561 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10016
(212) 490-1558

I tend to self-police the places I eat at and write about. As a result, there aren't terribly many places I've eaten where I can say that, from the moment I sat down to the moment I stood up, I ever regretted sitting down at all. In fact, there are precious few. Josie managed to make this exalted list.

Pike and I were looking for a place where we could sit outside. We'd wandered from the east 40s and were fully prepared to merely plunk our butts down on the patio at Duke's for some burgers. Suddenly, out of the corner of our eyes (well, really I can blame Pike on this one... his eyes. Uh, though I concede agreeing to try it.) we spotted Josie, a somewhat trendy, more-expensive-than-I-thought-it-would-be comfort food restaurant that looked enticing. Sitting outside was, in retrospect, a poor choice with the early spring evenings still in their chilly phase and my jacket in a closet at home. Add the chill to the fact that the tables were too close together, forcing my knees to press up against the table pillar, and we were not off to a good start. Add a waitress who oozed disinterest and we were off to a worse one.

Josie bills itself as organic and wholesome. This implies that the food is fresh, all natural and delicious. Well, while I can't speak for the freshness or all-naturalness of the grub, I can, unfortunately, speak for my opinion of its deliciousness... or lack thereof. Like I said, Josie is organic comfort food. The menu had burgers (beef, as well as veggie and salmon), salads, chicken, meatloaf, etc. They also felt some bizarre need to add a sushi selection to the menu.

Online reviews of Josie from seem to flip-flop between from bad to superb, from "Do not go if you have taste buds, you'll only regret it" to "Josie's is always good for a solid experience".

We started the evening off with a selection of bread. I chose the cornbread, a favorite of mine, and Pike decided to have a go at the focaccia. Allow me to say that these were both just plain awful. To add insult to injury, you're not even given the option of drowning the taste in butter. Instead, the bread comes with some sort of sweet potato dipping-mush. Don't ask me why I felt compelled to eat either the bread or the mush, but there I was, forcing it down. Don't take my word for it, test it yourself.

Pike and I split an appetizer, an order of Steamed Organic Potato and Broccoli Dumplings. Served in a tomato pesto sauce somewhat like a vodka sauce, this appetizer actually wasn't too bad. We used the sauce from the appetizer to replace the mush and had high hopes for the rest of the meal. These hopes would not be dashed for about 20 minutes or so, since that's roughly how long it took between courses.

At last, the food man cometh. Pike ordered the Natural Turkey Meatloaf. As described by the menu, it is an herb-spiced, lean ground natural turkey loaf (au jus), sweet potato mash, Asian long beans & cranberry-apple chutney. I sounds soooo good. It sounds mouth watering. Sadly, sometimes one's imagination can get the better of them and this was one of those times. What should have been a moist turkey meatloaf was really closer to a tasteless slab of turkey-based sawdust with some cranberry apple chutney (this was pretty good). Instead of Asian long beans, it came with bok choi, which I normally love. But somehow, even that was bungled and instead the bok choi was absolutely flat. Pike's expression was one of regret. Regret at not getting a hamburger at Duke's.

I flipped a coin to decide my entrée. Heads, the Brandt Natural Beef Cheeseburger; tails, the Roasted Natural Half Chicken. Tails, I got the chicken. This is my standby dish. I almost didn't order it since I've ordered it at so many other restaurants. From Danny Brown to Quaint to HK to Metrazur, almost every restaurant has a version of this dish. Josie's came with "smashed" potatoes, strips of sliced zucchini, and carrots. The vegetables were overcooked to the point that they had no taste whatsoever. The mashed potatoes came with the skin, which I like. They also came in the thick consistency of Elmer's paste, which I didn't. It was like trying to swallow caulk. Though I ate a good chunk of the potatoes, the main reason is because the chicken was just so bad. It was extremely dry, and whatever glaze the chefs used was bitter. I had about a half a breast and then gave up.

Even though we were expensing the meal, we just couldn't bring ourselves to have dessert. I really, really want to say that I went at a bad time and that if I ever went again, I'd have a totally different experience. But the odds of my return are slim... to none. If you had a better experience and these opinions of mine are reflections of some bizarre anomaly, then please say so. I don't like to give a bad review. I mean, these meals aren't free. But while I'm willing to give a pass or two to a mediocre dish or highlight something about the restaurant that I liked, in this case few good things can be said. The service was very slow and the waitress's attitude was poor (the busboy was very nice though). Even if the food was good, which it wasn't, it was too expensive.

One appetizer, two entrees, two sodas, and no dessert, plus tax and tip was $64 too much.

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