clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Eater IMterview: Robert Sietsema on Rabbit in the Moon

New, 30 comments

It's been a little while since we've seen an IMterview around these parts. For which we apologize. And present, this, not a formal Shitshow Week review (the restaurant is too small time and quirky), but rather a post-game analysis with Team Eater and Voice restaurant critic Robert Sietsema. Sietsema happens to be the unlucky tipster that was denied entry to the restaurant twice in the last month.

TeamEater: So, Rabbit in the Moon
TeamEater: can we start by talking about the bouncer situation?
BobbySeets: sure. I was astonished to see a bouncer in front the place, since it's supposed to be a gastropub. Aren't pubs supposed to be inviting, friendly places? It's really a gastro-pud
TeamEater: he gave you one look up and down and gave you the no? Twice?!
BobbySeets: me and my date. the first time, it was supposedly because we'd violated the dress code. On the third visit, when you and I got in, there were plenty of people who weren't in their disco clothes.
BobbySeets: this is downtown for pete's sake, where traditionally the summer dress code is torn jeans or shorts.
BobbySeets: I think they wised up, but it may be too late for them. Once hipsters realize a place is full of shit, they stay away.

TeamEater:: and that wasn't the only off kilter thing about the place.
BobbySeets: The staff seem to have been released from the insane asylum for the evening
TeamEater:: I still can't figure out what drugs our waiter was on.
BobbySeets: They shoot weird glances at you, and then go off babbling without filling the water glasses. Even getting a menu requires that you be assertive.
TeamEater: Our waiter kept touching his hair, his face, our tabletop.
BobbySeets: And that long greasy haircut. He looked like Bob from Twin Peaks. The owner was really nice, though. But he had no clue how to make the spot successful.

TeamEater: so let's talk drinks. my cocktail was in a 16 oz soda glass I think.
TeamEater:: which i guess is a good value? but not all that rewarding in the end
BobbySeets: not if you can't really drink it. mine had egg white foam on top, and smelled like a fart. we tried and tried to figure out whether it was a dirty glass or a rotten egg white.
BobbySeets: we were afraid to draw the attention of the staff, because their behavior was so erratic, we had no idea what response we'd get.
TeamEater: i just didn't want our waiter to cough on us anymore
BobbySeets: no, he did have a tubercular cough. not a scholarly cough.

TeamEater: and, what of the design? those paintings, that ceiling.
BobbySeets: there was that sick painting of the girl and the dead rabbit. it was like a still from an animal snuff film.
TeamEater: i feel like if things were slightly different it could be a lovely restaurant space.
BobbySeets: the upstairs with the balcony is great, especially if it wasn't dominated by chain smokers.
TeamEater: and there was a strange desk at the front.
BobbySeets: i thought we'd stumbled into a hotel
BobbySeets: the woman there was more like a concierge, who might just be able to get you a table, she seemed like an independent operator. and girls that might have been models, two or three per ugly old boy. the woman in that restaurant towered over the men.
BobbySeets: nobody seemed to be eating.

TeamEater: speaking of eating, the food? not exactly as bad as we expected?
BobbySeets: it was borderline acceptable. remind me what we ate.
TeamEater: we had the scallops, at the waiter's insistence and the terrine, followed by my fish and chips, which were fine but cold and misnamed
TeamEater: since it was more frito misto with calamari, shrimp, etc. Also, sausage and lamb.
BobbySeets: the fish and chips -- a pub staple -- were the worst. it was like something from a chain seafood restaurant, and the proportion of seafood to fries was about 1 to 10
BobbySeets: they gave you lots of sausages, but they weren't really english at all, more italian.
BobbySeets: remember the scallops had promised caviar, but we could count the eggs with tweezers
TeamEater: and when we were done i think they left us sitting there for 30 minutes before asking if we wanted dessert, a check, another bottle of wine, etc. I drained every water glass on the table while trying to flag someone down.
BobbySeets: yeah, they could have upsold the hell out of us, but they simply ignored us. there has to be a middle ground.
BobbySeets: the chops were good, but they'd dumped a white sauce like rabbit jism all over them. oops i didn't say that.

TeamEater: and wasn't there something off about the wine list? the prices didn't line up?
BobbySeets: that was a menu printing problem, the prices didn't line up and you couldn't tell which went with which bottle, even with a ruler.
BobbySeets: the place displayed a total lack of attention to detail.

TeamEater: my favorite part i think was the music, which was a weird, loud selection of Dylan, ELO, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell. And then at 11 PM on the dot it turned into bumping house music.
BobbySeets: it was like two horses in a tug of war
TeamEater: and the place was infiltrated by more euros
BobbySeets: from hippie to house

BobbySeets: the guys all looked the same, the girls all had one debilitating beauty flaw.
BobbySeets: and the literary characters on the wall downstairs just made you scratch your head. i felt bad for tennyson, nobody recognized him

TeamEater: so what do you think in the end...shitshow?
BobbySeets: total and irredeemable shitshow destined to play host to tourists for as long as it can stay open.
BobbySeets: its greatest value is as an exercise in culinary surrealism or an exercise in how not to run a restaurant. every patron should feel wanted. pub? dress code? i'd like to bring some soccer hooligans there.
· All Shitshow Week 2010 Coverage [~ENY~]

Rabbit in the Moon

47 West 8th St., New York, NY

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater New York newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world