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Disappointed by Red Gravy

b
Bkeats Feb 3, 2013 07:10 AM

So we finally made it into Red Gravy. Tried several times before. The first night we went, there were many open tables but we were told that since the place had just opened, they were managing the number of diners to allow the kitchen to work things out. Went to Colonie instead. The next two times, the wait was over an hour and we didn't want to wait. So the fourth time was the charm. Was it worth the wait? Sigh....severe disappointment. We really like Saul and were hoping RG would be a great add to the area.

It's much better looking now than when it was Mezcal's. Service was friendly.

Ordered meatballs and cardone salad to start. Meatballs were tasty but tiny. Smaller than ping pong balls. Cardone salad was watery.

I ordered the special pasta which was sea urchin. I almost never see that dish and I was waiting with great anticipation. A bowl that was four or five inches wide comes with 4 pieces of sea urchin on top. The pasta was perfectly cooked and had a lively briny flavor. You could taste the sea, but 4 little pieces of urchin for $30 bucks on what was ultimately an appetizer size portion?

The last bit of disappointment was the wife's dish. She ordered the "cod." I put that in quotes as she is a New Englander. Spent her entire life eating cod in all it forms. She looked at the fish with some suspicion, poked it, took a taste and said she didn't know what kind of fish it was, but it certainly wasn't cod. Tasted fine, but it wasn't what was advertised.

We've been walking by the place regularly as it was being built out. Really wanted it to be great as the dining on the Atlantic corridor has gotten so much better over time. Mezcals was a fun place to go for decent Mexican food and a pitcher of margaritas. Liked the place with its tacky decor, but we were ready for an upgrade. The long build out made us all the more interested in trying RG. But it was like when you were a kid and you wanted a bright big shiny ballon and you finally get it and you then find it has a small leak and the helium slowly fizzes out and it leaves you deflated

All in all, a let down. We will try it again at some point in the future, but the next night we went to Queen. I used to think Queen was a bit overpriced for the BH area, but after a night at RG, seems like a bargain now.

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  1. Sluggo1407 Feb 3, 2013 07:18 AM

    4 pieces of sea urchin . . . 30 bucks? That kind of portion control will almost surely put this place out of business in a hurry. It would definitely keep me from returning. What a ripoff!!!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sluggo1407
      f
      fishermb Feb 4, 2013 04:23 AM

      I haven't been to RG yet, but there seem to be 2 camps when it comes to the reviews: Those who are drinking the Kool-Aid and say it's amazing, and those who generally think the food and service are very good but pasta portions are way overpriced for how small they are. I'm curious to try the food, but there's just too many other good Italian options in the neighborhood to have a $75 pasta meal and leave hungry. Bkeats I'm curious to know if your wife's 'cod' portion was dinner-sized or does it just seem that the pastas are tiny?

      1. re: fishermb
        egit Feb 4, 2013 09:00 AM

        I haven't been to RG yet, so I'm in neither camp as yet. However, I wonder if the idea is to treat their pastas as a sort of "mid course" to be shared rather than as your main dish. If so, they should state that.

        You'll read about similar gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes over the prices at Scarpetta. I've also done the same at Peasant, where a dinner for two may consist of 1-2 apps, 1 pasta and 1-2 entrees. Sure, it gets expensive, but those two places aren't necessarily trying to fit into the Big Bowl o'Pasta genre.

        If you look at his other two places, Saul and Vanderbilt, they're more geared for the small/shared dishes.

        1. re: fishermb
          b
          Bkeats Feb 6, 2013 12:48 PM

          Sorry for the delay in answering but I've just gotten back from the left coast.

          The cod was on the smallish side. The potato that came with the dish was really small. Ok if you're a light eater.

          Its fine if RG is looking to follow the traditional Italian model of anti, primi and secondi, but that could easily top $60-70 a person just for food and when you get to that price point, I think there are more attractive options. But the name Red Gravy makes you think that wouldn't be the case. I'm not expecting a never ending bowl of pasta, but I'm surprised when I order a starter and pasta combination that costs $40+ and I leave hungry.

      2. hambone May 7, 2013 12:07 PM

        Went this past weekend...

        The secondi (entrée) portions were large enough for me and I'm a big eater. (That pork chop is slammin', too.)

        Thinking back, I thought most of the portions were decent size (within the "feed 'em don't fill em" mantra.) Though I will concede, the ravioli were really good but on the smaller side.

        Flavor wise I thought the food was great. The rabbit chestnut pasta special was amazing. The pork chop, as I said above, was great. All in all a great dinner.

        We ate early, and thank God we did. The kitchen and the floor seemed to be firing on all cylinders. But as our dinner progressed and the room filled, you could see service start to slip.

        Best of all, ramps were on the menu so I was doubly happy.

        1. h
          HungryWino May 28, 2013 06:29 AM

          Last time I was in I left very happy. Had arancini as a snack at the bar with a bottle of orange wine. Both were delicious. Bartender made me a calvados cocktail which was great. Sat down for dinner with 3 friends, everyone liked their food. We ordered two pastas for the table to share, and each ordered a secondi. I had the pork chop and it was dinosaur sized, but cooked correctly and very good. Could not finish it. Pastas were both good, one had clams, forget the other... this last month... We did not have a problem with portions, but I haven't ordered every pasta on the dish, so I will reserve judgement. I think it's worth trying and maybe clarifying with the server whether or not you want pasta as primi or main course? Onus should not be on the diner for that, of course, but pasta was good and maybe worth that effort for now. I like it when places offer half and full portions depending on what you want...

          One of the bigger and well selected wine lists I have seen in Brooklyn in the past year. Had a red wine from Fattoria Zerbina. Memorable.

          1. j
            jenakacirce Jun 2, 2013 05:07 PM

            I checked out Red Gravy this weekend. I thought it was great! I had the nettle cavatelli, which was absolutely delicious. I also had the pickled vegetables as a starter and the rosemary potatoes -- both delicious. For desert, I had the cannoli and this really unique pea semifreddo, which was really great.

            I should also note that I'm vegetarian, and I was pleased to see options for me on the menu. When I first walked by this place a few weeks ago it seemed a bit meat-heavy.

            1. b
              Bkeats Jul 22, 2013 09:16 AM

              Finally made it back to RG during last week's heat wave. Wasn't crowded at all. The focaccia served at the beginning was fantastic. Ordered crudo, salad and a pasta dish and daily special. Food was solid. Quite good. Much better than our initial meal. Service was slow which was surprising since the place was 1/2 empty. Friendly, but really slow. But the food more than balanced that out. I think this place has gotten its legs under it now. We left very happy and will be back again.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bkeats
                hambone Jul 25, 2013 08:38 PM

                If I worked the back of that place I would be pissed!

                The front of the house makes that place seem amateurish and the food is anything but!

              2. hambone Oct 20, 2013 02:12 PM

                Got back to Red Gravy. The food was fabulous, again.

                The wait staff was also great. A nice evening!

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