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Acme Restaurant & Bar


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#346 oakapple

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:12 PM


Yeah, with Italian we're at the point that you just assume there's near-zero probability that a new Italian place could actually be any better than the mine run of places available in almost every neighborhood.

What type of places are you referring to? Maialino/Manzo or local neighborhood places for a weeknight dinner? I don't think I've got many of those (the latter) in my neighborhood that are particularly good. I've recently been to a bunch of UES local Italian places, and they pretty much suck. And I'm a much easier grader than just about anyone here.

Manzo/Maialino are exceptions. But there's a new Italian place opening almost every week. Most of them are not going to be an improvement over what's generally and widely available.
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#347 Orik

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 03:17 PM


So all of you have been ordering two main dishes the whole time?


From what I'd read about Acme, and after several meals at Isa and seeing all the pictures from Frej, I didn't expect this to be the size of a main course congee.


I think you got comped extra barley.

Finally made it there last night. It was obvious how you could have the Daniel experience (hostess tells us table is just about ready, but nobody clears it... hostess is clueless as to what should be done, consults maitre d'/owner type, also seems clueless, meanwhile standing in the narrow pass between the bar and the wall-facing trough as waiters and rude people bump into you. Two assholes who think they're in 1996 are occupying seats both at the bar and at the trough, yelling at anyone trying to use them... not great) or have a perfectly pleasant, if very noisy, dinner.

As others have commented, the food is messy, and it doesn't seem like it's deliberately so - there are some plates where attempts seem to have been made at modernist/scattered plating but it's just not that kind of kitchen. It is, however, delicious, and the use of excessively bitter elements is very limited. I think you could put the dishes side by side with Isa's in a "modernist cuisine is not necessarily better cuisine" demo.

As in the case of Isa, main courses seem like the weak point - we took four appetizers (the stuffed morels, a bit salty for me but excellent, house cured salmon which I'd just like to have without the nonsense around it, shrimp and bison loveliness, very good if very polished barley with very good scallops, amazingly priced, all of it) and just one main (sea bass, meh) after seeing some of the plates coming out with poor looking lamb and I'd probably just take six appetizers next time.
I never said that

#348 Orik

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 07:33 PM

Had another good meal here, in particular a dish of cabbage with summer truffles was terrific.
I never said that

#349 Sneakeater

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 07:35 PM

I have not able to get even close to getting in over the last few weeks.
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#350 Orik

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 07:38 PM

Tout-Paris

Milan and Florence were in IBVA
I never said that

#351 Orik

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 04:59 PM

Finally got the Wilfrid version of the barley. Delicious but I can see how it'd be really surprising as an appetizer.

Mackerel with pear is not recommended, at least not with the very bland pear they had last night.

Foie and langoustine is good but I prefer the bison and shrimp.

Good lamb, got a side of mashed potatoes that I didn't really like for entirely subjective reasons (the way they used fried onions is eerily reminiscent of a certain brand of powdered mashed potatoes once popular in Israel, plus really salty bacon)
I never said that

#352 Wilfrid

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 06:32 PM

Hmm. Not making me rush back. After The Dutch, I am a bit wary of repeating disappointments too.

#353 Orik

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 07:47 PM

Hmm. Not making me rush back. After The Dutch, I am a bit wary of repeating disappointments too.


There's no comparison. Not every dish works, but the ones that do are very good. High dividends in terms of seating, service, etc. (although not comps) if you manage to somehow get vip-ed.
I never said that

#354 Orik

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 07:48 PM


Hmm. Not making me rush back. After The Dutch, I am a bit wary of repeating disappointments too.


There's no comparison. Not every dish works, but the ones that do are very good. High dividends in terms of seating, service, etc. (although not comps) if you manage to somehow get vip-ed.


p.s. speaking of hard bookings - you can get in easily if you dine during the irnscrabable early bird special, but then it's often booked solid until after ten.
I never said that

#355 Wilfrid

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:05 PM

Getting into Acme was easy. It's on Open Table and everything.

#356 Orik

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:12 PM

Getting into Acme was easy. It's on Open Table and everything.


10:45, 9:30, 9:45, 10:30, 10:30, 6:30, 6:30, 10:30, 6:30, 10:45...
I never said that

#357 Adrian

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 01:50 PM

AaronS wants to know ďwhatever I gotĒ for Acme which Iím going to give him despite the open ended of the question Ė his requests for EMP and Breslin were so wonderfully specific I owe him this. Itís not easy though; I work best with a specific request, these open ended posts leaving me rambling and groping, straining to say something interesting. I usually fail. Bear with me.

One way to give some focus is to start with broad observations and narrow things. Itís a standard format and a standard for a reason, so I think it will be useful. So whatís the broad observation? This place is fundamentally untenable. You can see the split in the room as soon as you walk in: the foodie table Ė a larger Asian lady wearing a dress and broach heartily cleaning her plate; the fashion table Ė two tall, thin blondes and two half-eaten plates of food. The problem is that the foodie girl knows why this place is so good, but probably doesnít want to eat this food here while the fashion girls know this food is good and want to eat it here, but donít know why itís so good. Mads will Michelin, Acme wants to stay hot (though Indochine...)

More specifically, letís take a sentence or two to discuss the service. Youíve already read my rave about the maitreíd (though the guy in front of me got the, um, other treatmet) so letís take a moment and say that our waitress was very good. Friendly, knowledgeable, and with a good sense of humour. And, for the inside baseball crowd, you canít transfer your tab from downstairs to upstairs because, apparently, they keep separate finances.

And, what is usually the meat of these things, the food. Six dishes, with tasting notes:

1. Sweet shrimp and bison: lovely bitter notes, bison got a bit lost, shrimp was fresh and sweet

2.Mackeral, cured with pear, radish, and smoked egg yolk: Excellent quality fish and (attn Orik) the pear was pickled and high quality. A great dish.

3.Heirloom tomatoes and watermelon: pretty good, excellent tomatoes (it seems early, but youíre further south than I am)

4.Pearl barley and clams: probably the best dish of the meal. (attn Pig) slight over-seasoning issue but not one that detracted from the dish until the end of the large portion.

5.Arctic char: messy presentation, vaguely Japanese flavour, slightly over, but still quite good.

6.Beer and bread pudding: again, excellent. Sour notes gave dish a good structure

To drink, a bottle of the Venturini Baldini because why the heck not*?

Broad, summary observations, focused on the food. In Toronto, youíve got places trying to serve food like this because they had a cup of coffee at Noma and have a signed copy of the cookbook. Here, youíve got MR putting together a menu for a nightlife restaurant. Itís almost embarrassing for you guys. But the environment is also limiting. The food has to be less subtle, the seasoning louder, and no tweezers. It wonít last, especially at the price. Until then, people who live here, take advantage of Acme.

*Iím a huge fan of cheapish sparkling wine especially in Euro-ish places.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#358 joethefoodie

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 02:39 PM

It won't last, especially at the price. Until then, people who live here, take advantage of Acme.

I like the fact that six months in, it's holding steady.

#359 Adrian

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 02:46 PM


It won't last, especially at the price. Until then, people who live here, take advantage of Acme.

I like the fact that six months in, it's holding steady.


A single friend of mine was lauding the place for having the best something-or-other in the city right now. That something-or-other was definitely not food. The questions are: 1) what compels attendance? and 2) is this what MR wants to do?

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#360 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 02:48 PM

weak Chambo imitation Adrian.
Why not mayo?