Dear Food Diary:
I was excited to check out celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s new UWS casual spot American Table Cafe and Bar the day after their opening night. Situated right inside the grand Alice Tully Hall. It’s spacious and well lit. Perfect location for before or after a show. The soups started our meals off on a good note, unfortunately, it was downhill after that. High prices without the dishes to back it up.
Order at the counter and find a seat with the number. Comfortable seating, the crowd came in waves, I assume the show times had something to do with it. Looking out while waiting with a glass of wine, it’s good for people watching. There’s an ridiculously long couch at the back, talk about communal seating!
I tried a glass of their Gruner Veltliner, Bethel Heights 2010 ($14). It looked cloudy and mirky, apparently unfiltered. I didn’t love it.
CAULIFLOWER SOUP coconut milk, lime, roasted corn ($8)
Smooth and velvety. The sweetness of the corn, the bright lime and coconut milk were softly present, without outshining the simple flavors of cauliflower. Creamy, balanced and lighter than expected.
SCALLOP SAUSAGE CURRY water chestnuts, charred scallions ($17)
I didn’t expect a soup as my entree, the description wasn’t too clear, thankfully this was pretty chunky. The flavors were very Asian. Notes of lemongrass, coconut and curry danced around the bowl. Meaty pieces of “scallop sausage”, which tasted and looked like scallops. The crunchy sweet water chestnuts were surprises here and there. Potato pieces helped make this a bit more filling. The charred scallions added nice flavor. But the cilantro strands seemed to be randomly cut and thrown in without much care. Too long and big for my spoon to hold comfortably. Plus, the “soup” was lukewarm, which is a complete no no in my book. I wouldn’t mind having it again, but $17 seemed a bit hefty, even though the flavors were good.
LOBSTER ROLL crispy shallots ($19)
Looks were totally deceiving in this case. The bun to lobster ratio was laughable, it dwarfed the filling. It was a cold bun, no love from the grill or butter, just plain cold and a little hard. Very disappointing. The lobster pieces were tiny and not very memorable. StalkerBoy and I were wishing Red Hook Lobster Truck could of driven by and saved the night! Seriously, this is $3 more than the best lobster roll in the city – just plain outrageous.
At this point, we were hungry after spending $60+ between the 2 of us!!! So we ordered on more thing… (suckers)
TACO DORO WAT ($12)
The chef’s Ethiopian twist on a Mexican staple. The flavor were ok, but the meat was a bit dry, a little bit of salsa could of helped. And at $4 each, this is plain LOCO! I felt cheated, seriously muy loco.
Believe it or not, we were still hungry, but just gave up after spending about $75 for 2. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind spending extra for great food, but what we tried really wasn’t there. So instead we bought some cookies to fill us up at the movies afterwards. Not happy about that.
I love the space, but unfortunately that isn’t edible. Overall the prices just didn’t justify the food that we got. The soups were good, but I don’t think I’ll be returning any time soon. The Lincoln Center area has other better choices for a quick bite before or after a show, like Indie Food and Wine across the street or Epicerie Boulud.