A Hundred Celebrations!

Chinese, Cuisine, Fine Dining, Specialty Shops

We’ve reached a momentous milestone:

100 likes on Facebook!

We really wanted to commemorate this special event, and most importantly say a big “thank you” to our supporters and food fanatics. So we celebrated the only way we know how: we ate something nasty.

In honor of 100 likes, Dinner Royale presents to you…

The 100 year egg

Thanks, Facebook. So nice of you.


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Steak Out House

American, Cuisine, Fine Dining, New York

The Battleground

Bobby Van’s, Financial District, New York

The Contenders

Lobster Ravioli vs. Roasted Chicken Breast
Lobster ravioli, sage butter, sauteed spinach and shrimp chunks? Served with  a side of tears.

Lobster ravioli, sage butter, sautéed spinach and shrimp chunks? Served with a side of tears.

Legs:

It’s been awhile since I’ve had lobster ravioli, but I always dwell on the memory fondly. Sadly, that was not the case at this gourmet Wall Street eatery. Maybe it’s my fault for ordering something other than steak at a steakhouse, so I guess I got my just desserts.

Lobster ravioli in sage butter? Yep, definitely. Cheers. Intense excitement built up during the salad round. Sadly, the instant my plate was set in front of me I knew exactly what was in store. Frozen. The sad, saggy centers held only a remnant of their pre-freezer glory. Tell-tale black zebra stripes decorating the pasta could only be produced by machinery. Call me crazy for expecting something fresh at $28 a plate.

My “sage butter” was just droplets of oil adorning the dish. The tough pasta did nothing to soak up my pathetic attempt at a sauce. Luckily, the lobster in the middle was in nice chunks. Frozen, thawed, stringy, chewy chunks. This catastrophe was sitting on a bed of spinach. Great! I love spinach! For reasons unknown to me, the chef decided to throw chopped bits of shrimp in with the sautéed greens?? Doesn’t make any sense; I can’t make heads or tails of it.

I’m in trouble.

Roasted chicken with creamy risotto and apple cider sauce. Strong aftertaste of regret.

Roasted chicken with creamy risotto and apple cider sauce. What hath God wrought?

Snax:

That’s right. I didn’t get a steak either. You’re probably thinking that we’re both crazy, but all of the steak options had supplemental charges and we weren’t exactly eager to spend at Bobby Van’s. So I went with the safe choice, chicken…I’m so naive.

What really drew me to the dish was the promise of apple cider sauce. What I got instead was the flavor of buttered movie popcorn with an almost caramel-like aftertaste. It was very strange but surprisingly tolerable with a spoonful of creamy risotto. This isn’t to say that the risotto rode in on a white stallion to save the day. They just complimented each other well in their fierce mediocrity and left me at the mercy of the evil king.

There was nothing thrilling about the chicken. It was OK and even had a decent char to it at times. Unfortunately it wasn’t consistent and slipped from a nice flavor to a burnt reminder that life isn’t always fair. The worst part was when the burnt flakes of chicken found a new home in the risotto like a friend who overstays his welcome at your place after getting kicked out of his. Hopefully chicken flakes can get off of my crummy risotto couch, get a job, and win this thing.


And the winner is… Snax!

✓Protein  ✓Sauce  ✓Sides/Veggies  ✓Presentation

My chicken tasted like chicken and my strange sauce and risotto mixture was also food. It’s hard to lose when your opponent is a specimen of mass production on top of an irrational pile of spinach and shrimp. Bobby Van’s, you’re a steakhouse in New York City and you somehow left us disappointed. Let’s see how Legs deals with another equation that doesn’t add up as she suffers this week’s punishment.


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Legs isn’t done yet! Check out how she really feels about Bobby Van’s in the very first issue of Sour Grapes!

Sour Grapes: Bobby Van’s

American, Fine Dining, New York, Sour Grapes

There’s a lot on my mind about Bobby Van’s, but first let me establish some credibility.

I’ve spent 4-5 years in the food industry at four different restaurants, both in front and back of house.  I know intimately all the ups and downs that come with food service, as well as the tricks restaurants don’t want you to know (more of your food is frozen than you think).  Because of my experiences, I’m slow to complain about service and food and quick to make allowances for less-than-fabulous experiences.  However, after my meal at Bobby Vans I just couldn’t keep quiet.

When we walked in at 7:00pm on a Friday to a nearly empty restaurant, I should have been scared.  I shrugged it off as a lunch crowd place.  It is, after all, directly across from the NY Stock Exchange.  Bobby Vans is an institution!  They don’t need to be busy at peak dinner hour on the weekend, right?

Our surly server begrudgingly took our order.  Having been in his shoes, yes, restaurant week probably sucks.  You’re taking a serious pay cut when three courses are offered for $38.  But as any seasoned server knows, you grin and bear it because that’s how the industry works.

“[Restaurant week] is your chance to wow me so I come back for my special occasions.”

-Snax

-Wow us, he did not.-

I’ve been to four establishments for this year’s restaurant week, and all most of them really focused on making their menu special.  Bobby Vans only included salads as appetizer choices.  Oh, how special.

My entree was beyond terrible.  Now granted, I don’t necessarily expect fresh, homemade pasta.  That’s a ridiculous standard to keep when you’re cranking out business at New York’s volume.  However, I’ve honestly had delicious, high-quality, frozen lobster ravioli at other places.  This was far below that standard.  Outside of restaurant week, the ravioli costs $28 a plate!!!  Highway robbery!

Snax’s chicken was clearly better, but it still wasn’t a victory.  The sauce was… buttered caramel corn flavored?  And the chicken, while moist, had charring in places that bordered on burning. There was not a vegetable in sight, unless you count risotto (I don’t).

In my opinion, this is a restaurant that peaked and is unwilling to accept that their glory days are over.  Yes the decor was beautiful, and yes they have a $1,500 bottle of wine on their menu.  But if you never update the food to fit current trends, how can you expect to stay relevant?

I’m guessing the NYSE keeps the place in business, because it’s certainly not the weekend crowd.  Even their own press page is heinously outdated.  With so many original, innovative, cozy places to eat in New York, why would anyone waste (a lot of) money here?

-Legs

 

The best part of the meal was when I discovered the truth behind our “candlelight dinner.”

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