New York City’s cut throat culinary community made a rare allowance this spring, and gave the newly remodeled version Tavern on the Green a chance.
As an iconic restaurant that once represented some of the best this town has to offer in terms of dining experiences it was the least they could do.
Now, reading Eater critic Ryan Sutton’s review of the revamped Tavern, it’s safe to say that the restaurant has blown that chance.
Or rather, blown it up, let the dust settle, and then gone in with a fire hose to wash it completely away. The chance is done.
Sutton writes: “…Tavern is a de facto gastronomic ambassador for the Big Apple, an unfortunate phenomenon for a venue whose $US22 mac ‘n’ cheese is real prison slop. And when the waiter upsells you into topping it off with salmon — because what’s better than oily fish to pair with cheese-y, mushy, pasta — you’ll have spent $US32 on what is surely one the worst things anyone can eat outside of Rikers.”
Tavern on the Green was built in the 1930s by infamous city power broker, Robert Moses. It was meant to be a sheep barn, but instead ended up becoming an ideal type — a symbol of the most luxurious aspects of New York City life.
Previous reviews of this new iteration of the restaurant have been kind. They compared today’s Tavern to the tired, busted restaurant that closed down in 2009.
Even the New York Times’ Pete Wells admitted to going soft on Tavern because of the warm fuzzies the place gave him.
So you may detect an extra cup or two of enthusiasm in my voice when I say that under its new management, the building is woven into the life of the park more fully than in its last incarnation, a wedding-cake palace as imagined by a 6-year-old princess with a high fever. And you may hear a few teaspoons of added regret when I say that it’s not a good restaurant yet by any measure.
“Not a good restaurant” is basically an A+ compared to Sutton’s stunning take down. The tale of his meal sounds like one of Ramsey’s Kitchen’s very worst Nightmares, from the food itself to the service.
Is your food underseasoned? A waiter brings over one of those cute little ramekins that better restaurants use to hold expensive fleur de sel. Here, the elegant cup is filled with what looks and tastes like iodized table salt. Did you order the $US45 brunch to ensure quick access to carbohydrates? The included pastry basket, filled with passable croissants and stale pain au chocolat, might not show up for 20 minutes. Tea, requested when your (excellent) grits with chorizo and eggs arrive, might not come until your (absentee) waiter clears the entrees. Sugar? Five more minutes. Exhausting.
Sutton’s review awarded Tavern on the Green zero stars (and may God have mercy on its soul).
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