One of the last great myths,like blonds have more fun is that you can’t eat badly in New York. You can. In fact you can eat appallingly badly with hardly any effort. AA Gill wrote a piece in the Sunday Times in early 2008 to this effect and I agree whole heartedly. On both business and pleasure, I’ve been to New York 4 times in the past 6 months so have a fairly good sample of foul dining experiences to draw on.
My criticism of New York eateries boils down to the ridiculous over use of garlic and the seeming lack of fresh ingredients. Elly and I had a meal with a friend in a bistro on 6th Ave in November where my steak tartare was so full of garlic it tasted like soft shredded aluminum. Even after cleaning my teeth with a sand blaster I was still tasting it for 24 hours afterwards. Today however, I experienced a new level of pseudo cooking at rip off prices that set a new definition of awful. When you’re next in New York avoid Alfredo’s on 49th and 5th. They claim that Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford ate there and presented the owner with a gold spoon and fork.It should have been a gold spittoon.
The farce began when they brought some bread and dips. Great I thought, crusty sourdough bread with pesto,tapanade and tomato dips. Wrong, 3 varieties of garlic. The only difference was the colour. Red garlic sauce, black garlic sauce or green garlic sauce. The tomato was the worst: garlic,ketchup, garlic mayonnaise and garlic. Vile.
I started with Italian Sushi. I kid you not. If I’d had a brain this being on the menu should have sent me running for the hills. I had the tuna with avocado. Partially cooked tuna wrapped around avocado and then refrigerated until all the taste vanishes. It tasted of nothing at all. When we start making biofood this is how it will taste. Then the signature dish of fettuccine alfredo which was almost cold with un-melted, semi-crunchie factory Parmesan. Fifty times worse than an M&S chill meal, the texture was worst than lumps in mashed potato and less enjoyable than finding a pubic hair in your soup.
Verdict: A rancid shish kebab from a street vendor would be better.