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Apr 14, 2014 05:03 PM

Balthazar downhill alert?

Balthazar is one of my favorite restaurants in New York. Check out my profile — Best Meal I Ever Ate.

So it is with great sadness that I have to report I had a very bad meal there Saturday. And unless they get their act together, I'm never going back.

Mixed Green Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette - Very oily, overdressed, with no trace of sherry vinegar. $13 for a plate of mixed greens and oil. I took the lime wedge from my husband's margarita and squeezed it on to give the salad a tiny bit of acid.

French Onion Soup, aka my "deathbed" meal, $14. I love French Onion Soup. Have had it at Balthazar many times. The soup was my main course the other night.

As soon as it arrived I knew something was wrong. Instead of a slice of cheese melted on top, the cheese had been finely grated. It didn't melt well, and the cheese seeped into the soup, making the broth milky and murky. I hated to do it, but I summoned our nice server and sent it back, explaining why. He apologized, as did the Maitre' D (I think that's who it was, a man at the front wearing a suit). The second bowl arrived with the same finely shredded cheese with the top black and burnt. It was dreadful. And it was a salt bomb. The broth tasted like salt water with whey. I was done after one mouthful. The rest of my party tasted it too and their verdict was the same - awful.

Our server was nowhere in sight, and a busser came by and cleared the bowl which had barely been touched. No questions were asked, and I didn't say anything more. It was my daughter's birthday and I wanted us all to have fun.

For dessert, we split an order of profiteroles and the warm chocolate cake with white chocolate ice cream. The profiteroles were as good as always - three cream puffs filled with ice cream and served with a luscious chocolate sauce.

But the chocolate cake - it was hard as a rock and cracked like a piece of crystal glass when my two gals dug their forks in. Either it was microwaved or baked too long and was way overdone. They left more than half on the plate.

I am so disappointed. Balthazar has always been a reliable place for us to have a nice dinner and celebrate.

I'm going to send them a letter. Even after sleeping on it a couple nights, that bad meal still bothers me. I feel like I lost a friend.

Photo at the top is the second "blackened" soup. Below is original milky soup and the rock hard cake.

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    1. re: AubWah

      yeah, in a way that something covered in cheese shouldn't be capable of pulling off.

      1. re: AubWah

        I can't believe they even sent it to your table!

      2. All of it looks awful, sorry you had such a bad celebratory meal.

        Balthazar is so overpriced. I preferred Artisanal up until last year, but both places seem to have gone downhill. at $14 I expect the french onion soup not to be covered with a layer of charcoal.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pookipichu

          I wouldn't pay $14 for French Onion Soup unless it was drowning in truffles

        2. the only things i like there are the oysters and the carafes of wine...maybe duck confit...i've had some very poorly cooked food there in the past...

          1. I'm not much into dog-piling but I also had a disappointing experience there last year and have no intention of going back. I had grilled octopus and then steak frites, my partner had a very tired salad and moules frites. None of it was even good, never mind outstanding, and the frites were plain bad, which I was most surprised about. I never bothered to review it but logged the place mentally in my 'past its best' file. I went often prior to this and always withstood the sporadic rushed service and tourist-lines, but with the food taking a dive I'm done.

            1. This is so disappointing.