Monday, January 22, 2007

Eating in Bed (New York City)

530 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001

My college girlfriends and I met up in New York this past weekend. We had a great time in Bed together. Get your mind out of the gutter - I'm talking about the uber-trendy restaurant made famous in an episode of Sex and the City! The place was perfectly appropriate for a girls night out. In fact, I can't imagine any heterosexual male choosing to go there without a date in tow (or rather, a date towing him). The main dining room is filled with enormous foam mattresses on low platforms, with mounds of plush pillows for one to lean against while sipping suggestively-named cocktails such as the "Wet Spot". With low lighting and a fake fireplace projected on a large screen dividing the bar from the dining area, it sets the scene for seduction - or for some major girl talk!

Upon being seated and storing our shoes in a special compartment, my girlfriends and I each ordered a $14 cocktail. Seems overpriced to me, but then again, it's New York. The drinks were a bit on the strong side even for a Jack and Coke kind of girl such as myself, but they did have quite a variety of special concoctions including the Autumn Breeze which tasted of apple pie (still undecided as to whether or not that is a desirable taste in a cocktail). We also ordered a couple of appetizers: the barbecue blackened scallops and the beef carpaccio. While waiting, we were served warm, thin slices of bread with garlic cream cheese and roasted red pepper hummus for spreads. These were consumed throughout the meal as we just couldn't stop craving one more bite.

The appetizers came out fairly quickly. I definitely give Bed an A+ for presentation. The scallops rested on a bed of red sauce, yellow corn, and salty nuggets of chorizo, and were topped with a crispy circle of pancetta (who doesn't like bacon?). The carpaccio came with thin slices of beef on the bottom, covered with a crispy assortment of diced vegetables and parmesan shavings, then topped with a pyramid of perfectly crunchy toast points. Both were delicious. The scallops may have been a touch overcooked but went beautifully with the sauce, and the crunch of corn and saltiness of chorizo added tantalizing texture and taste. The carpaccio was very well seasoned and also had great texture with the topping of vegetables. They were gone in seconds.

It's a good thing our entrees came out soon after. Katrina opted for the Chilean Sea Bass which was snowy white with a touch of golden sear on the edges, topped with what tasted like crispy onions, and resting on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. Although the bass was suitably sweet, I thought the texture was a bit too chewy, nothing like the melt-in-your mouth dish I had at Pod in Philly. Trimi ordered the Beef Tenderloin, a nicely done steak with a Shiraz wine sauce and roasted potatoes. While it was good, it was really nothing special and not quite worth its $38 price tag. I had the New Zealand Rack of Lamb, with carrots, zucchini, and what tasted like very salty truffle mashed potatoes, but was actually something called batata baroa (does anyone have any idea what this is??). The lamb was good, but again, nothing special, and not at all as tender as other lamb dishes I have tried (the most memorable being the rack of lamb at a restaurant in Maui whose name I've forgotten - although I'm sure eating outside on the beach at sunset contributed to the heavenly taste).

After so much good food, dessert was a letdown. We split the Crepes Souffle, mostly out of curiosity for what such a dish would taste like. Putting aside taste for a second, our first thought upon seeing the dish was "Is this a calzone?" It looked unappetizing from the start and did not taste much better. Eggy, only slightly sweet, with a burnt caramelized top and a too-sour passion fruit sauce. We really should have saved our appetite for dessert fondue at Dip!

Besides food and decor, service was only decent at best. While the waitress was friendly, she did not seem to know the menu very well. Additionally, the bus boys were abrupt and almost rude, asking to take our plates almost before we were finished and failing to refill our water until asked. The only plus to the service was the speed with which our meals arrived. I also did not appreciate the hostess asking us to check our coats, then being charged $2 for each one.

While eating in Bed is a novel idea and certainly has its charms, the logistics of actually doing so are complicated and by the end of the night I had a crick in my neck from leaning down to eat and was $80 poorer. Maybe I'm just not used to New York prices, but I do think the food was not worth the cost. It was good, but not great, and there are many places that come to mind that would be less expensive yet more satisfying.

New rating system
Food: 7
Service: 6
Decor: 8
Overall: 7

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