Saturday, March 10, 2012

Eater's Remorse: Felix Fails ... Miserably

Hello, strangers! If you're familiar with what my blog used to be, it was essentially an avenue in which to rhapsodize. But there are times where beyond the opening notes, the rhapsody degenerates into a caterwauling mess due to the performer. This was the unfortunate case with Felix on 340 West Broadway in SoHo, New York City. 

As I said on Yelp, this restaurant is the most disappointing "French" dining establishment I've ever been to--so much so that I started writing this scathing critique at the table with my half-eaten sea bass in front of me. Undersalted and over-celeried, the boring preparation was a waste of a fine fillet of bass. The mushroom risotto it was served upon was harsh and unbalanced, with a questionable alcoholic content since the sharpness of the wine used has clearly not cooked off. The bite of the alcohol kicked me in the mouth like an angry donkey, and the same problem applied to the beef bourguinonne, creating an anti-experience that was harsh and without symmetry. My taste buds were assaulted...maybe even mauled by the boldness that somehow manages to be boring simultaneously. One-note and obvious, the food was lacking in salt and obnoxious with the coating of everything else unnecessary. The flavors were shockingly muddy for food that was so one-dimensional, and essentially inedible. I'm known to eat every last drop, and I was unable to finish ANYTHING I was served at Felix, from apps to entrees and dessert.

I ordered a side of sauteed spinach, just to get some vitamin A. I had to send it back. I NEVER outright send food back. I endured the horror of the entree. I powered through the insult of my appetizer. But the sautéed spinach was a disaster for restaurant food. Clearly thawed out, previously frozen spinach--and not whole leaf spinach, either--it suffered from a lack of flavor. Slightly oily and stringily textured, half a lemon and salt couldn't save it. So back it went.

Going backwards, the breaded goat cheese salad was actually very good, but again, there was no symmetry to this dish, either. A generous portion of rich goat cheese was accompanied by a tiny portion of deliciously dressed palate-cleansing greens, providing minimal relief from the richness of the cheese. The salad itself was delicious, the warm goat cheese nicely breaded...but the proportion of the two elements were just completely out of whack with one another.

Save your money re: the lobster ravioli and "bisque," too. The ravioli does not taste housemade (like spinach like ravioli?) and the "bisque" is a tomato and cream sauce peppered with cheap lobster leg meat...slightly tough leg meat. Cheap, cheap shortcuts for a $13 dish. Disgraceful.

We hoped the creme brulee dessert would be a redeemer, but even that simplest of finishers was a dud. Again, there was a horrific alcoholic taste to it (and why??? It's creme brulee!) and the custard itself was curdled in texture for some bites. Add to that a brûlée that wasn't even crunchy!

Additional Notes: It's also super loud in here. And the bread is not French, nor served warm. And the servers add their tips automatically, then TAX you on it! Absolutely audacious.

In conclusion, I'm extremely surprised that a restaurant of this caliber (or lack thereof) finds a place here in Manhattan, a competitive utopia for amazing dining. Le Soir in lowly Long Island blows this place away by far, and there are way too many good French restaurants in this neighborhood to make Felix's even worth a try. My mouth is offended at what I have put it though tonight. 

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