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The Early Word on Restaurant/Farm Bell, Book & Candle

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Krieger, 12/7/10

Bell, Book and Candle, a farm to table restaurant in the most literal way—they have a huge hydroponic farm on their roof—opened in the beginning of December in the West Village. According to a press release, the restaurant is named after a Jimmy Stewart film and designed after "James Dean’s blend of natural elegance and cool attitude." But is the food any good? So far, the early diners are not in agreement. Some are charmed, some incredibly disappointed. To the early word:

The Mixed Bag: From an Eater commenter: "WEnt last night. Place has a great vibe. Servers were a bit annoying. Asked if we were done with our half finished bean dip about 5x and brought us onion rings (which looked amazing) instead of onion soup!" [Eater Comments]

The Bad News: Gotham Gal is extremely disappointed: "The menu at Bell, Book and Candle is impressive so I was expecting really good food. Where at Burger and Barrel my expectations were just a really good burger and that was exactly what I got. The food at Bell, Book and Candle was beyond disappointing. On the bright side, I like being reminded every so often that the restaurants that I sometimes believe could be even better are really fantastic. You have to eat somewhere that just isn't so great to realize how great other places are." [Gotham Gal]

The Lackluster News: The Menupages reviewers are divided. This one is not at fan: "In fairness, they’ve only been open for a few weeks, so perhaps things will get better with time. But overall, we had a very forgettable meal. The food was lackluster. I dined with a group of four and we ordered eight appetizers to share, almost all of which ended up coming with the same bland pita bread on the side—zero points for creativity. I had hoped for vibrant dishes with super-fresh tasting ingredients, but we had nothing of the sort. Our white wine was very warm. Service was just ok. Ambience was nice—dimly lit and cozy--but that can be said of many of the restaurants in this area." [MenuPages]

The Great News: However, this Menupages reviewer has a different experience: "Dinner was great! Service is fast , our waiter was very attentive, I even left her an extra tip, since she was very polite and patient, since my husband never knows want to order. She explain everything and let us made our decision without being pushy. We had a bottle of the red, cant remember the name, but it was suggested by the manager Mike. It was incredible and it coasted almost nothing. The place is nice and cozy, and I'd def go back." [Menupage]

The Good News: The Yelpers, and there are many who have filed already, give it an almost universal four star rating. Says one, "I really like the ambience here. Very casual, good for conversation, and the food is excellent. I particularly like the laughing bird shrimp, lobster taco and the bean dip appetizers. Have been there 3 times in the past couple of weeks and plan to make it a regular destination. [Yelp]

The Delicious News: Foursquare users offer a bevy of tips. Says one, "Delicious meal. Try the pop corn panna cotta for dessert. Sounds a little strange, but its perfect. Light and not too sweet." And another, "Here on opening night and the chilie is superb, steak tar tar is a must-share and ambience is fabulous." [4Sq]

Bell Book & Candle

141 West 10th St., New York, NY