Apiary - tasting menus
Opinions of the 2 tasting menus vs ala carte? And one post said Apiary was "pretty good". Opinions on whether it's worth a (shortish) trip?
60 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Went recently to take advantage of their phenomenal corkage-free Monday deal. We were interested in a tasting menu - options were 5 or 8 courses - but we had a vegetarian in the group, and asked for the largest menu that the kitchen could accommodate. We were told we could do five courses - which honestly was pretty lame, one of those courses was dessert, so you're telling me that the kitchen only has four vegetarian dishes up its sleeves? In August, the height of greenmarket season? I was annoyed (and I'm not the vegetarian) but hoped the reason was because they really wanted to nail the veggie dishes. Wrong. One of the vegetarian courses was a MESCLUN SALAD!!! Are you kidding me? Just greens and dressing? What gives? And there is even a beet salad on the dinner menu, at least give the vegetarian something more interesting since it's already in the kitchen waiting to be plated! After that I was too irked to even pay attention to what my friend was eating and focused on myself. Which was... not great. First course hamachi ceviche. Mine was good but two of my dining guests said theirs were oversalted. Next up hake in a veggie stew. Veggies were carrots and other boring all-year-round veggies (in a month when I'm craving heirloom tomatoes and summer beans and beautiful market items!), the whole thing was boring and depressing. Next up, more seafood, shrimp with gnudi. ??? That's the strangest pairing ever. The gnudi was ok and the shrimp was ok but together it was a mess. Our duck main course was delicious. For dessert they asked if we wanted cheese or dessert. We said some of us wanted cheese and some of us wanted dessert. They said no, we all had to do cheese or we all had to do dessert. THAT MAKES NO SENSE!!! Basically, the deal is: Apiary is not equipped to do tasting menus. They may have some good dishes here and there, but the level of creativity and hospitality that is required to successfully deliver tasting menus is simply not in Apiary's bag of tricks.
I've done the tasting menu many times and always been happy. You should know that it's not a different set of dishes, though, just a progression of a bunch of things on the menu served in smaller portions. So if there's a lot of stuff on the menu you want, go for the tasting menu. Otherwise order a la carte.
Personally, I think it's worth a trip from anywhere in Manhattan.