If you find yourself hungry in Midtown Manhattan and you want to treat yourself to an excellent meal, don’t go to Bryant Park Grill.
It’s easy to be tempted. The Internet is full of positive reviews. Concierges like mine at The Hyatt Grand Central highly recommend the place. The location in Bryant Park is fantastic with great views from inside where large windows offer front row seats to a parade of humanity strolling by.
And the interior is bright and airy BUT Bryant Park Grill charges for location, location, location without providing food with flavor, flavor, flavor.
The problems began with their beer selection: Budweiser, Coors, Heineken and Corona. I expect generic mass produced beers when I’m traveling on a plane but I haven’t heard a selection this bad in a well regarded restaurant since the 80′s. How about a local beer? How about some craft beers? How about more variety? Or how about switching to wine?
Sadly, with Ménage à Trois, Chalone, Folie à Deux, Jacobs Creek, etc…, the wine was only a marginal improvement over the beer. I’m not saying these wines are bad but I am saying they’re $8 Trader Joes drink-at-home-when-you-don’t-care wines, not I want a nice glass of wine chosen by a sommelier who knows more about wines than I. Still, I was in the mood for something so I tried a wine I was unfamiliar with; An ’09 Ca’ Donini Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio for $9. It was fruity and simple and lost me at bonjourno. I was hoping the food would make up for the beverages.
I started with a white bean vegetable soup with aged Vermont cheddar garnished with a green onion puree for $8.50. With chunks of veggies and beans It looked good. It wasn’t. The vegetables were DOA, lying dormant in a flavorless watery grave. No fresh herbs detectable. What little taste there was had a diluted V8 quality to it. Their secret stock perhaps? This soup was so bad not even Campbell’s would put their label on it.
Oh look! Both my dishes are here at the same time. YIPEE! Great job Bryant Park Grill. Now I can choke down my flavorless soup as my entree sinks toward room temperature. Instead, I pushed my gruel aside and put all my faith on my entrée.
Vegan stir fried curry quinoa for $17.50 with wild mushrooms, roasted cherry tomatoes, serrano chili peppers, English peas and grilled eggplant. I appreciate they offered a tasty sounding vegan option but…whomever plated the dish must have learned their presentation skills at a soup kitchen where glopping the food on the plate earns you volunteer of the month.
A mountain of unappetizing quinoa dominated the plate with a few veggies fleeing over the side. 70% of the plate must have been quinoa, which was waterlogged, with one piece of overcooked eggplant, 4 pieces of wilted asparagus, some grilled iceberg, a few peas and not a wild mushroomn nor flavor of serrano in sight.
If you have no taste buds, love being charged inflated New York prices instead of served good food or think the quality of their vegetarian offerings will in no way reflect their meat dishes, then head on in to Bryant Park Grrrrrrill.