Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Water's Edge - Great View But That's About It

Water’s Edge – 4-01 44th Drive, Long Island City, NY 11101
7 Train to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Avenue

Restaurant week presented a perfect opportunity to visit this upscale restaurant—and it turned out to be where I had my birthday dinner. While the atmosphere was certainly festive and the view was spectacular, the food was just so-so.

Water’s Edge is one of New York’s fancy restaurants that’s usually frequented on special occasions. It’s accessible to Manhattanites via a complimentary private ferry that leaves from 35th Street and the East River, shuttling you straight to the restaurant’s private dock. Our dining companions (and Upper East-siders), Diana and Josh took advantage of the ferry, marveling at the spectacular NYC skyline.

The actual restaurant has an old school, elegant feel. The dining room has antiquey plush seating and the tables are set with formal china. It reminded me of being on a cruise ship. The tables are arranged in rows and we had the luck of sitting in an outer row that faced the windows, exposing us to the breathtaking NYC view. Overall, the restaurant is very traditional so if you’re into modern décor, you might not appreciate its old world glamour. We saw a lot of older patrons dining here, which made sense, given our surroundings.

My expectations about the food were high based on rave reviews from Josh. But honestly, my actual dining experience fell short. Was I expecting too much? Maybe—the food just felt mass produced and not really up to par with the excellence I was expecting. Here’s what we ordered:

Crab Cake – The crab cake was a fabulous start to my meal and it stood out as my favorite of the night. The portion was generous and the crab meat was fresh and seasoned with plenty of pepper, giving it a nice kick. The outside had a gorgeous crispy shell that provided great crunch for your mouth and the frisee side salad was a nice complement—it was a fresh, citrusy palate cleanser. I’d definitely get this again and recommend it.

Mushroom Crusted Halibut – This was my entrée and while it looked impressive, it tasted just OK. The presentation was top-notch, as the chef transformed a simple cut of fish into a beautiful Halibut Napoleon. Once I bit into it though, I was underwhelmed—the fish tasted fine but it was too thick and hard to handle. The mushroom crust wasn’t doing much for me—it wasn’t crispy at all and looked like seaweed. The bed of capers on the bottom were good though and made for a healthy side dish. Caramelized onions, more mushrooms and string beans also lined the perimeter of my fish. I liked these accouterments but they seemed sort of disjointed—the onions would’ve been nice on top of the halibut, instead of hanging off to the side. As Dan would say, this dish was “meh.”

Skirt Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms and Fingerling Potatoes – Everyone else ordered this entrée and while they ate most of it, no one exclaimed about how wonderful it was. In fact, Dan had to send his back because it was cold—not just the steak but also the potatoes. I couldn’t help but think that it was sitting around in mass quantities, waiting to be served. Blah, not something I want to think about at a place where we’re shelling out big bucks.

Mixed Fruit Soup – An interesting dessert option, I opted for this fruity concoction but was yet again disappointed. It included seasonal fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, honeydew, blackberries and a melon sorbet. There was a lonely lady finger chillin’ on the bottom, soaking up the sugary liquid—and that’s where the problem lied. The liquid was too sweet and tasted artificial. Also, when reading the menu description, I was expecting something beautiful and gourmet-looking, not an amateur fruit mixture that I could’ve recreated at home.

Macaroon Tart – Just like the mixed fruit soup, this sounded delightful on the menu but also like the fruit soup, it was unoriginal and boring. I really don’t know why they called it a macaroon because I didn’t taste even a slight hint of coconut in it. Its pepto pink color was distracting and looked unappealing. The strawberry filling tasted processed and again, too sugary. Dan liked it but I would have to disagree. It was way below mediocre. I’m really wondering how the pastry chef keeps his/her job here. Blah!

Service and Cost:
The service was efficient but cold and impersonal. Our bread was always replenished and our dishes came out quickly but there was no friendliness or warmth—the waiter seemed like a puppet who was there to do his job, offering nothing more. I wasn’t into it.

The cost was $35/person, per the restaurant week menu and we also added $15/person for wine. Overall, we ended up paying $60/person, which I thought was expensive for the quality of food that we had. I certainly would not go back, especially on a regular night.

1 Mmmm


  1. I'd always wanted to try that place but had reservations because I heard you just pay for the view. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Too bad. Thanks for jumping on the grenade for those of us who were thinking of going.
    "To be forewarned is to be forearmed."

  3. Went here for our 1 year anniversary. Beautiful view, but the food was terrible. I mean just... bland and boring! It's so depressing. I had a goat cheese potato leek terrine - cold tasteless. Fish with garlic polenta that were both overcooked. And a pistachio "creme" which was flan and tasted nothing of pistachios. Only good part was watching the sun set over Manhattan, a glass of wine, and good company.

    Hostess was a b*tch too.

  4. I know Margs--that place has bad food. I don't advise going there again. Overrated isn't even the word!



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