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Aldea or Apiary

u
uwsister Feb 28, 2010 07:22 AM

For upcoming Tuesday dinner. Not a special occasion but a nice ambiance would be good, noise level low to moderate. Three 'hounds and one meat-and-potato person.

I'm leaning towards Aldea since I've read so much about it here, but I'm a little concerned about the non-hound (no seafood, no gamey meat) not having any choice in his entree, while at Apiary, there would be plenty for him.

Any opinions or other suggestions in the area? (Flatiron, Gramercy, EV above 10th)
Entrees below $30, some sort of European cuisine, no Asian, no seafood specialists.

  1. e
    ExFlexitarian Feb 28, 2010 08:12 AM

    Easy answer: Apiary. Gorgeous (if not a bit garish) ambiance and beautifully cooked food, simply presented. I found Aldea to be pretentious and way overpriced for the quality/portions served.

    1. r
      RGR Feb 28, 2010 09:54 AM

      Both Apiary and Aldea have excellent food though, of course, the types of cuisines are totally different: rustic New American vs. Portuguese-inspired. Obviously, if the menu at Aldea won't suit the non-Hound, then you should choose Apiary.

      We have been to Apiary once, last year, early on a frigid February Sunday evening. While most of the tables eventually filled up, the bar area was totally empty. Thus, the noise level was fine. However, since then, there have been numerous posts on this board saying that when Apiary is packed, i.e., all tables filled and the bar area very busy, the noise level is hideousy high. So, caveat emptor!

      Photos of one of our meals at Aldea: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157622262425271/

      Photos of our meal at Apiary: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

      4 Replies
      1. re: RGR
        u
        uwsister Feb 28, 2010 04:05 PM

        >However, since then, there have been numerous posts on this board saying that when Apiary is packed, i.e., all tables filled and the bar area very busy, the noise level is hideousy high.

        That is a concern! Hmm.

        My husband (another 'hound) prefers Aldea's menu. He immediately went "arroz de pato, I'm ordering that if we go there." Thinking perhaps the non-hound could possibly make a meal out of small plates and apps, if he doesn't like hanger steak... bad hostess! Apiary is definitely still in the running. More opinions, please!

        1. re: uwsister
          d
          delikado Mar 2, 2010 12:50 PM

          My SO and I had dinner at Apiary on Valentine's Day, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We ordered off the regular menu (i.e. no overpriced prix fixe menu!): the sweetbreads, sea scallops, peking duck breast, and squid ink linguine were all delicious. And considering that both the bar and dining area were packed, neither of us found the noise level disturbing. (There was a nice 'buzz,' but nothing that prevented us from having a conversation.)

          1. re: delikado
            r
            RGR Mar 2, 2010 01:03 PM

            I have learned from cruel experience that one person's "nice 'buzz'" turns out to be another person's (meaning my) intolerably high noise level.

            1. re: RGR
              d
              delikado Mar 2, 2010 01:57 PM

              Quite right--but given that the OP is looking for a low to moderate noise level, I don't think they would find Apiary to be intolerable. Again, I was there on a very busy evening, and didn't struggle to hear my companion or raise my voice.

              I should also add that I haven't yet had the chance to try Aldea; I'm just offering my opinion on Apiary.

      2. s
        Sneakeater Mar 2, 2010 01:48 PM

        I wonder whether I'm the same planet as most of the other respondents to this question.

        To me, Apiary is a decent neighborhood restaurant. Aldea is one of the better new restaurants in the City.

        Aldea, no question.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Sneakeater
          e
          ExFlexitarian Mar 2, 2010 02:17 PM

          The OP mentioned that this wasn't a special occasion, and Apiary's menu is very friendly to adventurous eaters and non-adventurous (ie. Meat & Potatoes) a like.

          1. re: Sneakeater
            r
            RGR Mar 2, 2010 02:46 PM

            Sneakeater,

            I agree with you that Aldea is one of the city's best new restaurants (not yet a year old). However, I think Scott Bryan's cooking lifts Apiary to at least a step above the average neighborhood restaurant. Also, keep in mind uwsister's concern that the non-Hound in her party might have difficulty with Aldea's menu, "while at Apiary, there would be plenty for him."

            1. re: RGR
              s
              Sneakeater Mar 3, 2010 11:36 AM

              Let's put it this way: if I didn't know Scott Bryan was cooking at Apiary, there's nothing I've eaten there that would make me guess they had a major chef.

              1. re: Sneakeater
                r
                RGR Mar 3, 2010 12:04 PM

                Since I'm sure you didn't think he'd be replicating the cuisine of Veritas, what were you expecting from Scott Bryan at a place like Apiary? The food here reminds me of what he served years ago at Luma. Not fancy, but very flavorful and delicious.

          2. u
            uwsister Mar 4, 2010 05:52 PM

            Just wanted to report back -- we ended up at Aldea and had a great meal. The non-hound did have a little bit of problem with the menu in the beginning (he said "look at all the weird things on the menu!") but ended up liking arroz de pato quite a bit. We loved the sea urchin toast, crispy pork belly, foie gras terrine, of course arroz de pato, and sonhos. I still dream about those sonhos, and I don't even like donuts usually!

            BTW I found Aldea to be surprisingly noisy that night, probably didn't help that we had a group of essentially grown-up frat boys in suits at the next table (we moved to the other side of the restaurant and could STILL hear them.) I'd say the noise level is moderate, not much sound-proofing, at least on the second floor.

            Thanks for all the advices, much appreciated!

            1 Reply
            1. re: uwsister
              r
              RGR Mar 4, 2010 08:39 PM

              Glad to hear that you -- and even the non-Hound -- enjoyed the food at Aldea, uwsister. Yes, those sonhos are wonderful!

              It's unfortunate, though, that you had to put with such a noisy group. We've only sat on the street level, and while it was far from tomb-like, the noise level was not uncomfortable. However, a lot depends on the how loud other diners are. Those frat boys could care less that they are disturbing everyone else around them.

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