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Reviews + Photos from nymag.com
Posted by RF on 01/07/2007
Went to Freemans for the first time in a while for brunch today. The expanded space is nice--faster seating, also more bathrooms. The service, which had been indifferent and or surly in past visits (as remarked upon by other reviewers) was really good today. The host was very pleasant, and our server was upbeat and thoughtful, refilling our coffee several times and allowing us to nurse the last cup in peace even though there were people waiting outside. Aforementioned coffee and the food were good, although the steak sandwich was tragically no longer on the menu. I had the beef brisket hash, which was very good--just the right portion, and not greasy or overseasoned.
Posted by Anonymous on 01/07/2007
Walking down Freemans Alley feels somewhere between China and Rome. The restaurant itself is like your English uncle's hunting lodge. When full, which is almost always, the series of rooms are a little loud and the service is little harried, but for the most part it doesn't detract from the great experience and even better food. We go often for brunch and dinner and have eaten at tables and at the bar. We've gone alone and in large groups and with small children and it's always fun and delicious. If you don't want to wait for 1-1/2 hours, go right when they open or just be prepared to wait. Either way, it's worth it.
Posted by roma d on 12/09/2006
I agree with the other reviewers now - there is a tense vibe to this staff. Gave it two tries - totally enjoyed food, specialty cocktails and surroundings, but there IS an almost comic element to the attitude of the waitstaff, from grave lumberjack maitre d' to prim schoolmarm waitress to bleeryeyed busboy dropping silverware on your shoulder. Maybe it's the formaldehyde leeching out from the decorative taxidermy. Last night, our waitresses' comments illicited eyebrow raising from the even the next table! The place is jammed and the food is great, so whatever this equation is about is working - for them. Go and see and write back!
Posted by Celeis32 on 11/21/2006
My parents live off Freeman alley and we have been wanting to try Freemans since it opened. So finally, for my 25th birthday dinner, I decided it was time to go, despite reviews of long waits and snobby service. And I refute all reviews about the service. Yes, there was a wait but the maitre'd gave us a first round of drinks on the house when it was longer than what he had originally said. Then we were seated at one of the secluded banquets and the wait staff was extremely helpful and personable. And of course the food was amazing! The shrimp and artichoke dip starters were off the charts and my cod dinner was delicious and unique without being ostentatious. I definitely cannot wait to go there again, it's certainly worth all the hype.
Posted by Anonymous on 10/24/2006
On a recent trip to New York, my boyfriend and I were taken to this little secluded gem by a friend of our's in the city. The wait was quite long, but that is to be expected of a restaurant which is certainly high on the "hip scene". We saw a couple of very famous movie stars literally five feet from us (they had to wait on a table too, so I did not feel slighted!) The food was very tasty. I had the filet mignon as did my boyfriend. My only complaint aside from the long wait was that the restaurant was stifling hot. We went in October and it was very cold outside so I had worn a turtle neck and jacket. I thought I could have had a heat stroke. A roaring fire was going on top of what felt like central heating. Also the lighting is very low and I could hardly see the food on my plate. Go for the ambiance and the experience of getting out of the "tourist places". With any luck you might just rub shoulders with a celebrity!
Posted by SoHoResident on 10/23/2006
It's the way you say it. This is where hipsters go when they grow up. We had a good experience, but it was kind of brought down by what we saw around us. My husband and I went here on a Saturday night at 8:00 pm. We had a two hour wait, which is pretty customary for a popular restaurant, not a big deal. The hosts were very nice, the ambiance is great, the food is really good. Service is the issue--it was sort of higher-end food with lower-end McService. While waiting at the back bar to be seated, we found good service with enormous attitude. After the bartender gave the woman next to me sugar instead of salt for her cod, which ruined her meal, she quickly made it right by offering a new dish, but she was kind of a jerk about it. She did the right thing, but couldn't bring herself to be gracious. Later, when I was poured the end of a bottle of wine (no issue there) but about a 1/2 inch of sediment, I was very promptly given a fresh glass when I asked, but it came with a condescending remark about knowing about "quality wine." A little sediment is good, yes, but a 1/2 inch isn't something I'd give to guests. It's not what you say, it's how you say it, and little attitude improvement would go a very long way. When we got to our table, the servers were very nice and well-intentioned, but we didn't see much of the (hard working) server, and we got the feeling it was sort of a "get them in, get them out" philosophy. Maybe they need to hire a few more people? When our meal came, it was excellent, and the lavender ice cream dessert was lovely. The ambiance is great too. With a little tweaking, this place will be phenomenal.
Posted by Event Planner on 09/11/2006
I plan events for a prominent cable network. My job includes checking out new and upscale restaurants, and I went to Freemans on the recommendation of more than one person. I've yet to actually have a meal there and doubt I ever will. The attitude at this restaurant is quite poor. The first time I went there, it was very late, and there were plenty of empty tables. I was with a friend who is disabled and walks with canes, and we were told if we weren't eating we would have to sit at the bar. Anyone with an ounce of generosity would have seated us so my friend could be comfortable. Instead, he was forced to ask a manager to let us sit. The next time I went, we were willing to wait the hour and a half for our table, but there were no empty seats at either bar and nowhere to even stand comfortably. When one of my friends asked the hostess if she would call our cell when our table was ready, she tersely replied "We don't do that." This at a restaurant which inexplicably won't take reservations. I've eaten at some of the best restaurants in the city and across the country and never have been treated with such an attitude. Part of what makes a great restaurant is graciousness - making the customer feel welcome and accommodated. At Freemans the hostess might as well have said "Whatever, we don't need your business." No food is that good. The next restaurant we went to that night was also packed and the hostess graciously brought us drinks and offered to (guess what?) call our cell when a table came free. When we thanked her profusely, she said "It's no big deal. I know how to use a phone." Exactly.