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The Library ("Andrew Carmellini" at the Public)


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#1 Sneakeater

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:38 PM

The Library is a restaurant run by Andrew Carmellini in the Public Theater.  It's been getting some notice as a real, substantial dining spot.  Eating the food at Joe's Pub (which serves the exact same menu) rather than in the restaurant reveals that people might be being seduced by the name of the chef and an apparently attractive dining room.

 

I put Andrew Carmellini in quotes in the thread title because no one can believe he did anything more than design the menu and hire the staff here.  I doubt he's seriously in the kitchen.  Which isn't to say that this is typically bland Performance Facility food.  No, it's atypically bland:  a cut -- maybe several cuts -- above what you'd usually expect, but basically characterless.

 

The menu (and for that matter the cocktail list) are kind of all-over-the-place.  Different stuff, so that just about anybody will find something they can convince themselves they want.  I had the goulash.  (NOTE:  It's weird to eat goulash while watching Flamenco.)  It would have been more heavily spiced in Hungary -- but the meat would have been much worse.  Unlike with the previous food at Joe's Pub, I didn't feel like I was being imposed upon in eating it.  But I didn't remember it when I was finished.

 

Now you might say, what do you expect in a Performance Facility?  And if the food were just served in Joe's Pub, I'd say it was a nice change for the better (it's certainly better than the food at LPR).   But, of course, this same food is also being served in a fairly heavily promoted stand-alone restaurant within the Public complex.  What purpose will THAT serve?  The Public Theater stands at the cusp of two of the most interesting dining neighborhoods in the entire United States.  Why does anybody need a characterless better-than-average place when excellent, characterful options are mere blocks away?  The big new place Carmellini is opening down the street, with Damon Wise in the kitchen, will be enough by itself to obviate The Library.  Without even mentioning that Acme is right across the street from it.

 

If The Library keeps Uptown or suburban Public Theater patrons out of Acme, increasing my chances of successful post-performance walk-ins, more power to it.  Beyond that, I don't really get it.


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#2 Jesikka

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:52 PM

I think it's useful as a cocktail bar and perhaps for an app before you see a performance.  For those of us who don't see as much theater as you, we like to stay overly close to the venue, I think, as we're worried about timing, etc.  I guess I assume that they'll be better able to handle timing of a show than some of the very busy spots in what is not a theater area.  Why you'd eat there after a show, I have no idea.

 

My only cocktail had there so far was definitely more like a mixed drink and very much failed to impress.  It was probably my own fault for ordering poorly, but if this were actually a cocktail spot I could trust that nothing would disappoint.  I believe it was a damsel's downfall- way too much dilution with club soda.  My cousin had a dandy riot, which was better and far more boozy.  She also had a beet salad which was unshockingly unexciting.  

 

I'm seeing that Flamenco show tonight.



#3 Sneakeater

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:57 PM

I'm seeing that Flamenco show tonight.

 

Fucking GREAT.


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#4 Sneakeater

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:13 PM

Oh, another thing.

 

The by-the-glass wine list is a disgrace in anywhere that has pretentions to being taken seriously.  Not much worse than what you'd expect in a Performance Facility canteen -- but again, this is being promoted as a Real Restaurant.


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#5 Stone

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 06:09 PM

The food was better than I expected.  A surprisingly interesting tray of pickles.  Not just the Vlassic kind!  Pickled egg, okra, beans, garlic, cucumber, etc.

The crab sliders were nothing special, but since I really like crab I really liked them.

The arugula salad suffered from the winter salad syndrome where greens have no flavor and the consistency of strips of confetti.

Orechiette with roasted cauliflower was good, again nothing special, and a few too many raisins.

 

I rarely try cocktails, but I had three and they were very good.  Capitulation, Dandy Riot, Ode to Loggerheads.

 

Nice crowd.  Full, but not unpleasant on a saturday night.


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#6 oakapple

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:39 PM

Today, Ligaya Mishan gives it the Hungry City treatment.


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#7 Wilfrid

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:51 PM

You know, assuming the first paragraph is accurate, this just goes to show how misleading staged professional photographs of restaurant interiors can be.



#8 Lex

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:52 PM

Today, Ligaya Mishan gives it the Hungry City treatment.

 

She never met an adjective she didn't like.

 

The meat has become one with paprika, whose mellow sweetness is offset by the almost bitter, licorice bite of caraway seeds that freckle a pat of sour cream ... Even a plate of pickles, spilled across a wooden board, has intrigue; tucked among the okra, carrots and cauliflower are hard-boiled eggs stained plumeria-pink from a tryst with beet juice.

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#9 Wilfrid

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:56 PM

A tryst.  Trying too hard.

 

Obviously this is something which rankles slightly, but I bet I'd have taken a terrible photo at The Library--but it would at least show you how dark it (apparently) is.



#10 oakapple

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:56 PM

Next tryst I have, won't be with beet juice.


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#11 Sneakeater

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:02 PM

The stains are terrible.


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#12 taion

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 06:30 PM

You know, assuming the first paragraph is accurate, this just goes to show how misleading staged professional photographs of restaurant interiors can be.

Louro-231-600x399.jpg
Louro-182-600x399.jpg


I didn't tip at Per Se either.

#13 Wilfrid

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 07:12 PM

Ha.  In the first line of this Google Image search, see Fatty Cue's idea of what its rabbit looks like, and what it actually looks like if you eat it at the bar late at night.



#14 oakapple

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 11:55 AM

We visited last week (blog post here), and I had the same reaction as Sneakeater. It's basically a phoned-in restaurant. You don't expect much at eateries attached to museums and theaters, but places like The Modern and Lincoln have shown that these establishments can be great.

 

The Library isn't bad, but Carmellini hasn't given you much reason to go, unless you happen to be seeing a show there.


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#15 AaronS

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:34 PM

I enjoyed the matthew barney show that's there now, but it is exactly what you would think it is.  has drawing restraint 20!