Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Artisanal's New Grilled Cheese Bar
Artisanal Bistro - 2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016
6 Train to 33rd Street
I recently found out that the upscale, Artisanal Bistro is offering an extended bar menu, incorporating a grilled cheese bar and various flavors of pomme frites (aka French Fries). This certainly sounded appealing to me and so much so that my friend Katie and I tried it out. While I wasn't disappointed, I also wasn't impressed. I thought that the sandwiches were overpriced and together with drinks and dessert, it was an expensive meal. Our selections included:
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches - I chose the 18-month comte with truffle essence for my grilled cheese. And while I enjoyed it, I thought that the slices of bread could've been more generous. The bread was drenched in butter, which gave me yucky, greasy fingers. The cheese itself was fragrant and earthy, which I enjoyed and the potato chips and pickles on the side were nice too.
Katie chose the English Cheddar, smoked bacon and apple grilled cheese. She too was underwhelmed and said that overall, it didn't live up to expectations. I didn't try it but took her word for it.
Herbed Tuscan Pommes Frites - These not only met expectations, they surpassed them. Crunchy, salty, well-done fries, seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic, they were the perfect accompaniment to our grilled cheese sandwiches. What would've been a better deal is if they were served with the sandwiches instead of the potato chips and pickles. Just a thought...
Chocolate Marquise - This was definitely a treat and included a chocolate-hazelnut block of mousse with vanilla salt on the side. I just mentioned how much I love the sweet and salty combination in desserts and that's partially why I loved it. The whole pieces of hazelnuts were wonderful and I think that they were caramelized. Overall, this dessert was a home run and I'd suggest it to anyone who loves chocolate, nuts or nutella for that matter.
Service and Cost:
I had no complaints about the service. Everyone was polite, friendly and attentive. We ended up getting a bottle of wine and our glasses were refilled in good time, which showed us that the waitstaff was paying attention.
Our grilled cheese sandwiches ranged between $13.50-$15.50 for small portions, which was expensive. The pomme frites were $9.50 while the chocolate marquise set us back $11.50. Together with the wine, we spent a whopping $60 each including tax and tip. Not cheap. Not cheap at all but we still managed to enjoy ourselves immensely. So even though this "special" was designed to attract a new audience, I still think of it as a splurge rather than an affordable meal.