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Posted by HZ on 01/09/2010
Despite living within a mile of 81 and the fact that it has a Michelin star, I had never heard of it. Last nite a friend to us for a celebratory dinner there and I was very, very happily surprised. The food was just great. There is a new grill menu and one of us ordered a hamburger off that menu. This must be the best hamburger in NYC. My dish, the venison was also great as was the dessert. I think I am going to get that Michelin NYC guide and start taking them on, one by one. Starting with 81. Again.
Posted by Barbara on 11/04/2009
I walked in on a tues night with no reservation and my 90 yr old Mom. They were friendly and attentive even when she sent her duck back for more cooking (yikes). I had scallop raviolli and it was one of the best dishes I've ever had. They came around with little shots of hot cauliflower soup for everybody to try. Well worth the money. Wonderful fish. Very good staff.
Posted by UESider on 08/28/2009
Wow. I don't come here often, but every time is a treat. There were six of us, and everyone loved it. The food is great, the service is friendly and attentive and the wine list remarkable. If I lived nearby I'd drop in for their budget menu; since I don't, it's a semi-special occasion restaurant that has never disappointed me.
Posted by Anonymous on 06/24/2009
Don't be put off by some of the earler negative reviews. We had a celebratory meal for six and it was a delight. We all happened to order from the "eco" menu and found plenty to choose from for less daunting prices. The food was exceptional, service excellent, somelier enthusiastic. Tables are spaced well apart and the room was unusually quiet (not all tables were filled). It was a totally satisfying dining experience and I look forward to another visit.
Posted by local foodis on 02/28/2009
So all of the posted reviews get part of 81 right. The food is actually good, subtle flavors, and at least decent portions at a recent dinner (maybe they got the message from some of the "tiny portion" reviews). Cod, boneless colorado lamb, calamari appetizer and lentil soup all had a nice unique twist. Service though is indeed amateurish for a ONE STAR MICHELIN place. Confusion and unfriendly greeting (we were a party of two who walked in together, and the hostess said "please have a seat unti your party is all here"). Huh? Then the incessant offer of bread refills (how many can you possibly eat?) and the 3 (count 'em) attempts to clear the plates even though we clearly still had food on the table and forks in hand. And we thought MICHELIN knew how to rate restaurants. Try Dovetail for upscale dining on the UWS.
Posted by Anonymous on 11/09/2008
I was really looking forward to brunch after reading reviews of this place. Unfortunately, both the food and the service were disappointing for the cost and certainly did not live up to the reviews I've read. We had 2 servers and it was unclear who was the lead. The one who took our order couldn't answer our questions about the menu very well. The tea arrived overbrewed and bitter... when we asked for a replacement the server forgot and we had to ask the 2nd server for it again. The lentil soup was an original twist but the eggs with smoked salmon were a bit too salty and overcooked. As we ate our dessert, the staff started setting up for dinner (around 3PM) and hovered around our table, creating pressure that me and my brunchmate both interpreted as wanting us to leave. At $50 pp for a small app and main brunch course, one shared dessert and tea, this place is just not worth it. There are tons of NY places where you can get a stellar brunch for less...not to mention better service. The coat check gal however, was really nice.
Posted by Minkovich on 08/14/2008
We had an astonishingly dissatisfying dinner there notwithstanding the reasonably high quality of the food. When the portions are so small as to be stupid/insulting/improper/bizarre, it is difficult to enjoy one's meal. In addition, no accomodation whatsoever was made in response to my very legitimate complaints about portion size. I mentioned that the wine glass was not normally filled, to which comment the food and beverage manager replied that it was six ounces. I asked for a measuring cup and was reluctantly produced one. I was right it was not six ounces. So she titred out the missing quantity, with no regret and no sense of humor and did not do what any normal restauranteur interested in keeping a client would do, namely, pour out a few extra ounces (maybe one dollar of Cotes de Rhone) as a gesture of good will. Similarly when I told her that the entree portion of risotto, a thin layer about five inches in diamter was not even the size of a decent appetizer, she said that she would tell the chef needless to say, that was the end of the story. Some years ago when I used to go to the now defunct Le Regence, I once mentioned to the owner that the lamb entree was wonderful. He replied by offering me a second portion gratis. I did not accept it, but that is a gesture that kept me glued to that restaurant and which I will never forget.