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I recently slammed the new Andrew Carmellini restaurant in the Smyth Hotel in Tribeca without even trying the food. I saw way too many red flags in the staff and service, and walked out.
Now, the influential NYT critic Pete Wells has posted his review. He liked some of the entrees, but also was critical of the service and staff (as we were too), writing, “When you think of Mr. Carmellini’s restaurants, quiet and civility are not the first qualities that come to mind. Anyone who has faced down the unwelcoming committee at the door of Locanda Verde, or showed up on time at Lafayette only to be sent to the bar, or waited on the Bowery to get into Bar Primi, will appreciate the more hospitable greeting at Little Park.
….half of a tiny lobster tail that wasn’t warm enough to melt the herb butter slapped on top.
There was other evidence of inattentiveness, like the oily mop of oversauced whole-wheat spaghetti with cabbage and red wattle pork. (The menu calls the poor hog “red waddle.” No doubt it was a large animal, but why add insult to injury?)
Little Park’s servers also push the popular contemporary con that small plates are meant for sharing. As one of my dinner guests remarked, “That’s like saying: ‘This is a studio apartment. It’s perfect for a family.’ ” I know I wanted more than one of the frilly kale-filled ravioli sitting on a sauce of sweet roasted winter squash.
A bit of explanation may also be required with some of Jennifer Luk’s desserts. What is frozen lemon fluff? It’s a delicious white block of dense citrus meringue around which orange sections and candied ginger can happily revolve. How about cinnamon toast ice cream? It’s something like crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal sprinkled over ice cream that tastes like sweet bread, and it’s as charming as it sounds. As for the “winter sundae” of apple and beer, it’s slightly more charming than it sounds, but maybe not quite enough more.”.
Pete Wells gave Little Park two-stars, but that is meaningless these days. He admits that his star ratings are arbitrary.
Although I am intrigued by the chef and the menu, there is no way that I will eat at Little Park until they hire a better senior management team.