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The Early Word on Lunch and Brunch at the Breslin

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Horine, 10/19/09

On Friday, Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield opened their Ace Hotel restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and brunch, angering the mosque members across the street and giving the early hordes something to sample before launching a full dinner service. Though it's been sending out food for a mere four days, the bloggers, writers, Yelpers, and Eater readers have wasted no time filing their thoughts on the restaurant. In sum, there are some service kinks, delays, and an oversalted dish or two. But there's also a spectacular lamb burger, hype-worthy fries, and the obvious, that gorgeous dark room. Take a look at the onslaught of early feedback as the masses await the full dinner reveal:

The Excellent News: An Eater reader goes on day one and reports back with this assessment: "1) Of course the managers were freaking out and the bartenders with a little cautious and nervous, but that is to be expected on the first day. All the bartenders were super friendly and down to earth. 2) Yes, Alain Ducasse was right. Those were the best french fries in NYC hands down. The inside was almost the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes and the outside was perfectly crispy and super salty. Bravo! 3) The fries came with the lamb burger, which was served on a Sourdough bun with feta cheese and a cumin mayo on the side. The patty was super-juicy and salty. Absolutely delicious. 4) But the real winner for me is the chocolate doughnut dessert and I am not a dessert person at all. 5) The one disappointment was the roasted pumpkin with pomegranate seeds. It was tasteless and bland. Go figure." [Eater Inbox]

The Mostly Good News: Blackbook has mostly good news for an opening day lunch: "They brought me the Caesar salad that was supposed to go to the guy next to me, though I was a little hungry and didn’t notice...the Caesar was pretty great, nice, meaty fork-and-knife lettuce pictured. None of this small chopped romaine bullshit...the beef tongue sandwich arrived on had a nice, crunchy bite to it, and the tongue—instead of your typical deli-thin slicing—was almost a patty, from which a hit of strong, garlicky, beefy flavoring emerged on each bite. It was glorious. The malt vinegar and sea salt fries were nice, sausage-sized bites, but a little overly salted..." [BB]

The Bad News: One of the first Yelpers to review the space notices some definite kinks: "Space: Lovely...Service: Decent...Food: Their sides of home fries were delicious and the sausages were great. And overall, the food is super well seasoned...BUT.. and these are big BUTS...a) What's with the LONG wait for food? It took them a good 20-30 minutes to serve us our apps. Another 20-30 minutes for our eggs to come out. b) Side of mixed green salad: My friend ordered the 7 dollar side order of green salad. The serving of green salad was (and I'm not exaggerating) the smallest order of salad I had ever seen...c) Portions are WAY too small...d) Since the eggs don't come with anything else, you're encouraged to order any of the 7 dollar sides. Or toast - which comes dry. Now, if you ask ONLY for butter, it'll be free. But, if you order jam, they'll charge you 2.50 for that..." [Yelp]

The Mixed News: A few notes from Gotham Gal: "2 of us started out with the onion/bone marrow soup with a Parmesan cheese over the top. Basically onion soup Bloomfield style. Rich, rich, rich. A tad on the salty side but loads of flavor, almost too much...One of us went with the cod ( I think it was cod ) terrine. Not what he was expecting. It was tasty but cold fish mixed with a sauce and sauteed greens around the side wasn't his thing. Wouldn't be my first choice...The lamb burger covered with feta cheese is truly fantastic...I went with the beef tongue. Honestly, fantastic. Perfectly cooked, melts in the mouth..." [GG]

The Good Brunch News: Hotel Chatter offers an assessment on brunch: "The first sign that the staff are still finding their groove was the wait itself. We needed a table for two—and could see a smattering of them in the dining room—but we were still told the wait would be about 10 minutes...just getting the bartender’s attention took 10 minutes itself. Even though there were two other people behind the bar with him, busying themselves with unknown tasks...The lamb was gamey and juicy and perfect on a burger, and those chips—yes, they might just be the best in the city, as a blackboard boast in the bar proclaims...We also sampled our friend’s grilled three cheese sandwich with house-smoked ham, which was smoky and creamy, and reminded us that we must try the other house meats, notably the house-cured bacon and sausage on the sides menu...Brunch at the Breslin is bound to become a mob-scene very quickly—but for good reason. [Hotel Chatter]

The Bad News: Another Eater reader attempts lunch on day one and isn't so lucky: "Just returned to my office after an attempt at the Breslin. We put our names down for a "5-10 minute wait." All of the employees seemed very confused, but I felt that was totally expected considering how fresh it is. After 20 mins wait and my friend dropping $15 on a sancerre that arrived after 15 mins, we were told that the kitchen was overwhelmed and will not be taking orders "for 20 mins" (at least) even if they did seat us (it was busy but there were empty tables the entire time). So we ate the drink cost because hostess daisy is so sweet and went around the corner to bar breton for an awesome burger. Should have gone to Breton in the first place - Will now allow time for the breslin to get settled before returning but will definitely go back eventually because the space felt great and is a welcome escape in the area." [Eater Inbox]

The Heavy but Good News: Mad Park News has yet another take on day one: "For the type of cuisine, the food is awesome. Just don’t get your cholesterol checked afterwords because they are not afraid of pork, cheese, and frying. Chef April Bloomfield was running the show in the kitchen and kicking out decadent ‘grilled three cheese & ham’ sandwiches, carefully prepared Caesar salads, and perfectly cooked lamb burgers with nicely crisped thick fries and a spiced mayo. Needless to say, its not a place to go for a light meal, but it’s a delicious addition to the north of Madison Square Park neighborhood." [Mad Park News]

The Breslin

16 West 29th Street, Manhattan, NY 10001 (212) 679-1939 Visit Website

The Breslin

20 West 29th St., New York, NY

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