As I said previously, we like to visit places for the food. Dawn and I have been to New York City more than once so I thought I would write about some of the places we have eaten at in our recent visits. As there are so many places to eat I thought I would split it in to meals rather that write one big post about all the food that would go on forever.
Everything in this post are my opinions and I have not affiliation to any of the places mentioned.
Before we start I feel it is important to say Dawn and I like breakfast, it is our favourite meal and the one we plan for first so I will start there.
When going to New York we like to try and go to Ellen’s Stardust Diner at least once during our trip. Now I know Ellen’s isn’t for everyone but I still think that it is worth a visit. My sister went recently and found that it wasn’t to her taste, Ellen’s is on the corner of 51st Street and Broadway. When I first visited New York in 2007 it wasn’t as much the tourist trap that it is now but it has become a tradition for us to eat there on each visit. The attraction of Ellen’s is the singing waitstaff. As the story goes all the staff that work at Ellen’s are actors who are trying to get their big break on Broadway and are working their while waiting for this to happen. The restaurant itself is 2 floors (well 1 floor and a mezzanine level that overlooks the ground floor). The food is not always the best but as with many places I feel it is about the atmosphere. The main dining room is now very tightly packed as if they are trying to fit as many people in as possible, if you go on the weekend you should be expecting to queue just to get in the door.
To be honest our most recent visit was quite disappointing I have visited Ellen’s on a number of occasion previously, I have been sat in various areas of the restaurant and found that the service is very good, Usually the food comes out quickly, the coffee is refilled frequently and the staff are quite attentive even when they are the ones singing. As usual the food was quite good but the service was poor. We were sat at the bar, which I quite like as you can see what is going on in the restaurant, the bar in Ellen’s is off to one side, it is not overlooking the drink service section. Unfortunately, our waiter was more interested in singing than serving. In fact I would go as far as to say that we could have left without paying and he wouldn’t have noticed. He took our order and brought the drinks in a reasonable time but then we didn’t manage to catch his attention again. In Ellen’s, the waitstaff don’t bring out the food, it is brought out by other staff who also seem to clear the tables.
We had decided we wanted to try the Pebbles pancakes on this visit but didn’t want a portion each so we had agreed to buy a main meal each and get some of the pancakes to share. In the US pancakes come with syrup and in Ellen’s it is a individual portion, we tried on more than one occasion to catch the waiter’s attention to request more syrup but was unsuccessful. In the end we gave up and ate them dry. On a plus note the pancakes were very nice
When it was time to leave the bill was presented but the waiter was nowhere to be found for us to pay. We waited for around 15 minutes for him to come back and collect our payment but he did not. In the end we were fed up and gave our payment to another waitress explaining the situation. I know that in America waitstaff do not get paid well and rely on tips but in this case our waiter did not deserve his. However much to our disappointment, Ellen’s add 20% to the bill so he still received his tip even though his service was so poor. That being said I still intend to visit the when I go to New York later in the year.
In contrast to the poor service we received at Ellen’s, when we went to the Times Square Diner the following morning the service couldn’t have been better. Again we had to queue to get in and were seated at the bar but the waitstaff in there were excellent. We had coffee in front of us within a few minutes and it was refilled when it was just below half full. The food order was taken quickly and the food was out in a reasonable time. Although the restaurant was obviously busy at no time did we feel under pressure to eat and leave quickly. I had an Aegean omelette, which I would highly recommend and Dawn had corned beef hash, both these came with a side of toast.
Dawn and I decided that as we had eaten at diners the previous two days that we would try an different experience. we had brunch at The Rocking Horse Cafe which is situated on 8th Avenue between 19th and 20th Streets. the Rocking Horse Cafe is a Mexican inspired restaurant that serves a brunch that includes, should you wish to indulge, includes a margarita or a mimosa as well as juice and tea or coffee.
Dawn decided on Rancheros Huevos with a pure margarita and coffee, whilst my choice was Quesadilla de Hongos also with a margarita and coffee. now I am happy when free cocktails come with a meal I discovered that actually a pure margarita is not to my taste, I think I will stick to mimosas or an orange juice next time.
The restaurant is not large but it didn’t feel like a tight squeeze, the service was quick and the food was good. I would recommend this restaurant and especially the fixed price brunch that we tried.
If you are in New York and try any of the restaurant mentioned let us know what you thought of them.