Disappointed in brunch at Cafe Boulud
I took a friend to celebrate her birthday today and felt really ripped off and disappointed at the end of the experience. Brunch is $39 for 2 courses ($49 if you add dessert). For the type/quality of food, this price is a huge rip off. We both started with a mushroom barley soup. I love mushroom barley soup, but this was a completely ordinary preparation. And, besides the mushrooms, full of cheap ingredients that couldn't justify the price tag. My friend was in the mood for eggs, so she ordered the eggs en cocotte w/potatoes and bacon. They looked ordinary, but she seemed to at least enjoy the dish. $39 for mushroom barley soup, 2 eggs, and potatoes, though? I had the crab benedict as my main because they had run out of cod (besides ravioli, the only "lunch-y" item on the menu). It was described as a crab cake with a poached egg on top. Little did I know that my crab cake would be deep fried with a thick, dry crust that the tiny egg on top could not penetrate. Too bad because the interior of the crust was all stringy, dry, fairly flavor-less crab (no lumps!), and it could have used some added flavor and moisture. There were not even canapes or migniardises to justify the price tag. With 2 glasses of wine and 2 cups of coffee, the whole mediocre experience was $120 before tip. To make matters worse, about the most I could say about service was that it was efficient--there was not a hint of warmth to be found. By efficient, I also mean that a runner came out w/the soup 2 minutes after we ordered. Luckily, our server intercepted him before he got to the table so she could set down some spoons and make sure we had our wine before we got the soup. When I checked in, I'd also given my credit card to the hostess and asked that the bill not be brought to the table so my friend couldn't haggle w/me over paying. Needless to say, I got the check w/o my card in it and had to haggle w/my friend while I tried to flag down a server and explain they already had my card.
Sorry for the rant, I just don't know where Cafe Boulud gets off charging what it does for what it serves at brunch. I guess the only explanation is that they do it because they can--it is the UES after all.
To answer your question simply, see your last sentence. Now, I am a Cafe Boulud fan but I do not care for brunch. I think that people are nuts over eggs and pancakes is sad. At least to the degree they are that they wait forever and pay MORE for the privilege. Have not been in awhile so do not know how everything is right now there but Kaysen had held the ship almost to the previous standard when I last dined there. If those prices bother you then go somewhere like Nello's where it is worse food and higher prices. And the list goes on. Honestly, if they are sticking it to people for brunch, I could not care less but I hope that the regular meals have not gone downhill. Running out of spots to eat well in town. And no need to apologize for the rant. Most, if not all, seems reasonable.