Bar Americain

152 W 52nd St. New York, NY 10019(212) 265-9700 baramericain.com

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If it pleases the court, I would like submit exhibit A into evidence, that Bobby Flay is stretched WAY too thin. The menu, while quite promising in theory, falls flat on its face in execution. Maybe he should retire from Iron Chef, or stop throwing down and get back in his restaurants to make sure they are living up to his name, because quite frankly, they aren’t. Mesa (RIP) has fallen and Bar Americain can’t get up. I hear Gato is supposed to be good, but after eating here, I’m definitely skeptical.

First, the airplane hanger-sized dining room doesn’t do much in terms of making you feel like you are in for something special. On the contrary, you feel more like cattle being herded into a money-making machine. This is not to say that all large dining rooms are bad and all small ones are quaint. I happen to like the dinning rooms of Cipriani, Tao and Guastavino’s very much. And all three are equally grand. But that’s just it, they are grand. Not just big.

Anyways, enough about the decor. I’m sure you want to hear about what sucked, so without further delay I will say almost everything. Well, not “sucked,” that’s unfair, but underwhelming for realz.

From the triple greens salad to the tuna tartar to the pork chop to dessert, which was so impressionable I can’t even remember what it was, none of it was worth the time or money… with one exception.

If you have to have to go here, then the cioppino is your salvation. If you don’t know what the hell that is, it’s basically an Italian bouillabaisse. It’s spicy and the bread that comes with it is diptastic. Sadly, that’s the only thing I had, in two separate visits, that is worthy of the “tastic” suffix.

2 teeth

Ilili

236 5th Ave. New York, NY 10001 • (212) 683-2929 ililinyc.com

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I’ve only eaten lunch here (several times), but one of these days I will be back for dinner.

Of the many visits however, here are some of my learnings: For my first trip I had the prix fixe (great deal) and decided to go with the Phoenician fries which, I have to say, are probably the best fries I’ve even had in my life along with the Lamb Dip. The lamb was definitely good too, but compared to the fires, it took second.

The bread was also good (warm puffy pita), as was the cucumber, mint lemonade. The only miss was dessert, the caramelized banana bread was just eh.

As for decor and service, both were excellent. Decor being a very pleasant surprise. It’s sleek and hip and a very popular spot for happy hour.

So that rounds out my first impression. Upon returning, however, here’s what else I learned. Get the mezzes as opposed to the prix fixe. It’s definitely the way to go. The brussel sprout dish alone is worth a second, third, fourth and fifth trip. Easily the best brussel sprout dish I’ve ever had – and for those of you who have been to Cleo in LA, yes, this one is better.

We also had several other dishes from tuna belly, to lahamajeen, to hummus and all were quite good as well. The only thing that was a bit of a let down were the stuffed grape leaves, which is a shame, because that’s one of my favorite dishes- but whatevs- with everything else as good as it is, I’d put this in the top 5 med restaurants in the city without a second thought. Granted until I go for dinner I’m holding back on the fifth knife.

4 teeth