Early reports from Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone, and Jeff Zalaznick's Dirty French are surprisingly divided. Some diners report stellar experiences in the ultra-hip space, others report less than pleasant service. The standout dish on the French-Moroccan-New-Orleanean-Torrisian menu seems to be bread served at the start of the meal. The much discussed "chicken in two services" gets good, but not great reviews, and the large cote de boeuf is so expensive it seems to be ordered rather rarely. Here's what diners and a few critics are saying about the space, that warm flatbread, and the stylish knives.
The Service News: There are some inconsistencies when it come to service, as some early reviewers note. Two separate diners complain on Yelp that a manager said: "It was out of his hands." One adds: "I am sorry but it IS in your hands. Your job is to manage and recover the mistakes of your staff." However, most of these negative reviews appeared online just after the restaurant opened. Newer reports suggest that things have settled in. A Yelper writes: "Service was good, there were a few small mishaps but completely understandable and staff went out of their way to make up for it." Others were more pleased: "As expected from this group, and from the high prices, service was perfect throughout the meal. Everybody was very friendly and the waitstaff was on point."
The Bready Goodness: Despite all of the fanfare that accompanies the oysters at Dirty and the chicken in two services (more on that later), the standout dish seems to be the gratis flatbread with fromage blanc that arrives at the beginning of the meal. One Yelper remarks: "I should have just asked for a plate of that as my meal." Another gives a star solely for that bread. According to Torrisi, "one cook does nothing but oysters and bread all night."
The Steak News: It would appear that few have taken the plunge and ordered the cote de boeuf, but one report finds it worth the $100+ price tag. "It came with fried leeks which had a strong vinegar flavor. I recommend eating them at the same time as the steak — the mixture in your mouth is amazing. The Bearnaise sauce was buttery and delicious, completely out of this world....The chefs also creatively take the steak caps and creates a sort of ground up sausage which adds a nice extra delicious touch. This is really the basis for my 5 star review — this was one of the best steaks I've had in a very long time, possibly ever."
The Bird News: The other menu item that was touted long before the opening was the chicken in two services, with the legs served Peking duck-style with radishes and other accoutrements, and the breast in a mustard sauce with a side of crepes: "The meat on this was so juicy and tender, with perfectly crisp skin. I can't say it was as good as The NoMad chicken, but we all really enjoyed it," reports NYC Nom Nom. Josh Beckerman, aka the Foodie Magician proclaims:
The Insatiable Critic's News: Gael Greene isn't a fan of Carbone, so she went in to Dirty French skeptical. Despite a few hiccups she found herself in love, particularly with the flatbread. One major flop: "My pal's dank and salty tuna tartare is almost hidden under a flying carpet of dried-out crêpe Indochine." But of the duck she writes: "A 'Dirty' duck is just the breast itself (a 42D, I'd say)... I could quibble that there is too much — too sweet sauce, too much fat — and even with a fork, my fingers are sticky. But the skin is crisp and the flesh so moist and rare, I'm too happy to complain." On the chicken she says: "Is this the best chicken I've ever eaten? Hard to say. There have been a clutch of great birds lately." But the next morning those feelings were tempered:
The Pricy News: The sky high cost of dinner has raised more than a few eyebrows: "The food was good, but maybe not good enough to justify the prices," says a Yelper.
The Stylish Knife News: The Laguiole knives with neon lucite handles are engraved, and Bon Appetit senior associate food editor Alison Roman says on Instagram: "Kind of a baller move, no?"