Borough Food and Drink
There is something amiss the minute you walk into Borough Food and Drink. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, at first. Am I on a movie set? The decor is just awful and almost perfectly awful. Am I in a Houlihan’s or maybe a TGIF or perhaps a Bennigans. Maybe it is just a combo of the three. The lighting is very bright. Sort of like a fern bar in the suburbs. No offense to anyone in the suburbs. Maybe who ever designed the restaurant had a vision for what a New York City restaurant should look like, on television.
The waiter came by, finally, and gave us a little background on the decor, the restaurant and the menu. Have you been with us before? Am I in Disneyland? We finally got to order our drinks which took a while to get to our table. So, we set out to order. Our friends love to share, so going out with them is always fun. We all decided that if we shared everything our odds for having just a completely bad meal were more optimal.
Conceptually the idea behind Borough Food and Drink is to serve local meats and products from New York State and city. The ingredients are incorporated into the dishes. For instance, they serve Katz’s Matzo Ball Soup or Dumplings from Allen Street and Herring from Russ & Daughters. The menu is very eclectic.
We started with the pork sliders, Guanciale & ricotta flat bread, Dumplings and Heirloom tomato mozzarella salad. Two small pork burgers, way over cooked and tasteless filled with a spicy heavy on the mayo coleslaw. First bite told me that I was very glad we were all going to share in this experience together. The Dumplings tasted like something out of the freezer. The stuffing had no taste whatsoever and the dumpling cover was bland. Did they really come from Allen Street? The flat bread was probably the best thing. A tiny square pizza with melted ricotta and slices of crispy bacon but so salty that I didn’t go back for another piece. Tomatoes were tasteless and they did not appear to be grown outside but more likely in a hot house. Mozzarella was nothing to write home about.
Next was dinner. We went for four choices. Fried Chicken which was served with mac and cheese and a few other things that I can’t recall. Our friend took a bite of the sides on that plate and warned everyone, do not taste this, it is awful. I couldn’t help myself. I wasn’t sure what I was eating but it was inedible. The chicken was bland, not that crunchy and not that juicy. This was a weird combo but we went with it. A Kielbasa Reuben sandwich. Strange. Actually not that bad but very salty. Grilled kielbasa with melted swiss cheese and coleslaw. The Lobster dish sounded interesting so we went with that too. Lobster served jerk style. The lobster comes with utensils for cracking the lobster. Why they don’t crack it for you in the kitchen is beyond me. I was a mess once I finished. The waiter said I had to ask to get the kitchen to do that for you. Why, please explain. At least give me a wet one to wipe up. They don’t have them but they could point me to the bathroom or give me another napkin. Where am I? At a crab boil? The last thing that came out of the kitchen was a pulled pork shoulder which was so salty it was inedible. We all took one small boat and shoved it aside.
Leaving, I actually asked another table, what they thought of the meal. They trashed the place and the service. Personally, I think the space the restaurant is in on 22nd street is cursed. At one point, I believe there was a Hooters there. We left and decided to have a night cap at Barbuto, which has a fantastic space on Washington Street. Washington Street was hopping, Barbuto was not. The food there has gone down hill from the minute they opened their doors. We strolled in and got four seats at the bar. After a long night of fun and bad food, we put Barbuto on deathwatch. One of my favorite features of Eater.com.
Luckily we were with really fun people who were laughing at the food too otherwise I wouldn’t still be laughing this morning.