they can say "Ohhhhhhh I went to X20 last night....Yes, THE X20." I'm sure they serve better food without it being restaurant week. At least I hope that's the case.

              1. re: Plat Chaudetfroid

                Non-restaurant week the food was very good. I live north, so I prefer to go to Restaurant X, though.

                1. re: wincountrygirl

                  Judging from what I have both experienced, heard, and read here, ALL of Chef Kelly's places have a huge swing in terms of good to bad. Perhaps excpet Permont.
                  I have been to X three times and once was great, another was fair to good, and the third time was real bad.
                  My Mom has been to X2O several times. When there for lunch with a senior group, twice, it was good. Two times for dinner-very mixed.

                  1. re: Jon1856

                    I have had mixed luck at Peter Kelly's places, but I have never had a bad meal there. At Xaviar's the food has ranged from excellent to just good. I had brunch at X once. It was good, not great. I much preferred the quality of the brunch at X20. I have been to X20 four times for brunch, lunch and dinner-- once excellent, twice very good and once just good. I think he does a much better job of upholding quality on a consistent basis than most, but his food isn't excellent, or even very good all of the time. Of all his restaurants, I like Freelance for consistency and value. If only they took reservations.

                    1. re: Jon1856

                      I have found that Restaurant X is pretty consistently good. I did have a bad meal at Xaviers - it included smoked mushrooms that were like eating ashes from a fireplace! Very dissappointing. We have always had good meals at Freelance also.

                  2. re: Plat Chaudetfroid

                    What are you agreeing with and why does coconut rice, which is not an X2O creation by any means, sound so appalling to you?

                    This is certainly a forum where disagreement is frequent and welcome, I had to post to strongly disagree with you that the people on Chowhound who really enjoy X2O, myself included, do so to "brag" about it.

                    I see this is your first post Plat. What restaurants do you enjoy?

                    1. re: laylag

                      I have RW reservations for 9 people(daughtrer's 16thbday) I also have the same reserve at harvest after being scared by the reviews of X2O RW! Now wwhat? Haven't been to x2O and I know the location is great but will I have a bad meal? I was at dinner with a friend of Peter Kelley's and he swears by the RW cod and also Pork. I'm excited but don't want to think that I'm making a mistake.
                      this Board has become frightening with reactions from some of others' posts so I'm being very careful as to how I word things- I have grief about a lot these days- don't need to get it from a foody Board!

                      1. re: yeshana

                        I've eaten at both, although not during RW. There is NO comparison. X2O is a fine restaurant. Beautilful setting, attentive waitstaff, great food. Harvest on Hudson is a big mediocre restaurant. The setting is ok, the restaurant itself is pretty. I thought the food at Harvest was awful. Relax, they're 16 and will have a great time at either place. Enjoy the celebration!

                        1. re: debmom

                          I agree debmom. I ate at HOH and thought it was pretty, but the food was really awful.

                        2. re: yeshana

                          If they are 16 try The Melting Pot. They might enjoy the fondue experience.

                          1. re: kaaaassss

                            only the bday girl is 16 - the rest of us are foodie adults but I am looking forward to seeing this place and now am curious as to how RW fare will turn out to be. I'm getting so confused reading this as far as what to order and what to suggest my guests order(adult guests)

                        3. re: laylag

                          We went last night and it was just fine. somethings were great (sword fish, the lamb chops as well as the chicken) and others were good (tuna). No dish is ever the same each time when made to order so you can't expect the dish to be the same each time it is ordered on subsequent visits.. My impression is that the service staff takes it clue from their guests attitude in being seated and the intial greeting. If you order cocktails and sit for a few mnutes prior to looking at the menu, my sense is that the staff adjusts to the customer's needs. If one asks to order as soon as the wait staff is ready, the meal automatically speeds up. The table next to us sat down after us and had the their meals prior to ours since we took some time to enjoy our cocktails and discuss the meal we would like to have as well as the wine service. Yes, they can be too attentive at times but many restaurants are the same. At times it bothered me but now I just try to ignore; not unique to X2O. The only disappointment was the a fair gin martini and the lemon napoleon.
                          and what about that Red Velvet cake.

                          1. re: martyl9

                            did you ordre from the reg, menu or RW menu?

                            1. re: yeshana

                              Yeah, that's definitely not the RW menu!

                              1. re: MisterBill2

                                regular menu. usually don't do the restaurant week since I can't plan on a specific night. made the reservation for saturday night the 28th on friday afternoon the 27th. If I couldn't get a reservation, would have gone some where else, such as Iron Horse.

                        4. re: Plat Chaudetfroid

                          I too am confused about your comment about coconut rice, and especially the "especially white rice" bit. I just Googled coconut rice and found several hits, including a recipe (with white rice) from Gourmet.I've seen coconut rice several places and never was it made with brown rice.

                          I think that people like you just want to say "ooh I bashed X2O". Congrats you did it.

                          1. re: MisterBill2

                            I don't care what magazine has had recipes for coconut rice. The idea is just so uninspiring and they could have done so much better.

                            I was not expecting to be blown away or anything by the food at X20 during restaurant week. I thought it would give me a way to try it, since I've heard both good and bad things about it. The food was beyond awful though. There is absolutely no excuse to serve a fish that was absolutely tasteless. And the pork was just as bad. Of course I didn't have to eat the cream that came with the white and dark chocolate timbale, and I didn't, but the point is, why give that dessert so much cream? Why let it look like the dessert was drowning in cream? And yes the artichoke soup had a decent flavor, but why give so much? Why not focus more on putting together some better entrees?

                            And the waitstaff only made things worse. It's like they were rushing everyone out of there. As soon as anyone was done with their appetizer, their entree came right out. We weren't finished with our wine yet, and the waiter asked if we wanted any coffee or anything. I told him we would, but we would like to finish our wine first. What happened? They brought out our cappuccinos and dessert right away anyway.

                            I don't think anyone wants to go around saying "Ohh, I bashed X2O." That's the last thing I would want to do, especially being from Southwest Yonkers and wanting to see a place like this do really well and serve really good food. I do think a lot of people go their just for the name, and you have to admit that there are way better places than X20.

                            1. re: bnc

                              What restaurants in Westchester are way better than X20?

                              1. re: Marge

                                Well for one I would have to say Tarry Lodge. I have never even come close to having a bad meal there. The waitstaff is friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive. They don't breathe down your backs the way the waitstaff at X20 has done to me. I would say it's probably one of the best places in Westchester to get the most bang for your buck.

                                1. re: bnc

                                  Although I did like Tarry Lodge very much,the service was hardly attentive. We were lucky to get out waiter to come to the table. That being said, we are going back on a week night because the food was wonderful and the prices were right. I don't put down X20 though. I love Peter Kelly's restaurants and had a nice experience when we went there.

                                  1. re: wincountrygirl

                                    Hmm. That is strange for the Tarry Lodge. Every time I've gone there the waiters I've had were always great. I wish you better luck next time.

                      2. Just went tonight for restaurant week and the place was fabulous. Perfect medium-rare hangar steak. Also recommend the asparagus appetizer. Service was great, and Peter Kelly walked up to our table and was very gracious. Too bad it was so foggy you couldn't see the Hudson River.

                        1. We were there for restaurant week last night, and I can't recall a lovelier evening. We started in the bar and were delighted to have the chef walk through for quick hellos. Our server was delightful. Perfectly mannered yet approachable. And so knowledgeable.

                          The soup was wonderful. My husband had the special sashimi, but he kept on asking for just one more taste of the soup. And oh so yummy warm biscuits with gorganzola! The hanger steak was perfect, but so was the loin of pork. The evening was completed with delicious dark and light chocolate dessert and coffee.

                          The restaurant setting is really spectacular. While I was initially disappointed that we arrived in the fog, and was sorry that the weather blocked our view of the river, we were so happy when the storm blew the fog away, and we were treated to natures pyrotechnics!

                          Over the years, my husband and I have tried many different restaurants at the various Manhattan restaurant weeks. Other times, I have felt like the restaurants gave us a second rate experience. They either shunt you away to Siberia, or even worse, or fling the food at you, jerking the plate away before you had a chance to finish.

                          Our dinner at X2o was the opposite. We were treated like all other customers. We had a prime seat in the restaurant, cordial servers, and were given the opportunity to savor our meal.

                          It was a wonderful introduction to the restaurant, and I am sure the chef will be glad to hear that we'll be back for a non-restaurant week celebration, soon I hope!!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: jwg

                            I think that's the case with a lot of restaurant weeks - and at times any prix fixe menu.

                            I'm somewhat of a regular at X20. I prefer to sit in the bar and watch the tv. I know the staff there - not personally but I probably eat there at least once or twice a week so I'm the one they stop to chat with just out of familiarity. The food in my opinion is excellent. Even the sushi is exceptional. Some things on the menu are better than others - this is true. My favorite is the tuna but I've had other wonderful things there as well.

                            They have been SLAMMED for restaurant week though. I guess it's to be expected but - WOW! You can barely breathe when you get upstairs.

                            1. re: Lolasartre

                              Only a few people have slammed them. And I still don't understand the first poster's complaints. Too much soup? Give me a break. And I don't see how ANYONE can complain about Peter Kelly's Creme Brulee, it's the best I have had anywhere. Who cares about "presentation", it doesn't need anything more than a spoon.

                              I think there are just some people determined not to like a place, even if they have to make up reasons for it.

                              1. re: MisterBill2

                                "Slammed" in this case, if I am understanding poster means that they were fully committed, fully booked, full front of house, or just jammed up.

                                And that is when you really get to see how well the FOH and ROH managers manage.

                                1. re: MisterBill2

                                  Oh quit it already with the too much soup. When I was there, it was ridiculous how much they gave and how fast it was brought out.

                                  And "how cares about presentation?" Are you kidding me? You eat with your eyes first. It's like they just threw it on the plate with some strawberries. No effort at all.

                                  1. re: Plat Chaudetfroid

                                    What else would you expect with creme brulee? It's a self-contained dessert and for me the visual part is seeing the nicely browned sugar top. Bad creme brulee needs extra stuff on top to mask the flaws. Peter Kelly's needs nothing but a spoon to make it perfect.