Trailing Steve Cuozzo, Pete Wells valiantly revisits Tavern on the Green this week for a second look now that king of California cuisine Jeremiah Tower is in the kitchen, but like before is sorely disappointed:
The story and scenery are so perfect that somebody really should make a movie out of it. By the time financing comes through, maybe Mr. Tower will have delivered the dramatic turnaround the plot requires. But right now, the fun stops when the food arrives.
As for that food, Wells says Tower's menus are more eager to please than the ones from ex-Tavern chef Katy Sparks, but the results are still bad:
'New Orleans rock shrimp and crab meat soup with shrimp toasts' sounds like a party on the bayou, doesn't it? It was like a mix-up in a Chinese takeout order. The grayish-gold broth looked and tasted like won ton soup fortified with a few drops of iodine. The long shrimp toast laid over the surface became a soggy mush.
Last June, Wells gave Tavern a zero-star, "satisfactory" rating in his review, but remained just a hint optimistic. "Second Look" pieces like this one aren't starred, but if they were, this one would probably be a big fat goose egg.