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The Early Word at Abe & Arthur's

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[Krieger, 10/6/09]

MePa: After weeks of friends and family nights and industry preview parties, Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum's much buzzed about restaurant/lounge Abe & Arthur's finally opened to the public five days ago. And before we even had time to run the beautiful Daniel Krieger photos, bloggers, critics and the like have filed their reports as they try to determine whether or not this is the next MePa hotspot. One thing that virtually everyone agrees on is that this place is a looker. As for the food, the results so far have been skewed toward the notion that the place has some work to do. On to early word reactions:

The "Not Quite There Yet" News: Gael Greene tweets her assessment: "Ate in near total darkness lasngt at Abe & Arthur:still a work in progress. very promising food by Franklin Becker.Popover to swoon over." [Twitter]

The Great News: A 'Hounder gets in an early word after attending an "industry dinner" and likes what they see: "Went there last night for an industry dinner before it opens to the public. It was SO SO good. Great ambiance, music and perfect service. Main courses were the Branzino, scallops and the chicken. All were made perfectly, moist and very simple but very flavorful sauces. Desserts are a MUST. We went with the bread pudding, the angel food cake and the best of all was the "Carnival". This was a wheel of donuts with choices of sauces you can inject into each donut for different flavors. I can not wait to go back to try more." [CH]

The "It's Underwhelming" News: The Food Doc stops in for dinner and isn't wowed: "The vibe I got from the place was that of an upscale, hipster steakhouse, not a promising sign...[For apps] I tried the sweet and spicy meatballs: the tomato-based sauce, garnished with cranberries, was adequately spicy but a bit cloying, and the meatballs, although light and moist, were nonetheless a tad bland and homogenous in texture. Thankfully, whatever meat I could taste was seasoned and cooked properly...For the main course, we decided to choose the prime rib for two, cooked medium rare...It was not Minetta Tavern, but the steak was heaps better than the appetizers...In the end, I must admit that I was underwhelmed by the food at Abe and Arthur's. If one must eat there, skip the appetizers and go for the steak entrees." [Food Doc]

The Decent News: There isn't an outpour of feedback on Yelp at this point, but what's there isn't necessarily dire. One user loves it: "Decor is beautiful and original- from the mirrored walls to the see-through stair case- you cant believe your in the old lotus!! food was delicious - and prices were what you would expect from any place on that caliber - cant wait to go again!" But another finds that although the place is "absolutely gorgeous," the "wonder sort of stops there. Drinks were good and decently priced, and food was not too pricey, but you get what you pay for for sure. Portions are small, nothing is really special-its the whole take on gourmet comfort food/American favorites but nothing is very creative. If you want a night out to put on that cute dress, bop your head to good music, and see good looking people-go for it. If you want a culinary experience, not your place." [Yelp]

The Great News: @katyune is a fan: "I went to Abe&Arthurs on Friday-cod is fantastic and def have the molton choc cake although the carnival is the "it" dessert." [Twitter]

Abe & Arthur's

409 W. 14th St., New York, NY