The new Mondrian Hotel held a star-studded opening party last night to announce its debut to the city. But Imperial No. 9, Sam Talbot's sustainable seafood restaurant just off the lobby has been open to the public for over a week now, and the Yelpers, bloggers, and commenters are already weighing in. We've heard a lot this week about Talbot's man jewelry and skull caps, his Rogan uniforms and upgraded Crocs for his kitchen staff, and his media training and bedtime habits. But how is the food? The early responders chime in below.
The Rave: Says one Eater commenter: "This space is elegant, gorgeous, sexy. The menu, space and decor are all very detail oriented, and stupendous! King crab legs! Octopus ! Kim chee! And the caramel ice cream. Divine. I will be back again and again." [Eater Comments]
The Bad News: An "Elite" Yelper gives it just one star and keeps the review short and not so sweet, "Food is not worth it for the price. Cauliflower Fritters were good, but that doesn't say much." [Yelp]
The Great News: Another Yelper, this one with just three reviews under her belt, is a fast fan (and leaves the same review on Menupages: "I cannot say enough good things about Imperial No. 9. I went on Friday night with a few girlfriends and the service was impeccable from start to finish...As for the food, every single dish that came out was wonderful. We had the cauliflower fritters, raw tuna, roasted squash, king crab legs, shrimp dish, striped bass and the salted caramel ice cream dessert. I think we sampled a good portion of the menu and all of the the food was unbelievably fresh and the flavors in every single dish worked so well together. Sam didn't hit a wrong note on anything. The highlight of the night was Sam coming out to our table. We thanked him for the great meal and he even sat with us for a few minutes. It was a very nice personal touch and it really enhanced our evening. But even without that we would have left more than satisfied." [Yelp]
Winning Over the Tough Critics: The hard to please PXThis crowd gives it a thumbs up. On the bar: "Big, welcoming, commodious, and smart. Curious to see how they end up handling the door, but this place could very well be the new jumpoff." On the food: "I can’t exactly say I’m the greatest Top Chef fan, but I can say after one meal, this dude has made a believer outta me all right." On the dining room: "It’s pretty stellar. There’s maybe just a wee touch of austerity, probably due to all the glass and concrete, but overall it’s a beauty. Very impressive." [PXThis]
The Not So Great News: A Menupages reviewer notices some early kinks: "Imperial No. Nine has yet to work out the kinks in their service. At first, the waiter and servers stopped by too often. The food arrived way too quickly, within 5-10 minutes of ordering, and it arrived all at once even though the waiter had told us we were effectively ordering several appetizers, entrees and sides. Once we had the food, some dishes were good, some were just okay. I would not recommend the skirt steak but would recommend the cauliflower fritters. After eating for 10 minutes, servers started stopping by every two minutes to see if we were done with anything. We told them all no but once the third or fourth one asked us, it really started to disrupt our meal. Then they all disappeared. The last course we ordered did not arrive for another 35-40 minutes and by that time we were ready to leave. There was an error on the bill but the waiter promptly fixed it with an explanation that they did not yet know the computer system. Overall, I would give this place some time to work out some opening issues." [Menupages]