It's been just a week since Govind Armstrong opened his New York outpost of Table 8 in the Cooper Square Hotel, and already the hungry crowds have streamed into the restaurant to weigh in on the music, the salt bar, the scene, the bone-in skate. Overall, the food is getting passing marks. On the chopping block: desserts, the cocktail prices, and the "earsplitting" noise levels, mentioned in almost every review. They better get on it, because at one week in, you can bet half of the city's top critics have already stopped in to register their first impressions.
The Brief, Mixed News: @gaelgreene has an early weigh-in: "I loved almost everything I tasted last night at Govind Armstrong's new Table 8 in Cooper Sq. but so noisy, too dark, annoying music." [Twitter]
The Bad News: Cleaned My Plate likes the food, isn't so fond of the scene: "A place to see and be seen. A place where people will be drawn to eat, regardless of the food...the music was so loud, yelling across the table was required. The restaurant was so dark, we passed around our single votive like a torch...Armstrong’s menu is varied and well thought out. He demonstrates cooking ingenuity and prowess. But the atmosphere prevents diners from appreciating these accomplishments, and from what I observed, the patrons are looking for more scene than food." [Cleaned My Plate]
The Ecstatic News: The lone Chowhounder to check out the restaurant has an all out rave: "...it was my first trip, but so far so good...delicious halibut...amazing cauliflower sides... lovely scallop appetizer...very wonderful, casual (actually, it is very casual) restaurant, with a fabulous ambiance and interesting milieu. In fact, at this point (and who knows if this will continue), they give you a glass of champagne after you get out of the bathroom. I know that sounds weird, but that's what they are doing at the time of this writing. Desserts are FANTASTIC but small...truly sumptuous and a wonderful environment, though. i love it." [CH]
The Pretty OK News: A Yelper thinks it's fine as long as you skip the bar and dessert: "The food was really good....I loved my crab -- fried and very crisp. My wife could have eaten another shrimp starter and been very happy. Deserts were ok -- nothing really interesting and I'd not order them again. Service was a little disorganized, but better than most places a couple days old. Noise level was pretty high. My only big complaint was wine we had at the bar. $16 a glass for for the smallest pour I have every seen was a rip off. I was prepared for a very expensive wine list -- but was pleasantly surprised to see decent bottles under $50. The two seemed contradictory. I would go back, but avoid the bar and pass on the deserts." [Yelp]
The Good News: Another fan over at Menupages warns about the noise: "In a word--wonderful! Great products-well prepared at reasonable prices that quickly add up because of extras-like additional veggies and "salt bar" trifles. We had venison bresola, goat cheese salad, scallops with veggies, quail on polenta and duck and spinach with watermelon. The portions were ample and delicious though everything was quite salty. Wine was reasonably priced...Martini was $14 and smallish. Go early. The noise is earspitting after 8." [Menupages]