Restaurant Week at The Central Park Boathouse

Even though the food and service last year at the Boathouse hadn’t been the best, I enjoyed the tranquil location so much I just had to go back again this year for Restaurant Week. Unfortunately this time around circumstances would be against me. First I was late for my reservation, about 45 minutes late in fact. I had called to let them know but that is much too long and by the time I arrived my table had been given away and they were no longer seating anyone else. This is my fault, not theirs. I should have just walked away and gone elsewhere but I was kind of a wreck. I had a terrible day at work (which is why I was so late) and I just wanted to take a moment and relax with a glass of wine. It was Friday for goodness sake. That’s when I noticed an open seat at the bar and the RW menu was being served. Why the hell not?

So I took a seat and placed my order. Here’s where I made mistake number two. I was feeling a little stressed and for some reason I completely misordered. I was all about the Sea Bass ceviche for my first course and instead I said Cesar Salad. I have no idea why. I was in a crazy kind of state and I was starving but what a mistake! The salad that arrived was almost worse than the ones I make out of a bag at home. There was hardly any dressing and the greens and cheese had no flavor.

To make matter worse the bread they gave me was insanely hard and the butter was even harder! To bad because the caraway seeds and salt chunks on top looked delicious. Things were not going well at this point and then matters got even worse. Apparently someone at the other end of the bar had ordered a double espresso and not received it. Suddenly this women just lashes out at the bartender in front of everyone- lambasting her for her poor service and demanding her espresso! It was not a pretty sight and I felt horrible for the poor bartender. It was insanely busy and obviously service can suffer when this occurs.

My main course arrived at this point and just looking at the enormous brioche bun I had a feeling I was going to hate my burger. As I’m about to take a bite I hear a waiter to the left of me telling a couple ordering to avoid the Cesar salad (where were you when I was ordering 10 minutes ago??)

Then something wonderful happened. A young man, a tourist, sat down at the piano and started playing the most wonderful music I think I’ve ever heard. The whole bar grew silent and the entire restaurant just seemed to stop. It was magnificent. All of a sudden my burger tasted better, I took the bun off and that damn lamb was pretty darn moist and tasty. The fried goat cheese gave it a nice crunch and the accompanying salad was near perfect.

I even started chatting with an older gentleman next to me for a bit and I ended up getting a free glass of wine! This piano player changed my mood and the vibe. I was actually staring to enjoy myself.

Unfortunately then my Pistachio- White Chocolate Cake arrived and I have to tell you it was awful. The cake had no flavor except for coldness. Seriously- this cake tasted of cold- nothing else. The Milk Chocolate Pudding sauce underneath was nothing more than melted Toll House Chocolate Chips and even they didn’t take away the coldness. It was gross.

To end out the meal my bill came back, after I paid, with a different amount and a shot of Wild Turkey added on. Obviously I didn’t order this and I alerted the waitress to the error. She took it back and redid the bill saying it was fixed. I’ve since checked my bank statement and been charged two full times for lunch. Excellent! Now I get to deal with the bank!

So what did I learn from this lunch? Some times free wine and a piano playing tourist can’t fix a bad meal.

Central Park Boathouse