Whitehall, the newest Brit-inspired restaurant from the owners of Highlands and Mary Queen of Scots, recently opened in the old Sweetiepie space and will launch brunch this weekend. The gold bird-cage and pink décor have been given a much needed makeover in the way of London’s public places. British staples are given modern twists and there is an impressive Gin menu to match. With a more promising concept than the former tenant, let’s see what the patrons have to say.
The Good Food/Bad Service News: An Eater reader writes in with the following: "Food was actually awesome. Much better than Highlands. Had the rabbit terrine, which was delicious ( believe it or not, much better than the breslins rabbit terrine offering)...Only complaint...the service was pathetic. Given I always try these new restaurants way too early, when they haven't worked the kinks out and gotten the staff experienced in the space/trained them. Regardless, it's the restaurant's responsibility to open only when the staff is truly ready to go...and these guys weren't. I sat at the rather empty bar for well over 5 minutes before the apparently confused bartended even offered me a menu. I wanted to sit in the back and the hostess told me it would take 15 minutes before she could put us down, but there were a handful of tables upfront that we could sit at (the front is kind of drafty because of the front door and is right next to the bar). I told her I would be happy to wait 10 min if she could make that work. Little over 10 minutes later, she walks us to the back and there were literally SIX two-top tables available. Meanwhile, we were standing at the bar near the front door...nobody walked out during those 10 minutes. Our waiter was pretty weak too. Didn't really know the menu...3 stars for now, would go up to 4 if the service improved a bit. Space and food are great. [Eater Inbox]
The Good News: One Yelper writes: "Fantastic looking place, crowd and ambience. Cocktails were as good as they get, and can I tell you how good the Lamb with Mint Sauce and Mushy Pea Fritters were! Love Highlands around the corner and now love Whitehall - great addition to the neighborhood." [Yelp]
More Good News: Carey Jones over on Serious Eats seems to like what she tries. She says of the duck terrine, "A pressed duck terrine crowned with a single slim strip of crackling, whisper-thin, uniformly crisp, and dissolving on the tongue. Cornichons and a plump-grained housemade mustard come alongside." And of the pork chop, "About as suited to the season as a dish could be, the grilled pork chop is topped with a roasted apple-thyme butter with a full-flavored cider sauce that's poured over top tableside." [SE]
The Needs Some Work News: A customer via Menupages thought the food was good but that the service was lacking: "Dined here on Saturday night, full house. The food was delicious, apps were rather salty but overall a good meal. The servers are enthusiastic & nice, which almost makes up for the complete lack of organization. We got drinks we didn't order, didn't get drinks we actually ordered, and the lag between courses was rather long. All in all a fun night though, might just need to work out the opening kinks. Oh and perhaps regulate the temperature. It went from totally boiling to completely freezing with vents blowing like crazy every five minutes." [Menupages]
Some More Good News: So far, all the Foursquare reviews are good. One condiment-loving patron says: “Best mustard (home made) I have ever eaten”. [Foursquare]
The Great News: An Eater commenter keeps it short and sweet: "Went last night - incredible - mushy pea fritters were amazing!" [Eater Comments]
The Rave: Most Yelp reviews for Whitehall have been five stars, though this one was especially enthusiastic: “Everything about this restaurant works. The decor, music, the friendly + attitude-free staff, and the fantastic food. Nothing has been able to sustain this 19 Greenwich Avenue, but Whitehall will for sure. No doubt. From the same people that brought you Mary Queen of Scots, and Highlands, comes Whitehall. They have something like 40 types of gin, which didn’t excite me, but the spicy Bloody Mary was best I ever had. I introduced myself to one of the owners to let him know he had a hit and I was thrilled to have brunch there before there were 2 hour waits like several places in the neighborhood.
PS - don’t forget to try the warm pumpkin spice donuts, filled with pumpkin mousse, then rolled in cinnamon sugar. They were perfect.” [Yelp]