Bar Americain

Bobby Flay  has been a reasonably successful restaurateur in NYC.  He is on the Food Channel, he has books, he has slowly gained a national reputation.  I always liked Mesa Grill.  Bolo has been around for years and have had good meals there too.  I read about the opening of Bar Americain and figured at one point I’d get up there to try the place out.  Last night was my night. 

Another restaurant designed by the architect, David Rockwell.  I am not a huge fan of his work.  Very large, too many fabrications in one room, very theatrical.  The only place that is subtle enough for my taste that he has done is Town.  Bar Americain is a very large, high ceiling restaurant.  It would be a challenge for anyone.  It is a very high-end midtown type restaurant.  Maybe I sound too judgmental, but that is basically what is reads to me.  Nothing special.  The decor will be old hat in 5 years. 

The menu is just as the name, southwestern American.  American with a bit of a twist.  We didn’t get to taste many things because the service is absolutely atrocious.  It was almost comical.  I was surprised that Bobby Flay wouldn’t make sure that the place was running like a clock after 2 months.  The majority of customers in that neighborhood are going to be big repeat customers.  Hmmm.  We won’t be. 

We got there at 6;45 and told our waiter we needed to leave promptly at 7:50.  We had a screening to go to.  No problem he says.  Yeah, right. 

We ordered a dozen oysters, spicy tuna tartare, roasted cauliflower and goat cheese and 3 tastings from the raw bar which included a lobster crab salad, shrimp with spicy sauce and a chunky guacamole.  We waited, we waited and we waited.  We had already put in a dinner order too.  We were going to split up the lamb chops that came with a sweet potatoes and a pea mint sauce and the chile roasted poussin that we asked to substitute in a chicory salad instead of the bread salad.  We are still waiting.  The waiter seems to be completely ok with the timing.  Now, we are getting a bit annoyed and laughing at the same time. 

The manager comes over and apologizes and says dinner is on her, everything will be coming out momentarily.  We get the appetizers (not correct but they fix it quickly).  The food is ok, not great.  We wait and we wait and we wait for the entrees.  We are 7 minutes and counting from our departure.  Finally out comes the salad and lamb chops but no poussin.  Surprise, the waiter screwed up.  At this point, what was the point.  We got some homemade potato chips and shared the small portions of our entrees.  I was starving. 

Our 7 minutes were up, we got up and left.  No tip.  No nothing.  It was as if we dined and dashed.  Truly in all my years eating in restaurants in and around NYC, this performance beat all others by a long shot.  Too bad, they could always use another decent restaurant in mid-town Manhattan.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Denise

    Hello, I am surprised on the choice wording of “reasonably” successful. I would say he’s more than that even despite your latest experience. I’m sure Bobbi and Mario are political competitors but I didn’t expect you to take sides. I believe they are both over rated and extremely successful.

  2. OTC

    After a downright terrible meal at Bolo and a 3 hour comedy of errors at Mesa Grill, I’ve sworn off Bobby Flay and your review of Bar Americain certianly fits with my experience at Mr. Flay’s establishments. However, I think you’re wrong about that location getting repeat vistors, to me it was put their for all the Bobby Flay groupies visiting New York, this way they don’t have to venture too far from their hotel and they can think Bobby’s back there cooking.

  3. paul

    I went to Bar Americain a couple of weeks ago.
    I found the experience to be quite pleasant.
    The food arrived promptly and was well presented and quite tasty. I had the skate, my friend had steak. Both were very good.
    I like the open kitchen. Bobby himself was working there that night, and roaming about the place – maybe that makes a difference.

    Anyhow, I’d recommend it and I’d go back.

  4. Doug

    I was there the week it opened with my wife. I’m not particularly a fan of Bobby Flay, but internet reviews convinced us to go. We had a great time, all of our food was excellent, and the waiter was efficient and informative. Flay was working in the kitchen on that night as well, so maybe it really does make a difference. Sorry to hear about your bad experience, hopefully it was just a fluke.

  5. Lydia

    Well, they had a hell of a bourbon list, and that sold me. Stop in for a cocktail and dessert at the bar (I suggest the deep dish chocolate cream pie) and enjoy the banter with the bartenders. We enjoyed it, and went there because it was close to our hotel (not such a bad thing for two women traveling alone) and we did not know it was a Bobby Flay restaurant until we got home. I might NOT have popped in had I known in advance it was his place, but enjoyed the experience without worrying about the hype.