11 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011
Rye House. See, when a restaurant calls itself Rye House while existing on the same temporal plane as both myself and Elbie, it's bound by destiny to attract us as customers. We like our whiskey. Once I had brought it up as an option, there was almost no discussion that it was where we were going to have dinner. Hence, it pains me to say that it's a hit or miss place.
The interior is dark and heavy in its use of weathered wood, so it feels like eating dinner in an oak barrel. So far, so good. We were showed a seat in the back and ordered some cocktails. While nursing those, we started figuring out the menu. Elbie and I have almost identical tastes in food so usually whatever I want she wants, and vice versa. This means we never have to argue about the courses. Ah bliss. It was almost natural for her to order the Pickled Quail Eggs as I picked out the Rye House Hennepin Beef Jerky. Oh sweet Lord, so good. Coupled with my stout ale, as black as tar and twice as thick, these two appetizers were simply sick. I would return for either, and often. The beef jerky, complete with whole peppercorns literally raining orbs upon the table may well have been the best that I have ever eaten. I might have actually been mad at the world that we ran out of it. No. I was mad.
Sadly, the main dishes were not where Rye House shone it's brightest light. I ordered their French Dip, which was mediocre. The broth one is apt to dip the sandwich in was more salt than anything else and the sandwich was mostly bread. While the salad was passable, it was basically just a pile of arugula. Elbie dove into the Drunken Mussels and Fries. These could have been very good, but there was virtually no broth. The broth, my friends, is half the point of ordering mussels. You pull open that shell, you use it like a spoon to pull up a hearty dose of broth, maybe there's a baguette slice to play with (nope not here) and you imbibe on that mixture of wine and celery and onion. Well, mostly we just had onion. Lots of onion. Lots and lots of onion. The fries were okay, but they were clearly not double-fried as they should be.
Oh Rye, from so high atop the hill didst thou tumble and in so short a time.
For dessert Elbie and I ordered coffees, and while she was in the bathroom, I snuck in an order of Espresso Panna Cotta. My goal was to keep her up all night. The panna cotta was good... with a big but. BUT next to the panna cotta, which you cannot see in the photo, is a huge dollop of what looks to be dark chocolate creme, but is in fact espresso slime. As one is wont to do, we each smeared the tip of our finger in it and recoiled with the unexpected flavor of burned dirt. So keep that in mind if you get this.
Our meal of a handful of drinks, two appetizers, two entrees a dessert and some coffees, plus tax and tip was around $100.
But if you think I won't go back for the beef jerky then you have another thing coming.
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