Broadway East: Lost and In Need of a Compass
I should have listened to, well, everyone about Broadway East. From restaurant critics to twittering foodies to friends, pretty much everyone I’ve talked to found the food at Broadway East poor. And guess what? It is!
It’s really too bad because the scene is pretty kickin’, especially with nightlife hotspot BEast lurking in the basement. Sexy and seductive, the spacious lounge-like restaurant woos with large dark wood banquettes, intimate corner boothes for two, dim golden lighting that flatters everyone, exposed brick walls, and a glowing 240-ft stone wall covered with live plants. Designer Andrew Buckler seems to have been planning for groups as expansive tables dominate the dining room, making room for parties of 6 or more.
One of the stranger things about Broadway East though wasn’t the disappointing cuisine, which I will embark on at length in a minute. Instead, it was the bizarre table service. Our waitress was totally clueless, in a way that was just remarkably irritating in a restaurant. She knew absolutely nothing about the menu and had to run (literally) back into the kitchen to ask such basic things as whether the prix-fixe was still available or not. Furthermore, instead of asking us whether we wanted refills on cocktails, she would simply say ‘you would like more cocktails’ and stare expectantly. On top of all this, she awkwardly hovered while we perused the menu, gave my boyfriend the incorrect drink, and served my burger dish far before the other entrees. Off-putting, to say the least.
If you’re coming to party, Broadway East is great. Simple food, swanky cocktails, and sleek lounge environment with capacity for groups – what more could you want? However, if you’re coming to eat, Broadway East does not offer a fantastic dining experience. The food tips between mediocre and poor, not only on the side of inspiration but also in execution. My party of 4 had a very hard time selecting dishes, struggling with the strange array of American bar-food entrees and appetizers. Eventually, we chose to split the Spinach & Artichoke Dip and the Vegetarian Spring Rolls to start. The dip was tasty, but unusual. It was a flourescent green color, very creamy in texture, and with huge chunks of artichoke; it was reminiscent of Campbell’s Soup but thicker and chunkier. The Spring Rolls were clearly not homemade, and just tasted like it.
For entrees, I ultimately opted for the Burger (seemed like the safest bet), while the other members of my party selected the Organic Chicken and the Cavatelli. The burger was OK. A nice size and not too hulking, it was easy to eat and covered in cheese. Surprisingly though, it just didn’t have much flavor. The beef was bland and the Manchego cheese lacked bite. The Cavatelli was a disaster. The slightly curled pasta tasted like it had just come out of a Barilla box and had been boiled with no flavor. Even the Merguez Sausage in the sauce couldn’t save it. The chicken seemed to redeem the various other poor gastro experiences with tender crispy skin and well-cooked brussel sprouts and squash.
No matter how you spin it though, the food was pretty bad. If you’re not too concerned with food and want the slick scene, definitely just stick with the basics and enjoy your fancy cocktail. If you’re a foodie, steer clear, for your own sanity.