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Sheridan Square

[Kreiger via Eater]

Note: Sheridan Square closed in September 2008.


Sheridan Square, as we noted a couple of weeks ago, is the latest of many new restaurants featuring former three-star chefs in casual surroundings. In this case, we have Gary Robins, who was a hit at the Biltmore Room, but flamed out at the Russian Tea Room.

This trend is, I suppose, partly the product of tough economic times, as well as the judgment that most diners are turned off by stuffy dining rooms and $85 prix fixe menus. Restaurants need to be careful, though. Even in pared down surroundings, high-end entrées tend to hover around $30. At that price, diners expect first-class service and ambiance, which some of the latest restaurants fail to deliver.

It appears to us that Sheridan Square has the balance about right. I say that with the caveat that, at the table next to us, a couple complained so bitterly about service delays that the manager comped their entire meal. We didn’t experience anything like that, but the incident says a lot about growing pains at a two-week-old restaurant.

sheridansquare03a.jpg sheridansquare03b.jpg
Left: Foie Gras Ravioli with spring vegetables & summer truffles; Right: Tagliarini with Mussels & Clams

There have already been multiple food board posts praising the Foie Gras Ravioli ($15) with spring vegetables and summer truffles. You can add me to the dish’s many fans. My girlfriend loved the Tagliarini ($13) with mussels and clams. The relatively low price of both appetizers somewhat offsets the entrées, which skew expensive.

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Left: Anise Scented Crisped Long Island Duck Breast; Right: Rosemary Crusted Australian Rack of Lamb

Anise Scented Crisped Long Island Duck Breast ($27) was very good, though it was undercut by the gloppy plating of creamed cauliflower, braised fava beans and spring peas. The dish tasted better than it looked.

Rack of Lamb is one of two dishes appearing on the menu with “m.p.” instead of a price, and diners may be surprised to find that it costs $42. It is a larger portion than it needs to be: my girlfriend couldn’t finish five hefty ribs. However, it is an excellent dish, with the wood-burning oven imparting a nice smoky flavor. As with the dush, the puddle of sauce is not attractively plated.

There are some glitches to be worked out, but so far it seems to us that Sheridan Square is one of this year’s better additions to the West Village dining scene.

Sheridan Square (138 Seventh Ave. S. between W. 10th & Charles Sts., West Village)

Food: **
Service: **
Ambiance: **
Overall: **

Reader Comments (2)

I am one half of the couple that you mentioned in the review and I must say I am quite offended that you refer to us as “bitterly” complaining. We were in fact upset, as we were very excited to go there and were spending a pretty penny on the dinner. It is no wonder you didn’t experience any poor service as you had every member of the wait staff fawning over you as you did nothing to disguise the fact that you were a food critic, announcing yourself upon arrival and taking pictures of your food during the service. I think an honest review can only come from remaining anonymous and being a “real patron.” In fact I feel the only reason why our service was lacking was your indiscretion.

With that said the food was fantastic and we let them know that when the management came over to speak with us. In fact we have been back two times since and had a great experience. Had the manager not come over and comped our meal, which we tried to refuse and were in no way looking for, we wouldn’t be such fans of the place.

Again, we highly recommend the venue, just ask not to be seated next to a food critic.

July 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNot So Bitter Betty

Dear Betty,

My use of the word “bitter” may have been a poor choice. I was merely trying to indicate the intensity of your displeasure, not suggesting that it was unjustified. I really didn’t follow events at your table that closely, but I am sure you had every right to be annoyed by the service.

I must take issue, however, with your claim that I “announced” myself upon arrival. I never do that. I realize, of course, that servers are likely to notice the camera, and therefore to guess that I might be blogging about it. But I don’t tell them why I’m doing it, and they normally don’t ask. Picture-taking is so commonplace nowadays that restaurants basically shrug it off. I don’t get VIP service just by breaking out the camera. And I think I dine out often enough that I would have noticed the difference, if that were the case.

Anyhow, what would it say about the restaurant if my presence was enough to throw the rest of their service off-kilter? I am not so self-absorbed as to think I have that kind of influence—nor would I want it. Restaurants aren’t perfect. I would assume you simply caught them at less than their best. That happens sometimes, and it happens to me even when I have my camera.

I’m sorry you had a bad experience there; I wouldn’t want that to happen to anybody. But I think you should recognize it for what it was—a poor performance by the restaurant—rather than trying to put the blame on me.

July 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarc Shepherd

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