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Dinner at Romera on Opening Night

h
hungrynewyorker Sep 17, 2011 05:31 AM

Just came back from dinner at Romera - their first night - in the basement of the Dream Hotel.

Where to begin?

That the Dream is really a nightmare? That this was by far the worst (faux) gourmet meal I've ever had? That the service was a disaster? That with more than 10 courses, not a single one was even remotely worthwhile, let alone memorable? That the pretentiousness was off the charts?

The only open question is how long it will take for this misguided (and ridiculously overpriced) misadventure to go under.

Can't wait to see the NYT review - this is one flop that is truly of historic proportions.

-----
Romera
355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

  1. Cheeryvisage Nov 30, 2011 12:54 PM

    Zagat interviews Dr. Romera:

    http://www.zagat.com/buzz/drchef-migu...

    10 Replies
    1. re: Cheeryvisage
      kosmose7 Jan 18, 2012 08:05 AM

      New York Times review of Romera.
      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/din...

      1. re: kosmose7
        chloes Jan 18, 2012 08:14 AM

        Fantastic review: "A restaurant willing to send out a garnish meant to be interpreted rather than eaten is a restaurant that wants to be admired, not enjoyed."

        1. re: kosmose7
          ellenost Jan 18, 2012 12:46 PM

          The funny thing is that when I read the review it sounded more like a goose egg to me. Today Pete Wells posted another article which now make it almost sound like a two star review. Very odd. Still not planning to try the restaurant. http://t.co/sttJbZvU

          1. re: kosmose7
            h
            hungrynewyorker Jan 18, 2012 01:51 PM

            Pete Wells is a wus. He clearly didn't like the food, so why one star? Just because the food is visually appealing? The food is insipid, the pretension is off the charts, and the experience as a whole is in a completely lower league than other high-end restaurants, in NY or anywhere else for that matter.

            1. re: hungrynewyorker
              sgordon Jan 18, 2012 03:48 PM

              It sounded like he liked SOME of the dishes, if not all. Enough to warrant one star, at least. As he said, much of it was "pleasant" at least, just nothing extraordinary. Although, for $245 (or whatever) you'd expect extraordinary. I think Wells simply judges everything in a vacuum, doesn't take price into consideration.

              That said, they weren't on my list before, and he didn't change my mind. I suspect Romera is on a very, very short Deathwatch. I'm gonna say the good Doctor's residency in NYC will be even shorter than Shang's lifespan.

              -----
              Shang
              187 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

              Romera
              355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

              1. re: sgordon
                i
                ImStillHungry Feb 29, 2012 09:08 AM

                Seems like the NY Post agrees about your deathwatch prediction:
                http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment...

                -----
                Romera
                355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                1. re: ImStillHungry
                  h
                  hungrynewyorker Feb 29, 2012 10:47 AM

                  Tick-tock, tick-tock.

                  -----
                  Romera
                  355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                2. re: sgordon
                  kosmose7 Mar 9, 2012 11:57 AM

                  Well... finally...
                  http://ny.eater.com/archives/2012/03/...

                  1. re: kosmose7
                    h
                    hungrynewyorker Mar 9, 2012 01:17 PM

                    Well, it was just a matter of time, wasn't it? Those of us who marveled at the misguided adventure and spectacular hubris (along with the ridiculous waters, pretentious menu cards, poor service and insipid flavors) can at least look back years from now and say that we were witnesses to one of the biggest train wrecks that ever hit NY's culinary world.

                    1. re: hungrynewyorker
                      chloes Mar 9, 2012 01:28 PM

                      "can at least look back years from now and say that we were witnesses to one of the biggest train wrecks that ever hit NY's culinary world."

                      110% agreed.

          2. kosmose7 Nov 2, 2011 11:25 AM

            Steve Cuozzo thinks Romera is too expensive.
            But Dr. Romera does not seem to think so.

            http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment...

            3 Replies
            1. re: kosmose7
              i
              ImStillHungry Nov 15, 2011 07:58 AM

              Looks like the doctor is changing some stuff up:

              http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/11/...

              1. re: ImStillHungry
                r
                rrems Nov 15, 2011 10:33 AM

                I'm skeptical. In an 11-course tasting menu, each course will by necessity be very small, so if you offer 5 courses for half the price,will the portions be larger or will there not be enough to eat?

                1. re: ImStillHungry
                  h
                  hungrynewyorker Nov 15, 2011 04:16 PM

                  The price isn't the problem. It's the food.

                  -----
                  Romera
                  355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

              2. sgordon Oct 31, 2011 08:31 AM

                Well, the first "official" review has dropped. Adam Platt seems less than impressed: http://nymag.com/restaurants/reviews/...

                3 Replies
                1. re: sgordon
                  kosmose7 Oct 31, 2011 01:22 PM

                  I noticed there are pretty many people who say Romera's food is better to look at than to eat. Adam Platt is one of them. And Romera prohibits taking pictures. What an irony.

                  -----
                  Romera
                  355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                  1. re: kosmose7
                    brancron Oct 31, 2011 04:13 PM

                    It's not even good to look at. Look at this: http://www.wmagazine.com/w/blogs/edit...

                    Besides the mosaic of tasteless vegetable powders, I see some soggy greens, a baby carrot, half a radish, and a HALF OF A CHERRY TOMATO. That looks worst than a fucking salad bar.

                  2. re: sgordon
                    Bob Martinez Nov 1, 2011 06:45 AM

                    One of the best lines from the review wasn't even Platt's.
                    -------------------
                    There’s a soft, deliberately blanched quality to Dr. Romera’s mannered style of cooking ... which is accentuated ... by the specially brewed, vaguely medicinal “Aqua Gourmand” potions and vegetable broths he serves with each course. “This tastes like old bong water,” one of the grizzled New Yorkers at my table said ...

                    -----
                    Romera
                    355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                  3. e
                    edwardspk Oct 21, 2011 11:16 AM

                    OK, I"ve been reading this thread with interest, knowing that everyone has personal tastes, frames of reference, points of view, etc. So I was still planning on keeping my reservation for next weekend to make my own judgement call. But reading Bruni's article about his experience at Romero closed the deal for me. I called and cancelled. I imagine since publication of his article, they have been flooded with cancellations.

                    I've decided I can wait until the restaurant gets reviewed by the new NY Times food critic (whoever that may be), assuming the restaurant stays open that long. Thanks to all you CHers for staying on top of this and for saving me hundreds of dollars (which I will be spending at SHO instead - and still coming out ahead!).

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: edwardspk
                      rose water Oct 21, 2011 02:08 PM

                      Though perhaps not the exercise in absurdity Romera seems to be, I have to say my one (restaurant week) dinner at SHO was really unremarkable--neither the food nor the service came remotely close to what you'd expect given the elegance of the space

                      1. re: rose water
                        p
                        planetjess Oct 28, 2011 09:46 AM

                        And for a completely different take, I've had four dinners at SHO (non during restaurant week) and approximately 10 lunches. I have never had a bad meal, a mediocre meal or even an above average meal. Things have admittedly calmed down a bit on the "white glove" aspect from right after it opened--when they would be running over with stools for purses. However, IMO (and there are anumber of other threads where this is discussed), SHO has never disappointed--every dish has ranged for me from the very good to the outrageously good. Service attentive, beautiful space, and for what it is, one of the better fine dining restaurant values in town.

                        -----
                        SHO Shaun Hergatt
                        40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

                        1. re: planetjess
                          u
                          uwsister Oct 28, 2011 01:18 PM

                          I *love* stools for purses - more restaurants should have them!

                          1. re: planetjess
                            Cheeryvisage Oct 28, 2011 09:19 PM

                            I'd been twice during Restaurant Week. Loved my meal both times.

                            1. re: Cheeryvisage
                              rose water Oct 31, 2011 12:21 PM

                              It was your report that inspired me to go: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796029 . Looking back on your post, I ordered all of the things you did, and was completely underwhelmed by all of them. The egg was fine, but not amazing. The fish was totally bland and its sauce had no discernible saffron flavor; the little potato towers alongside the fish shown in your great photos were bland as hell. The service was endearingly stilted and awkward, but not at all what I'd expect at an upscale restaurant. In so far as RW meals go, it was fine, but it certainly didn't inspire me to pay more to go back there.

                              1. re: rose water
                                Cheeryvisage Oct 31, 2011 12:36 PM

                                Wow, I'm surprised. Though I agree that the fish dish was indeed on the subtle side. I really liked it and thought the flavors were excellent. Then again, I've never found Le Bernardin's fish dishes to be bland, for example, even though a lot of others do. Maybe my preference just lean toward lighter flavors when it comes to fish?

                                I have noticed that opinions on SHO have been fairly polarizing. There are the ones who really love the food (I'm one of them), and the ones who think the food unremarkable / bad. It's puzzling.

                                -----
                                Le Bernardin
                                155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                          2. re: rose water
                            e
                            edwardspk Nov 1, 2011 10:06 AM

                            So, we had our dinner (the 4th one) at SHO ths past Saturday night. The entire experience was lovely, including food and service. Only one dish (the quail) disappointed. Everything else was great.

                            One quibble, though. Even though the menu is supposedly $85, many of the options in each course carried a supplement of $10-15. And in the fish course, only one option did not carry a supplement. I still didn't feel like I had overpaid, but I would much prefer the price of the menu go up and that they do away with most of the supplements. I can understand a supplement for lobster or foie gras, but so many dishes shouldn't carry a supplement. It feel s a bit like nickle and diming.

                            -----
                            SHO Shaun Hergatt
                            40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

                            1. re: edwardspk
                              Cheeryvisage Nov 1, 2011 11:35 AM

                              Yeah, the supplement complaints were discussed in another thread (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/813521). Though if you book through Savored.com and get the 30% off your bill. It's still not bad.

                              1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                e
                                edwardspk Nov 2, 2011 11:27 AM

                                Yes, we did that. It took $90 off the bill. That was more than enough to cover the supplements. :-)

                        2. h
                          hungrynewyorker Oct 19, 2011 03:35 AM

                          Yes, the Bruni piece sure was entertaining. I only wish he'd gone a bit more deeply in the topic of the insipid food itself. Oh well, I'm sure we'll be seeing many more like that once the official reviews start to hit the street.

                          1. Cheeryvisage Oct 18, 2011 07:26 AM

                            Here is a piece on the NY Times by Frank Bruni on Romera: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/opi...

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Cheeryvisage
                              i
                              ImStillHungry Oct 18, 2011 08:59 AM

                              Good to know that someone considered credible agrees with us on how absurd this place can be.

                              1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                kosmose7 Oct 18, 2011 09:12 AM

                                Ryan Sutton's comment here:
                                http://thepricehike.com/post/11571155...

                                1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                  strangemd Oct 18, 2011 11:55 AM

                                  Bruni's piece cracked me up. Seems our hounds were pretty damned accurate. Very glad I cancelled my reservation; I think I might have thrown something if confronted with that much silliness,

                                  1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                    u
                                    uwsister Oct 18, 2011 04:32 PM

                                    Ha! Well, most of us weren't expecting a four-star review, were we? That was an entertaining piece, the one by Bruni. I'm glad he at least had fun with it.

                                    From Sutton's article, $85 for 11 course wine pairing sounds rather low, even as a starting point. I wonder what kind of wines they are pairing. Of course, I doubt we'll be able to find out without making a reservation.

                                  2. t
                                    The Cookbook Addict Oct 2, 2011 09:46 AM

                                    Just wanted to pipe in to say that I wrote the 5 star review on Yelp. I joined Yelp to write the review because it was a thought-provoking meal and I couldn't at that point find a positive review anywhere online by anyone who had actually eaten there. Now, I am reminded why I never post reviews online.

                                    BTW if you are interested in why I liked the meal notwithstanding service and other issues I posted detailed (some might say "hyperbolic") notes on Yelp and on the other thread on Romera on this site...

                                    -----
                                    Romera
                                    355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: The Cookbook Addict
                                      l
                                      lpshanet Oct 20, 2011 03:01 AM

                                      I hope you don't feel too alone here. I, too, quite enjoyed my meal there and found it though-provoking and delicious. I definitely think the price point is a little high. They certainly have high overhead and I'm sure their whole production (e.g. the cards, the waters, the service pieces) make it very tough for them to get the price into a more reasonable range. But if the menu were under $200, I don't think you'd see nearly the level of vitriol. Any time a place this ambitious (or pretentious to some) and expensive opens up, it polarizes people a lot and skews opinions. And places that seem overpriced tend to make people angry (sometimes even when they haven't ever gone there). I think we're seeing that here and in general. Neither the reviewers (positive or negative) nor the restaurant deserve the hate.

                                    2. f
                                      fooder Oct 1, 2011 09:27 AM

                                      WSJ McLaughlin's full review: http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/1...

                                      Note that she had already written a very PR-sounding piece about Romera and his food in May to introduce the restaurant, her meal was paid for by the journal, and they knew she was coming.

                                      My take on this article: She seemed much more drawn to how pretty everything was. If you read the details, there were probably as many misses, if not more, than hits. The fact that she still managed to wrap it all up as a positive review for a restaurant at that price point is something. It just read like she was predisposed to liking it.

                                      "It was also the first time in my life I ate 11 courses of haute cuisine and felt absolutely fine afterwards, as opposed to sick and remorseful." - does not sound like anyone I know who eats at fine restaurants regularly and whose opinion I would therefore trust.

                                      This meal sounds like my friend's description of a meal she had at Pierre Gagnaire. A complete mess where he made 20 courses of foam.

                                      -----
                                      Romera
                                      355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: fooder
                                        l
                                        lpshanet Oct 20, 2011 03:03 AM

                                        Her opinion matched my impressions of my meal there almost exactly. And my meal wasn't paid for, nor did the place know I was coming. Sure, it's a bit overpriced, but the meal was interesting, unusual and memorable. Although there were certainly some misses, the hits outnumbered them, and I'd rather have a really memorable meal with some duds than just another really good competent meal that didn't take any chances. Same goes for movies, music and many other forms of entertainment.

                                        1. re: lpshanet
                                          sgordon Oct 20, 2011 08:56 AM

                                          I think for some (most?) people, at their price there's no leeway for a "dud" of any kind, let alone multiple duds.

                                          I'm with you in that I favor cuisine that takes chances, but as the tied-for-second-most-expensive restaurant in NYC, one expects something to both take chances AND surpass on every possible level.

                                          Like many have said, were the menu $100 less, there'd be no sniping at them more than likely - well, maybe still for the silly waters and menu cards, but not about the food so much.

                                          1. re: sgordon
                                            i
                                            ImStillHungry Oct 20, 2011 11:23 AM

                                            I disagree with everyone who is only looking a the price. The price was not where my issue came in nor was it what prompted me to post. I have overpaid for many meals in my life. I think one could make a strong argument that many very fine meals in New York are overpriced and I might agree with them. I still pay and eat at them because the food is phenomenal.

                                            The food at Romera was the issue for me. I don't care if a place is silly, stuffy, expensive or pretentious as long as they have the food to back it up. This place does not. That's it. End of story. When I go to a restaurant where the chef is hand picked from Europe to run a high end dining room in a New York hotel, I expect the food to be exquisite. The food at Romera is not.

                                            I would agree that this meal was memorable, but it's for all the wrong reasons. I understand the desire to take chances and do things outside of the box, but there are lots of places that think outside the box without so completely missing the mark. The point of these reviews isn't to say that Romera is wrong in attempting to think outside the box, the point is to convey my opinion of how far off the mark he was.

                                            -----
                                            Romera
                                            355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                            1. re: ImStillHungry
                                              chloes Oct 20, 2011 11:44 AM

                                              I agree. The price point wasn't what bothered me either - it was mostly the food. The food was not superb, the service was fumbling and the ambiance was pretentious. Yes, the food was interesting, unique in some cases and memorable in others (I can still smell/taste the Myrrh incense) - but not delicious. I like my food to be delicious.

                                              If Romera can get the food and service right, I wouldn't even mind a bit of pretension - I did, after all, sign up for a $245 11-course neuro-gastronomy tour.

                                              In my opinion, the concept is phenomenal, the execution is what's dreadful.

                                              1. re: chloes
                                                h
                                                hungrynewyorker Oct 21, 2011 03:40 AM

                                                I echo the comments by choles and ImStillHungry. I've eaten in many fine restaurants around the world and have paid accordingly. If the food and experience are worth it, then I'm game. On top of all the absurdity and pretension, the fundamental problem at Romera is that the food is just plain tasteless -- one-dimensional, lacking distinction, depth or character. (Though, yes, the presentations are lovely - but that's about all that can be said in their favor.)

                                                -----
                                                Romera
                                                355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                      2. Phil Ogelos Sep 30, 2011 07:02 AM

                                        Reading the menu cards you linked to above, hny, it looks like Dr.Romero was counting on the transmigration of the soul of the expired El Bulli to devolve directly into his space. 'Sic transit gloria mundi' is all I can say; those cards make for interesting reading, though.

                                        1. ellenost Sep 30, 2011 05:14 AM

                                          I'm very sad that a place as bad as this would even think about opening in NYC. What are the thoughts as to how long this travesty of a restaurant stays open?

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: ellenost
                                            h
                                            hungrynewyorker Sep 30, 2011 06:48 AM

                                            As bad as it is now, I suspect it'll get even worse once the official reviews from NYT and others come out. I give it till February or March, not much more. New Yorkers won't go for this. Maybe curious tourists on expense accounts, but that's about it.

                                            1. re: hungrynewyorker
                                              a
                                              Ann900 Sep 30, 2011 02:19 PM

                                              HNY, clearly, I owe you an apology. I initially questioned the motive behind your original post. But after reading other reviews here and on other sites, your comments seem totally justified.
                                              And I just looked at the menu cards from Romera - IMO some of most unbelievably pretentious nonsense I've ever read- if a restaurant ever handed me one of these cards, it would make me want to walk out before they put a single dish on the table!

                                              -----
                                              Romera
                                              355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                              1. re: Ann900
                                                h
                                                hungrynewyorker Sep 30, 2011 02:29 PM

                                                Ann900, that's very nice of you, and much appreciated. No worries at all. I suppose it's hard to know sometimes where folks are coming from. Likewise, I guess we'll all be staying tuned for the next chapter in the Romera saga!

                                                -----
                                                Romera
                                                355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                          2. h
                                            hungrynewyorker Sep 29, 2011 01:48 PM

                                            Yes, nothing like a little Schaudenfreude. For more, check this: http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/09/...

                                            1. sgordon Sep 28, 2011 09:35 AM

                                              This is a great thread. Gotta love a little Schadenfreude.

                                              I mean, Keller opened at $150 - at least he gave people a chance to weigh in at a decent price before (nearly) doubling it. But the chutzpah on Romera! Wow!

                                              I suspect in about three months we'll get a snotty interview about how New Yorkers just "didn't get" his modern cuisine, a la the rants we heard from Susur Lee when Shang revealed itself as the snoozer it was. Then he can go back home with his delusional head held high, still thinking he's The Misunderstood Genius.

                                              I know of a couple bloggers who liked his old place - and a couple who decidedly didn't.

                                              There was Chez Pim's pan: http://chezpim.com/travel/lesguard-quite

                                              ...while on Yelp there are now three "reviews" of Romera - I put that in quotes because one of them is from someone who clearly states they HAVEN'T EVEN SET FOOT in the restaurant. They gave it five stars because they got a nice email confirming their reservation, and because it sounded cool in the WSJ article they read. Seriously.

                                              One of the other three "reviews" is from someone who joined two days ago just to post a five-star review. And then posted one other random five-star review so they wouldn't look like a shill.

                                              I've noticed that no other chefs in town have been gushing about it, as often happens when a big outsider chef shows up to do their thing - I remember Colicchio talking about eating great stuff at Shang's F&F, Batali just this week on Gaston Acurio's new place. Yeah, it's just chefs doing each other favors, but... I think it says something when you don't hear other industry people getting excited.

                                              -----
                                              Romera
                                              355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                              1. chloes Sep 28, 2011 07:01 AM

                                                I was warned. But did I listen? No. I just HAD to try this myself, so with much lowered expectations, I had dinner at Romera this past Saturday.

                                                Lowered expectations couldn't save Romera from the absolute disaster that you will find after climbing down a dingy looking flight of stairs to the restaurant.

                                                Let's start by picking apart the service, yes?
                                                I dined with my husband - we made reservations about a month ago. I am a vegetarian which my husband explained when making the reservation. We must say that the resi process itself was a delight and perhaps Romera's only saving grace. We arrived at 830 - climbed said dingy stairs - and were promptly led to a dimly lit dining room with 10-12 tables. The host seated us in the most awkward table, right in front of a curtain, that blocked off the kitchen/service area. Within the first minute I had 3 waiters hit the back of my hair as they maneuvered around this awkward table. At the two minute mark, we were presented with two glasses filled with a colored liquid, which was even sooner swept away by another waiter who chastised waiter # 1 with "these aren't for THEM, we moved the couple that was sitting here." I informed my waiter that I was very disappointed with the table, and after a few minutes he came back and informed us that we could sit at the bigger table - that was empty. Yup - Romera is not fully reserved as opposed to what their PR people may say.
                                                The waiter confirmed again that I was a vegetarian and that my husband was not and we began. The first "course" was .5 oz of delicious olive oil with various ingredients (see WSJ article) and served with the worst homemade bread I've ever tasted. Seriously, I'm a carb-nut and this bread was inedible. The second course was the seafood mousse which was served to both of us. I called my waiter over and asked innocently, does my dish contain seafood? The waitress gave me the dumbest look I've ever seen and just said "yes". I went on to explain that I was a vegetarian and that means I don't eat meat, fish or poultry. She didn't respond with an apology, but rather said "we don't serve chicken here". She swept away my dish, leaving my husbands. and there I sat for 5-7 minutes waiting for a vegetarian course, already fuming about the service.

                                                The waiter and waitress (we had two) struggled to explain dish components, look when you tout that a dish contains 15 vegetables - PLEASE be able to list those vegetables. Listing Onion, Beet and Carrot and then struggling to name anything else is ridiculous and borderline fraudulent (ok, I'm being dramatic). Often the water pairings would be dropped at our table by model-type without any word to what the warm brown/green/yellow liquid was. We overheard two other tables finally refuse any additional waters after the 4th course. At another table I overheard a woman wave off the last 3 courses and then actually argue with her waiter because he didn't understand that she just wanted to get the hell out of there ASAP!

                                                The ambiance - was just okay. The Light fixtures had exposed wires, we had to request that they turn the lights up at the table, because legitimately we would have been eating in the dark otherwise (and we are in our 20's so I'm fairly certain it wasn't a lack of night vision on our part). Strange curtains everywhere that would be opened and closed sporadically.

                                                My husband loves to eat, and he loves to reminisce about past meals. He does so by snapping "flash-less" pictures of every course. At the second course a host appeared and told him, "the chef would like to request you to stop taking pictures. the chef would like you to use your sensory memory free of technology." Ok. Look dude, I've taken pics at Per Se, and Guy Savoy and have been invited into the kitchen after. But if that is what the chef wants - heaven forbid Romera operate to please the customer over the chef. BTW - I understand that some folks will agree with Chef Romera. I'm not trying to make a sweeping statement on whether pictures are okay - I'm just relaying my experience and my opinion.

                                                The food was "good". Maybe what you would expect from a 1-star. The plates were artfully prepared - they looked beautiful. But some lacked ingenuity and some just lacked salt. Sadly at times, while my husband dined on Wagyu, I was relegated to three cubes of marinated daikon in a sea of soy.

                                                The absolute nightmare moment was during the 9th course - the Wagyu. They bring out steak in a smoker contraption and then go one to light Myrh incense. I kid you not. The entire room is filled with incense from the 9th course on. It's quite unfortunate to try to enjoy you dessert while the smoke of Myrh fills the air. I couldn't wait to get out of there - I was choking.

                                                There were a few courses that were quite good. But the overall impression is that chef Romera has a cool concept and a really terrible execution, and weird ambience. The staff is awful and needs to be completely retrained - they don't have that professionalism that you see at EMP/Perse/Daniel.

                                                I would avoid at all costs - and speaking of costs: our meal came to $700 for two (tax/tip/cocktails included).

                                                Sorry for the length and the lack of detail on each course. I intend to write up more on each course later - this was merely an early morning rant.

                                                Any questions?

                                                PS - Hungrynewyorker and Imstillhungry: I'll say it so you don't have to... You told me so! :)

                                                -----
                                                Romera
                                                355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: chloes
                                                  strangemd Sep 28, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                  Another reason to love CH. You folks just saved me $700. How many websites can do that? I'm really looking forward to seeing the first reviews in the Times. I'm hoping they let their prose run free.

                                                  1. re: strangemd
                                                    n
                                                    nmprisons Sep 28, 2011 08:59 AM

                                                    So, has anyone read a positive review? Is the restaurant down the tubes in three months or less? Sucks to close a successful place in Europe for this.

                                                    1. re: nmprisons
                                                      p
                                                      peter j Sep 28, 2011 09:45 AM

                                                      FWIW, WSJ writer Katy McLaughlin tweeted:

                                                      "Unbelievable meal last night at Romera New York. The beauty, the flavors, the glamour, the purity. Fascinating."

                                                      http://twitter.com/#!/katymcl

                                                      -----
                                                      Romera
                                                      355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                  2. re: chloes
                                                    a
                                                    agaaga Sep 28, 2011 10:04 AM

                                                    Here is another extremely unpleasant experience with Romera.

                                                    I made a reservation at Romera about two weeks ago. Last week, when I called to confirm my reservation, I explicitly asked whether photo-taking would be allowed as long as it is for personal use only. The lady who answered my call told me to hold on, got back to me in a few minutes and said "It is perfectly alright as long as it's not for any commercial purpose".

                                                    So I went to Romera last night a bit earlier than 8:30PM., and I was escorted to the dining room.

                                                    The interior was just OK, not really amazing or extravagant. Strange curtains and colorful bottles everywhere.

                                                    After I took two shots of photos for their interior before I got seated, one of the managers showed up and said "I am sorry, but the chef does not want you to take photos because he wants our guests to use sensory memory, not the camera."

                                                    As chloes pointed out, I also enjoy taking 'flashless' photos at restaurants and reminisce about my past meals. I absolutely repect a restaurant's policy that forbids photo-taking, and there is nothing wrong with that, thus I have no intention to blame them for it at all. They are just not my kind of restaurants and I never go to those places (namely Momofuku Ko, Masa, Chef's Table).

                                                    I told the manager that I had explicitly asked in advance whether photo-taking would be allowed and they said YES, and that if they had told me about no photo policy, I wouldn't have made the reservation in the first place.

                                                    He then asked me if I remembered the employee's name.
                                                    Look, dude. If I called Romera and one of your staff told me photo-taking was OK, I would have assumed that was your policy right? Who could have thought that a restaurant charging you almost the same price as Per Se had neglected to properly educate their employees and embarrass their guest later on?

                                                    So I told them I would like to cancel the reservation and leave.
                                                    Then you know what the 'manager' said?
                                                    "Well, you know about our cancellation policy? We prepared the food for you and we will still have to charge you."

                                                    What? I am going to be charged for the meal I never ate, because of the mistake and misrepresentation on your part???

                                                    Evenif I had simply left without this kind of bull, I would have been already upset because my entire evening was ruined because of them. Not a word of an apology and a threat to charge me instead?
                                                    I was really, really furious. However, being a civilized person (haha) I told him in a cool manner that I forbid them to charge me anything because it was THEIR misrepresentation and said I would take them to the court if they do.

                                                    On the way to another restaurant nearby to have my dinner, I called them up and a gentleman answered. I asked for "the manager" and he said he was one of the managers.

                                                    I briefly explained the situation and said "When I made the reservation, you did not tell me anything about your cancellation policy either."

                                                    Then he said perhaps there was miscommunication here (again???) and that they wouldn't charge me for this.

                                                    Fine dining is far more than just food (and from what I hear, their food is not even that great).

                                                    Their service is just a disaster.

                                                    With the money I saved, I am having wonderful dinner next week at Per Se.

                                                    I have been to hundreds, perhaps a thousand Michelin rated restaurants in the world including New York, and this was the most pathetic place of all. Avoid this place.

                                                    -----
                                                    Romera
                                                    355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                  3. u
                                                    uwsister Sep 27, 2011 11:49 PM

                                                    Did ANYBODY like this place? At that price (massive cojones, indeed...) you'd think they could manage to leave a good impression on SOMEBODY?

                                                    I have no intention of going, but I am curious in a bad-traffic-accident-observer way.

                                                    1. h
                                                      hungrynewyorker Sep 23, 2011 11:33 AM

                                                      Thank you, ImStillHungry.For those who have asked for more details, this place is really not worth the effort. Silly, absurd, tasteless, pretenious, ill-concieved -- these are the words that come to mind. Likewise, I've been to many fine places in NY and all over the world - this one is nothing but a bad joke.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: hungrynewyorker
                                                        strangemd Sep 27, 2011 08:15 PM

                                                        Well, damn, you folks are pretty convincing, especially at that price. Cancelled my reservation too.

                                                      2. sgordon Sep 22, 2011 05:40 PM

                                                        Well, if you've got the kind of money that dropping $300+ (after tax & tip) on completely untested chutzpah is do-able... you take your chances, I guess. We have our share of "controversial" love-
                                                        'em-or-hate-'em chefs around these parts. Not everyone is a fan of Wylie Dufresne, but you can find out for yourself for a hundred bucks or so. Not cheap by any stretch, but not, like, "it's this meal or the electric bill" either.

                                                        But for a chef to roll into town and charge more than Per Se with a trail of decidedly mixed reviews behind him... I dunno what to make of it. Cojones, I guess. Massive cojones.

                                                        I'm not willing to be among the shock troops on that one.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: sgordon
                                                          i
                                                          ImStillHungry Sep 23, 2011 10:56 AM

                                                          I agree with the original poster. I was there on opening night and this place was terrible. The food is totally unmemorable. The food is flat with no depth.

                                                          There was one dish that keeps coming back to me as a poor execution. We had foie gras (how can you go wrong?) with a HUGE white chocolate disc covering it. While I understand the idea of sweet and savory together, the amount of chocolate on this dish was out of control.

                                                          The aromatic waters served with each course are silly. They add nothing and when you order a wine pairing that makes the sheer number of glasses on your table ridiculous.

                                                          Avoid this place. Wait for reviews. Do what you must to put it off until you hear something from someone you consider a credible source. I have eaten at most of the finer restaurants in New York and this restaurant doesn't deserve to be in the same conversation as any of them.

                                                          -----
                                                          Romera
                                                          355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                          1. re: ImStillHungry
                                                            chloes Sep 23, 2011 11:56 AM

                                                            Thanks to Imstillhungry and hungrynewyorker for providing some more color on this. That makes it TWO terrible votes for this place. My expectations have been appropriately lowered... yet I am still very intrigued.

                                                            1. re: ImStillHungry
                                                              kosmose7 Sep 27, 2011 06:07 PM

                                                              From what I was told, it seems their service is also very absurd and some of the staff have bad attitudes. I cancelled my reservation!

                                                          2. plumpdumpling Sep 22, 2011 03:01 PM

                                                            Seems like this place is reeeeeeally rubbing people the wrong way. But the food looks so beautiful, and I love those menu cards.

                                                            I'm dying to hear more about it from you, but I'll probably still want to go no matter how bad your review is!

                                                            1. h
                                                              hungrynewyorker Sep 22, 2011 10:38 AM

                                                              for those who have asked about the menu at Romera, check this out: http://ny.eater.com/archives/2011/09/...

                                                              -----
                                                              Romera
                                                              355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: hungrynewyorker
                                                                a
                                                                Ann900 Sep 22, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                                If you read my post then you know I did not ask about the menu at Romera. Instead, I asked you to be more specific about what you ate - what was in the dishes. Why a dish didn't work. These kinds of negative reviews that don't get into the specifics, but instead are heavy on generic comments, like, the service was a disaster, not one course was memorable, faux gourmet, and that the place is a flop of historic propositions, are the kind of reviews that always makes me wonder if the writer really ate there and what their real agenda might be with these kinds of posts. Just saying.....

                                                                -----
                                                                Romera
                                                                355 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011

                                                              2. chloes Sep 22, 2011 10:34 AM

                                                                I believe that hungrynewyorker would have dined at during the soft opening (and please correct me if I'm wrong).... so I'm wondering, has anyone experienced Romera since it's official opening on 9/21?

                                                                1. a
                                                                  Ann900 Sep 17, 2011 04:31 PM

                                                                  It would be really helpful if you could provide more specific information about what you ate and the service. Just saying that out of 10 courses, nothing was memorable, or that it was pretentious, does't tell us anything. Ten courses sounds like a lot of food. Was it small plates or amuse, appetizers, fish, meats-what? And can you describe some of the dishes in detail.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Ann900
                                                                    LeahBaila Sep 22, 2011 11:21 AM

                                                                    Agreed. Let's hear it!

                                                                  2. kosmose7 Sep 17, 2011 03:00 PM

                                                                    Uh oh... I have a reservation there next week and I am seriously thinking whether I should cancel it. Was it really that bad?

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