Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn
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Sitting on top of the “exclusive” Hotel Le Bleu, Il Tetto has a dining room and a rooftop lounge. First, let me tell you that the “exclusive” Hotel Le Bleu is 1 block from the Gowanus and sits in between a Uhaul location, a Staples and a yellow cab company on Fourth Ave. So yes, very exclusive! Living on 4th Ave. I know how it can be, so trust me when I tell you that the Hotel Le Bleu sits on one of the worst possible, desolate stretches of 4th Ave. I took my headphones off because I literally thought I could get mugged walking there.
Anyways, moving along. When I got to the dining room, there was no one there. L and I like to have earlyish dinners on Saturday but not that early. We’re usually right in between families’ leavings and the cool kids coming. The dining room was EMPTY. The hostess must have seen the look on my face because she offered to take me upstairs to the lounge.
“That’s where everyone is at. That way you won’t feel like you’re eating alone.”
I agreed and we went upstairs. Only to find that upstairs was pretty empty too. Ok, there were four people sitting in a corner booth but that was it. I kept my snarky mouth shut and sat down. While I waited for L, I treated myself to a glass of montepulciano. When it was brought to me, I was told that I was lucky because it was the last. Or at least he thought it was it. He had to check.
Great, we’re off to a confident start. While I waited for L, I was treated to a mixture of loud pop music and the sound track to Phantom of the Opera. Hmmm. Yes interesting. And exclusive! Lets not forget exclusive!
Bread was served at the table with a mysterious dish of spread. Upon tasting, it seemed like some sort of salad dressing, which was very distressing. I asked the waiter and he replied, “Umm, it’s so sort of bean dip. White beans maybe.” And he was gone.
We were a bit hungry so we ordered the baked clams, Luna Caprese and the Fettuccini Boscaiola. The baked clams tasted frozen and the breadcrumbs tasted like the kind my mom uses to bread chicken. The seasoning and the breadcrumbs completely overpowered the clams.
The Luna Caprese was mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto with an arugula salad. I don’t mean to brag but lately my taste for prosciutto and mozzarella has become what one may call ‘refined. Really, I’ve just gotten to the point where I can tell the good shit from the really awful. So I can tell you with confidence that this mozzarella was kin to what you would buy wrapped in plastic shrink-wrap at the Key Foods. The prosciutto was overly salted which made me think that this too came from something plastic wrapped at the Key Foods. The arugula salad was sparse and on the verge of turning for the worst. Yum!
The Fettuccini Boscaiola was the best part of the meal although still questionable from a traditional standpoint. My research shows me that Fettuccini Boscaiola should be a cream based pasta served with mushrooms and some sort of bacon or ham. While ours had the mushrooms, it also had asparagus. It was in a (light) truffle broth (no cream) with no pig product in sight. (What a shame!) The fettuccini was fresh which is good and the broth was flavorful. The mixture of wild mushroom was a nice, elegant touch, which was unexpected after the ignorant service and empty dining room. The kitchen also took the time to split the dish for us, which was nice. They were also generous with the cheese, which was needed to thicken up the broth a bit. Although, I would like to note that the Parmesan used was also not of a high quality. I have better stuff in my fridge from Union Market.
When we received the dessert menu we were intrigued by the Exotic Bomb of Passion Fruit, Raspberry & Mango wrapped in Chocolate with a Cognac Flambe. We asked the waiter what this could possibly be.
“Well, it’s like a ball of ice cream dipped in chocolate. Like fried ice cream.”
“Where does the fruit come into play? Is it wrapped in the ball? Mixed in with the ice cream? Or is it whole fruit on the side?” we asked. I was really intrigued where these people could possibly be getting Passion Fruit.
“It’s like in the ice cream like a sorbet,” he said.
“Well, is it ice cream or is it sorbet?” we replied. “There’s a big difference!”
He sighed and went down to the kitchen to ask. When he came back, we were told it was sorbet. We declined, needing ice cream if we were going to dip into our dessert calories.
We got the check and went through another ordeal. He grabbed our cards leaving us no time to tell him about the groupon we had. We hoped he saw the number written on top of the check. He did not and charged our cards the full amount. Another 20 attitude-filled minutes passed waiting for him to refund and recharge our cards. During this time, the table next to us had their dessert delivered. The teenager had ordered our Exotic Bomb. No fruit in site and it was most definitely ice cream and it was most definitely NOT dipped in chocolate. It was more like a drizzle – as in a singular drizzle across the top.
And that is how I would describe this place, a singular drizzle that overflowed from the Gowanus and somehow grew into a restaurant. It’s a shame; this place has the potential to be nice with its view of the city. But no, it just doesn’t work.
The city was not the only nice view that restaurant had-what about the bartender? She was extremely attractive, but also the only staff member there to carry him or herself professionally! She was friendly, outgoing, made a great Manhattan (among other drinks) and was able to answer all of my questions regarding the dishes listed on the menu. And I have to say I was not disappointed with my meal. The male waiter they could certainly do without, but neither him nor the music is going to stop me from returning there! I am wondering what the summer will be like with the outdoor seating….perhaps they are more busy then?
I’m glad someone had a good experience. I think the summer will be nice – it’s def. the best view in Brooklyn. Hopefully they’ll get it together in time for the warm weather.
Going next week; don’t relish walking from train station. Not scared; it is a really empty eyesore stretch of terrain. Just brutal.
So you play the Groupon withholding game. Ordeal was of your own making! Give Gpn before any cash/card, or at least when you ask for check. Drop it on staff at the very last possible second? Zero sympathy. People have some sudden adjusting to do. G even encourages you to fork it over at the very outset. Of course, that may compromise service, so few timid diners are gutsy enough to do so!
Re menu choices, avoid apps, pasta and dessert- usually overpriced and boring minefields in any menu. Dessert menus are especially contrived nonsense. Hard to go astray w/just the entree- check chef’s chops- and soda or the inevitable wild markup on beer/wine. Oh, you split a pasta. Not exactly bumping up check beyond Groupon value! They must love you.
Ha! The Groupon withholding game – if the staff had left me a chance, I would have told them at any given chance. As M mentioned, I am far from a timid diner in any situation. You on the other hand, recommending just going with the entree. Don’t get too wild! Any delicious place worth trying should have a fully thought out menu. The thought of sticking with the entrees only is a sad sad thing which is often why we order several dishes spanning the entire menu and split them. That’s the only way you get the full scope of the ‘chef’s chops’.
@FA: Perhaps if you could write a coherent sentence, your opinion might be more valid. Additionally, I can vouch for the fact that this blogger is pretty much the furthest thing from being a “timid diner.” Who knew the point of Groupon was to spend more money?! Here I was thinking I’m supposed to save money by using it and certainly not spend even more money at an “italian” restaurant where you are only supposed to order from the “entree” menu (which apparently, does not include pasta). Be careful on that walk over, it’s scary at night down in the Gowanus!
Well, someone had to be a guinea pig. This place clearly is a clunker, despite the nice views. I rarely expect apps and desserts to wow me unless it’s a top tier place, so I got conditioned to skipping them.
It’s not really fair to the chef, but I’m pretty satisfied if I get a tasty entree from a visit. That’s always the BEST litmus test for a kitchen. If the rest of the menu works and is actually a value, hey, a nice bonus. I’d have to get someone else’s input on that. I’m sure the Groupons will be waving like flags when I go, so using it will feel almost natural.
Let’s be honest… the surrounding area is a $hithole. It’s essentially Harlem; complete with the questionable characters that frequent this place. The staff seemed very unknowledgeable about anything on the menu and overall seemed disinterested in his/her job.
Who cares about how attractive the staff may or may not be? If the staffs’ attractiveness factor is what you seek for in a restaurant for some reason, you would go out in Manhattan, not Brooklyn.
Apparently you did not read my message in its entirety. Although an attractive staff is not a factor, it certainly is a plus. As for Manhattan, I have 15 years experience working in the Manhattan restaurant/club industry and trust me when I say, the most attractive and courteous female servers, bartenders and dancers, (guys tell me I’m not wrong here) are found OUTSIDE of the city in Queens and Brooklyn- and if I live in Brooklyn wouldn’t it behoove me to not have to go all the way into the city just to be around attractive people??? And lets be honest here, good looking people attract crowds.
It’s also less costly, but there really is no need to run down the list of pro’s to someone who clearly is biased. FYI: Park Slope is considered one of New York City’s most desirable neighborhoods. In 2010, it was ranked #1 in New York by New York Magazine citing its quality public schools, dining, nightlife, shopping, access to public transit, green space, quality housing, safety, and creative capital, among other aspects.
Also, in case you were interested to know, according to the NYPD 2010 crime stats Harlem’s crime incidence rate was more than double that of Park Slope. But, if you think they are both the same then go ahead and take a solo stroll around 3:30 a.m. in each of the 2 neighborhoods…..
Rob, the most attractive female servers, bartenders and dancers are oustide Manhattan. Courtesy usually goes up with Manhattan real estate, though
Staff attractiveness is a big plus. Maybe a guy thing, huh?