Restaurants »Petrossian

petrossian nycI'll start with the bad news to get it out of the way. Petrossian, famous fancy caviar spot, suffers from the old school service of many places in Manhattan above 14th St. It's that odd feeling that no one that works there is quite glad you came. It's fine when some jabroni is throwing you a slice of pizza for a dollar, but it's a bit off putting when you're paying big time. The service wasn't pointedly rude, it just gave us a feeling that the staff's favorite time is the blessed minutes before anyone walks through the door.

And speaking of the door, I'll move on to the positives. First… the door. The exterior and the intricate door frame is really stunning, and strangely, the door itself is automatic. (I assume too many ancient billionaires were having a hard time opening it.)

The exquisite building is the historic, 1909 Alwyn Court Building, an apartment complex where one bedrooms go for $1.2 million. Nice to be sure, but it used to house only two apartments with fourteen rooms and five bathrooms a piece!

Inside is upscale like you might expect, a bit stuffy, jacket required (or as the website states “preferred”), carpet, art deco mirrors, and music so quiet it sounded like one of the couples surrounding us had brought a small radio or boom box that was going off in their purse. (Though this seemed unlikely).

I ordered a fantastic cordon bleu martini, a martini so smooth, it was almost too easy to drink, with blue cheese stuffed olives. The food was also pretty fantastic. Though I mixed up my dates for restaurant week and missed out on the $35 pre fixe, happily we got there just in time for the daily $48 pre fixe dinner menu (before 7:15).

For appetizers, most of us opted for the “Petrossian tasting”: maviar, salmon roe and trout roe served on mini blinis. This was the highlight of my meal. I love caviar and to have it at one of the city's premier spot gave me a little thrill. For entrees, I'd recommend meat over fish. My sister and I both got the cod, which was a solid “good” but Jim's lamb was really out of sight and Adam's steak was also reportedly delicious. My summer berry souffle was also tasty.

While the food and drinks never hit a wrong note, and the building itself is a sight to behold,?I just wish the service came with a smile. But we were smiling, especially after one of those deadly martinis and a bite of the trout caviar, so we more than made up for it.

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Posted on July 7, 2008

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