People don’t like being placed in awkward positions (unless you’re the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World), and the same goes for those that work in the restaurant business. While dining out at Nolita House my friends and I were placed in such a predicament and things started to get a bit testy. No thanks to the Yelp app for telling us the restaurant was only open at 4:00pm for dinner and not informing us about their earlier lunch time menu, we decided to wait until 4:00pm to head to the restaurant for an early dinner. But to much chagrin, we quickly noticed they served a similar cheaper lunch menu. After being seated and handed the lunch menus, our server quickly swooped in and removed them from our hands and replaced them with the pricier dinner menu and informed us that the kitchen was in the process of switching between lunch and dinner menus, we obliged since we were there for the dinner anyway. We placed our orders at 3:52pm on the dot and ordered a few BOGO happy hour beers excited to see our neighbors thoroughly enjoy their custom made burgers and fries. My friend had to be at work at 5:00pm, so we had to eat fast!
4:30pm hits, still nothing. Our server comes by to apologize saying that they’re still switching out the back end and that our food would be out in jiff. He presented us with a few complimentary beers that simply masked the hunger frustrations. But wait, are the cooks really cooking our food, because we see them all pow-wowed in front of the kitchen having social hour.
4:45pm: Apparently our dishes are now being plated and will be served up any minute now. We glare back at the kitchen, frustrated, waiting and hoping every desperate minute to see our dishes magically materialize, but still nothing.
5:00pm: My friend calls into work saying that she will be a bit late because she’s finishing up her dinner (that was a lie). They always say never shoot the messenger, and we did feel a bit sympathetic to see how genuinely apologetic our server was, but they’re just toying with our patience now.
5:03pm: The first dish arrives and it’s my BBQ Baby Back Ribs.I’ve got to say, I’ve had better ribs at Chili’s than the one served at Nolita House. The ribs came absolutely cold and had the mystique that it was just zapped in the microwave (which they did a poor job of) and brushed with a bit of BBQ sauce. Even though I was utterly disappointed, the sheer hunger that engulfed me fueled me on to consume the dish.
5:05pm: The second communal dish arrives, Nolita House’s “Famous Baked Macaroni and Cheese” with Bacon.This thing should’ve been made out of bologna, because that’s exactly what it is. $8 for this POS?? Plus an extra $1 for the bacon?? I’ve enjoyed EasyMac more than this dish. The filling was watered down and you don’t ever get the sense of it being warm and hearty that mac and cheese is famous for. To quote one of my favorite movies, F&F Tokyo Drift, “0 for 2, cowboy.”
5:05pm: My friend’s smaller plate of Ribs arrive and it’s completely inedible. It’s cold and absolutely pathetic, he sends it back to the kitchen.
5:06pm: The accompaniment to our rib dishes finally come out. The Serrano Skillet Cornbread. Now don’t let the picture or the name fool you, this thing was donkey crap. I would have rather they go out and run to Boston Market for me and bring me their cornbread instead of serving me their dry, tasteless object that they try to pass off as cornbread. And to think that they put it on the menu as a side order for $5 is a complete outrage.
5:07pm: Finally the last dish appears:A so called salad takes the longest time, go figure. Their Watermelon and Crispy Pork Belly was actually pretty decent. But at $13 and making each of these bad boys roughly $4 and change, I can think of many better things that I would rather enjoy, such as the Hirata Buns at Ippudo. My friend finishes just one as she has to jet for work.
5:15pm: After talking under our breath for a while saying that they should at least serve up a full sized portion of rib, Nolita House delivers and presents a now warm and full plate of their BBQ Ribs. What could have been.. what could have been. At least the meat falls off the bone this time.
What I find absolutely hilarious is that this was my first time at Nolita House, and upon leaving, I guess the manager comes out to greet me, saying that I look familiar and if I’ve been here before. I run with it and say that I have. He tells me, “yea, you definitely look familiar and I’ve seen you around.” (Is it because I’m Asian? And you’re just mistaking me for all the other Asian faces in Chinatown?) He tells me his name is Kyle, shakes my hand and guarantees he’ll help me out better next time. We’ll see about that.
Nolita House Scores:
Food: 1.5/10 – This is only because they came back out with an edible form of ribs towards the end
Restaurant Environment: 4/10 – It just feel’s like your basic pub, but I didn’t like seeing the cooks standing around not cooking.
Service: 0/10 – This was a tough one for me, but in the end Nolita House did not deliver upon their initial service no matter how sympathetic or how many beers they give me.
Value: 2/10 – Although the prices were fairly reasonable for New York standards, this directly correlates with the terrible food that was served.