Brasserie Ruhlmann

I had lunch today at Brasserie Ruhlmann, since it is one of the few places left in Midtown I haven’t been to (thank you, summer associates!). Anyway, BR got great reviews on Menupages, and a good review on Zagat, though its still too new for number ratings yet.

What we had:
Table Bread – average to subpar. Someone should tell these people that Land O’Lakes is not French. Ho hum.
Shrimp Cocktail – scant portions (what is it with restaurants and the three shrimp maximum?). For 14 bucks, 3 shrimp is a rip-off for lunch. Tastewise, it was nothing worth writing home about. The cocktail sauce was on the side. The presentation was cool (sitting on a globe of ice) but not worth it.
Tuna tartare – generous portions. Also good presentation.
The French Onion Soup looked good but I didn’t try it. It’s a bit tough to share soup, you know.
Lamb Sandwich. Pretty good. Generous portions, the lamb was tender and cooked just right (not well done), and it was very flavorful. However, the bread was far too thick and crusty. They should be using a thinner, more delicate bread. Haven’t they learned by now that no one wants huge bread on their sandwiches? Especially for a meat as delicate as lamb, their hard, thick, crusty loaves were not doing the trick.
Kobe Burger – A disappointment. Though medium on the inside (as instructed), it was charcoal on the outside. It looked like it caused cancer.
Another colleague got the Steak Sandwich and said it was good. I think that one came with thinner bread. God knows the justification for thick bread on lamb, thin on steak.

I must point out that the service was ATROCIOUS. We waited for our appetizers for a decent amount, but then we waited more than twenty (20) minutes for our entrees after they had cleared our appetizer plates! Our glasses were never refilled, and after we had finished our meal, we waited another (!) twenty minutes before we gave up and started hailing waiters to come give us the check. The original waiter who served us for the first half of our meal disappeared without warning. I left a scant tip (9%), because I beleive you should reward great service and punish bad service. I get that BR is new and maybe they are still working out the kinks, but I went to Morimoto opening week and their service was flawless. It wasn’t particularly busy either. We spent TWO hours on a lunch that could have taken half the time, and that is without dessert, which we gave up on after realizing we’d probably be getting melted ice cream since they took so long to get us everything.

Total bill? $170 for four people, or about 42.50 for appetizers, entrees, and a couple of iced teas, and no dessert.

Bottom line? Not worth the trouble. There are far too many good French restaurants in Midtown to be wasting your time here. I’ll be letting Zagat know too.

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