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Allen and Delancey recently?

egit Sep 23, 2009 07:48 AM

Has anyone been to Allen and Delancey since Ryan Skeen took over? I'm thinking of going there on Saturday for a nice evening out. I'm assuming he's settled in and hit his groove by now.

Thoughts? Alternatives? I guess I'd like to keep it in the same price range and same general area. I would consider east village, lower east side, etc. I'm looking for a similar feel and not for any specifically ethnic food.

Thanks!

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    illya RE: egit Sep 23, 2009 08:12 AM

    hi, just went there recently and I am sad to say I was so disappointed. Everything we had fell flat and for the price, it just wasn't worth it. The bar up front was packed but few diners in the dining room. I had one of the best meals here under AF, but I have to say I will not be going back. I did have a great meal at sorella, but its not the same ambiance or look (and mostly small plates, small menu) but delicious. or frankie's, much cheaper but more casual.

    Also not in les, but have you considered Commerce?

    1. _emilie_ RE: egit Sep 24, 2009 09:51 AM

      We're going tomorrow, so I'll have to report back. I really enjoyed A&D under their first chef, and the new menu looks good, so I'm hopeful.

      If I had to pick an alternate in the immediate area, I might do Little Giant (not quite as upscale in decor but nice and great food), or Bacaro (downstairs is dark and romantic, somewhat like A&D but with less polish, more rustic, and I love their food but its maybe not chef-whose-name-we-can-drop level). Sorella is a good choice, but I've only ever had small plates at the bar, never in the back. A little further north, we just had a pretty good meal at Yerba Buena recently, and it definitely has a similar sexy, upscale feel and pricepoint.

      1 Reply
      1. re: _emilie_
        egit RE: _emilie_ Sep 24, 2009 10:01 AM

        Thanks to both of your for your recs. Since I wanted to make a reservation, I went ahead and made one for Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar. I love Degustation and I haven't actually been to JLOB since... probably 2003. I thought about Little Giant, which I do enjoy, but I wanted something maybe one notch nicer. As far as Sorella, I've been ODing on tapas lately, though Sorella is definitely on my list.

        Thanks agian! _emilie_, please do report back on Allen & Delancey. I haven't heard much of anything about it other than illya's not-so-great assessment of it. I don't trust yelp or menupages reviews.

      2. _emilie_ RE: egit Sep 25, 2009 10:35 PM

        Ok, just went tonight. The short form review: its not as good as under Ferguson. I will always remember that meal (at least my entree). This time I will remember my meal for a not-so-good reason, but generally, the food was good but not blowing my mind.

        So first the food. A couple of us had the grilled lamb belly app, which was really interesting. It's a texture and presentation you'd expect from pork, but tasted like lamb -- quite unique and thoughtful. The goat cheese and lettuce kept it from being overwhelmingly rich. Would have been better if it had had those really crispy bits of fat that you get with pork belly/porchetta -- that would have made it great. Another of our party had the shellfish tagliollini, which pretty much everyone agreed was the best app we had. I just got a bit of the broth and it was great. The other app we sampled was bone marrow and beet, which was tasty but somehow disappointing -- it was small and the beets/caviar overwhelmed the bone marrow.

        Entrees: Here again the winner was the lamb (the man knows his lamb!). I had the strip loin, which was perfectly good but forgettable. The chicken with the liver mousse and the halibut were also decent but forgettable.

        Dessert: Had the creme brulee with figs and chocolate sponge cake -- it was actually pretty good, although I didn't get a bit of "chocolate" from the cake, so if that's the draw for you, skip it. Also at the table were some ice cream selections that no one really thought much of (a banana bourbon that tasted only of banana and some other thing I didn't try). I ordered an americano and got an espresso, which might annoy some, but I was just as happy with it.

        As for cocktails before the meal, we all remembered those being better before as well -- this time just about everything we had was just too sweet. I'm sure it's to some people's taste, but not mine.

        So it was actually after the meal that things went all to hell. It took an age to have the waiter finally take our dessert order, which I guess must have been the catalyst for what was to come. The bill comes shortly after the coffees and dessert are cleared, and I immediately (like the bill is still in the waiter's hand) drop my card and head to the bathroom. I get back from the (weirdly nasty squat-worthy toilet seat having, wtf?) bathroom, and my tablemates relay to me the following story. Apparently when the maitre d' (not the waiter -- this was the first time we'd heard from him all night) dropped off the check to sign, he gave some overly saccarine compliment to my dining companion about his ascot, and proceeded to tell the rest of the table that we needed to leave because there were people waiting for the table. No apologies, no concessions, just basically don't let the door hit you on the way out. Why he felt the need to scoot us off, AS WE WERE ALREADY PAYING AND TRYING TO LEAVE, and having not lingered one iota, and having been precisely on time for our resy, blows my freaking mind. Just let us pay and leave and you'll have the table! Who does that when someone has pen in hand ready to write a tip? I mean, this is a nice restaurant; I really expected a higher level of service, and if you need a table that bad, that is NOT how you get people to move. When I heard this, I had to call the waiter back to explain what happened and to get him send the maitre d' back over, because I didn't want to take it out on him by tipping poorly, when he and the rest of the staff had really been very pleasant. To the maitre d's credit, he was very apologetic and took quite a generous portion off our bill, but the whole experience had soured me against the place. How that guy can be running front of house every night, I just don't know. And the whole ordeal just meant we sat, unhappily, at the table much, much longer than we would have. Whoever was waiting for the table had to wait even longer.

        I'm sure you will have a lovely mean at Jacks -- I've not been there in ages either but I remember both the meal and the service were lovely. I think A&D can be skipped, unless you are just mad for lamb.

        Bummer! Next time I'll listen to illya.

        4 Replies
        1. re: _emilie_
          i
          illya RE: _emilie_ Sep 28, 2009 01:11 PM

          ugh, I am sooo sorry. That just adds insult to injury. not sure if you ever head to brooklyn but prime meats is not only delicious but they have the nicest most unpretentious bartenders and servers (which really surprised me). I mean, soo nice.

          1. re: _emilie_
            egit RE: _emilie_ Sep 29, 2009 10:26 AM

            Firstly, sorry you had a bad experience. Something like that happened to me at a restaurant in Boston many years ago. I'm still angry about it. They actually *kicked us out* right after giving us our desserts. Anyway, that's neither here nor there.

            I ended up not really doing anything special for dinner on Saturday. No Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar either, because we ended up going to the Ulysses Oyster Festival. It wasn't so much about the oysters as it was about the many pints of Guinness I knew I would consume in the afternoon. So I cancelled my reservation.

            On a side note though, I ended up having some food at The Clerkenwell, which doesn't get much mention here. The food won't blow you away but it's pretty decent. The price point is low, but the portions are a little on the small side. That suits me fine because sometimes I don't feel like I want a giant meal. It's the price of a standard pub meal, but with higher quality (albeit less) food.

            1. re: egit
              _emilie_ RE: egit Sep 29, 2009 12:36 PM

              I have been meaning to try Clerkenwell, actually. What did you have that you liked?

              1. re: _emilie_
                egit RE: _emilie_ Sep 29, 2009 02:05 PM

                I've been there twice in the past month or so. One time I had the pan seared mackerel with celery/raisin salad. It sounds weird, but it's good-- the mackerel is not as strong as it some times is. DGF had the olive-oil poached salmon which was very good, though my memory of it is fading as I was only allowed a small taste. ;)

                This past saturday we shared a beet salad. Then I had the fish and chips which were VERY good. The fish portion was quite small, but I really enjoyed it. The chips were good too. Not necessarily my style, but I appreciated them in their own genre. (I like skinny, crunchy, salty fries).

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