Another Pardes Review
So I finally made it to Pardes! Here's how it went:
-Atmosphere: The place was super crowded and cramped. At one point mid-meal the waitstaff asked us to move to another table to accommodate more customers. They set up a table off to the side for us. In return they gave us an extra dessert on the house, which was a nice gesture. The crowd leaned heavily frum, bearded, trendy and young.
-Service: The waitstaff was kind and knowledgeable, but when things got really crowded they started making mistakes. For example, they removed the bread basket we were still working on and didn't replace it when asked. We had a question about what was in one of the dishes but they were unable to find out because they were too busy. They tried to take the check away before we were done signing the bill, we were in the middle of benching and it was a bit complicated. Basically the service was great until it got crowded, at which point it went downhill quickly.
-Food: The waiter recommended we order 4 dishes from the meat section. We ordered 3 and were full but not stuffed. Very glad we didn't go with the 4th, against the strong recommendation of our waiter. The bread basket and accompanying sea salt were delightful. My biggest disappointment of the evening was when it was taken away before we finished it. (Not that the evening was disappointing, in fact it was the best meal I've had in my life, but want to give an honest review). We had the shisito poppers which were excellent. My only complaint was that there were supposedly raisins in the "dirt" but we only found one. Nonetheless, it was excellent. Our next dish was the BLT, which was amazing. Every flavor was perfect. However, given that it was a BLT, I would have liked there to be more bacon, other than the few very small pieces we had. I'm not complaining about portion size, there was plenty of food and other meat on the plate, just ratio. Our third dish was the duck breast with pumpkin puree and pumpkin crumble. The pumpkin was outstanding but the duck itself underwhelmed. Nothing exciting about it. Maybe a touch dry. There was also an Earl Gray Jelly that was nearly flavorless. I love subtle flavors but I really had a hard time getting any tea taste from it. The pumpkin puree was the most exciting part of the night, but when asked the server would not tell us what was in it. Now I would totally understand if they said "sorry, trade secret" or something of that nature, but their excuse, as well as the excuse of the other server we asked, was that they were "too busy" to find out. We were there for several hours, I really think at some point they could have asked.
-Desserts: We had 3 desserts (2 that we ordered and one sent over by the house for moving us mid-meal). One of the standouts was an absinthe-caramel-fig sauce that was a part of one apple dessert. It was a delightful and unexpected combination. The dessert sent over by the staff had something I was allergic to so I couldn't eat it, but my husband seemed to enjoy it.
Overall the meal was fantastic, truly one of the best, or the best I've even eaten. Certainly the most creative. A few drawbacks with the service, but nothing really serious. I think Chef Moshe is incredibly talented and hope that he opens more restaurants in the future. I will B"H be back when we have another occasion to celebrate.
I go for the exciting food. I find the staff knowledgeable, courteous and helpful - most of the time. For example, I was late recentley, meeting two couples who had never been there. I arrived to find the hostess explaining how the menu worked in a courteous and really useful way. And our waiters and waitresses have been wonderful about telling us what is on each plate they bring. And about things like new utensils at the change from fish to meat.
On the other hand, as the house gets crowded and the evening wears on things can be forgotten and errors made. I haven't experienced the rudeness or arrogance I sometimes get in Manhattan, merely an occassional error by new or novice wait staff. It is also true that the space is tiny.
But on the other hand, the food is fabulous, a fresh adventure every time I go. And under priced IMHO. The check when it comes is substantially less than dinner would have been at the leading major Manhattan restaurants. It's as though Pardes charges you for the food, but doesn't bill for the excitement of the eating experience. Priceless.
Can you expand a bit on portion sizes? In relation to the glowing reviews for the food, the prices seem quite moderate -- esp. when compared to PG, Mike's or (gulp) Reserve Cut. I am wondering if the portions are not quite entree-sized. Assuming a party of four goes out to dinner, would each person be satisfied if they order individually? Or, do you recommend ordering, say, 5-6 dishes to be shared among the four people?
The portions are shareable (I always share with whoever is with me). You can take a look at actual portion sizes on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pardes...
To answer your other question - I typically share with one person, but I wouldn't share a meal with two. When I'm there, I try to do a bunch of tastings--pretty sure I had 2 fish dishes + 3 meat dishes for the two of us last time. Figure out what works with 4 people ;) You may need a little more!
It's not really an entree-per-person type place. When the waiter was explaining the menu to us, he said that the dishes are brought out as they're prepared. So in your case, all4 of you wouldn't have your food at the same time. The waiter we had was pretty helpful in determining how much to order.
Kosher King, You need to shift your model, Because Pardes is a small plates restaurant. Not an appetizer, main and dessert restaurant. For 2 people at Pardes, we order 4-5 dishes, and share a dessert. With 2 couples, 9 or 10 dishes and share 2 or 3 desserts. You can use the plates they serve on as serving dishes, each taking a portion onto your individual plates. I find that a full meal of this sort, with wines and beer (you have got to explore the Pardes beer list) dinner comes to somewhat less than at Prime Grill. (I've been to Reserve Cut and cannot imagine why anyone pays those prices for that calibre of food) The difference is that at Prime you will have an excellent steak. At Pardes you take your senses on an adventure into the land of culinary delight.