by Janee Tisher on
The new Midtown Diner: equal parts brilliant and infuriatingly stupid. 24-hour place on my route home? Brilliant. Quality of food? Pretty brilliant for a diner, actually. Though my expectations may have been lowered by the service. I'll get to that. I had what was insistently described to me as "eggplant hummus" and only sort of like baba ganoush. Tasted just like baba ganoush to me, but it was very good. I also had a mediterranean omelet with no bacon (the remaining ingredients were sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and blue cheese), which was very well cooked, colorful and fresh-looking, and tasted great. Ambiance? Liked it - lots and lots of seating, much of it outdoors and covered. No, it's not the most brilliant view, but it's nice to have the option of BEING outside and eating breakfast food anytime you want. Flying biscuit does not quite achieve this. I didn't understand why there were two separate levels separated by a fence, because it was the same restaurant. Also there were a lot of different TYPES of tables outside, it seemed - or at least two. "Normal," and "huge cushy pleather low chair I remember seeing in my college library, with big flat armrests that you can sit drinks on without them spilling." I was seated in the latter and actually got a huge kick out of it, even though the table was a little high for those chairs. Now onto the infuriatingly stupid aspects of my visit. First of all, what is a place like this doing without a wi-fi connection? I would so easily drop $5 or more to use it there. And with those big chairs? My netbook fits so nice on that armrest, and is safely out of way of my food and drink -- being teased with the thought of working there AS LATE AS I WANT because it's 24/7 but not being able to because there was no wireless network available -- upsetting. Second, I've never had service that was quite so ... sullen. I will give our server credit for getting the most important thing right, which was leaving the bacon out of my omelet. Pretty much everything else she did was objectionable in some way though. Forgot to bring toast with the omelet, then brought the wrong kind, gave the table next to us the wrong change back, etc. I will say that I saw other servers around doing a better job and seeming much more into it. Third, I'm not sure precisely how much of the service was the fault of the menu ridiculousness. The place has two artistically indistinguishable menus floating around, one of which is obsolete. Once I got my hands on a non-obsolete one, I discovered the following issues: --They "didn't have" hummus, which was featured in several dishes on the old and new menus. I don't think a mediterranean place should be allowed to call itself mediterranean and not have hummus, but that's just me. And I'm sorry, baba ganoush (or "eggplant hummus" as my server insisted), is NOT the same thing as hummus, even if it is good in its own right. --They list a veggie burger under "Vegetarian dishes" (a category I applaud them for having, even if it seems to have been very poorly conceived). However, when I asked about it, the server said no, it's a veggie wrap. And then I pointed to a completely separate item called "vegetarian wrap," and she said it was the same thing. But they were different sections of the menu, different descriptions, and (I think) different prices. What? I did not get the veggie burger/vegetarian wrap because the vegetarian wrap was supposed to have hummus on it. Gr. --On the old menu they describe the "Stuffed grape leaves" in the appetizer section as stuffed with rice and spices. On both the old and new menu they list "stuffed grape leaves" as an entree under "Vegetarian dishes" with no description. But then on the new menu they say there is lamb in them in the appetizer section, but still list them on the "Vegetarian dishes" section. When pressed on this, the server seemed pretty sure they all had meat in them. This is *highly* concerning. Vegetarians, do NOT order the stuffed grape leaves. Those were the only problems I found, but I'm sure there were more. OK - if anyone from Midtown Diner happens to be listening, please change the following things and you are an easy 5 stars: First and foremost, get a wireless internet connection. I was drooling so bad for this that I was almost considering buying one of those verizon connections you can use anywhere just so I could use it here - even after the experience had gone downhill a bit. Second, get that girl to fix her attitude problem. Don't fire her or anything. Just tell her to be friendly and conscientious. Finally, don't be out of hummus! Come on. Fix the other menu stuff too, but really, my whole beef with the place started when she came back and told me that there was no hummus. If there had been hummus, I might not have even noticed the rest of the glaring flaws.
by Roy Goade on
To hit the high points: Cover 3 has got great atmosphere; no beer neon, no memorabilia -- there are lots of very nice flat screens, but there is also a lot of soft, nuetral textures and space for when your eyes need a rest -- the food was excellent, and the drinks were awesome. They have these taps that deliver beer and booze at a degree above freezing -- essentially ice cold Don Julio, Kettle Citron, Grand Marnier, or Zwack -- yummy and dangerous. Everyone was very nice and excited to be there. The upstairs lounge wasn't open yet, but looks very promising; big ,comfy, red leather chairs, a couple more tvs, and a great view of the restaurant. If this place can't make a sports fan out of me then nothing can!