Guest Post ‘At Vermilion’

NYC Restaurant week is a time we as NYers use as an excuse to indulge and be merry:  Test out some new spots and revisit the old faithfuls…

I had such an “interesting” experience at ‘At Vermilion‘ tonight that I forced Tesh (with a weapon) to give me the password to the site so that I can share with you all…  And here it goes:

At Vermilion stood out from the list.  Indian-Latin fusion.  I like Indian.  I like Latin.  Can’t go wrong, right?  WRONG!

Let’s start at the bar:  I met up with a friend for a drink while I was waiting for another friend to show up for dinner.  I asked for the Coriander Pear Martini.  Nope, unavailable.  My friend ordered a MaCallan 18yr on the rocks.  Didn’t have that either.  How about the Oban?  Try again.  So why the hell are they listed on the damn menu?!  I settled on the Lychee Ginger Martini and MaCallan 12yr for my friend.  After waiting at least 10 minutes to get the bartender’s attention to close out the check (trust me, they were not busy), we were off to the second floor for dinner.

Dining room:  Modern, clean, minimalism at its best.  Decor wasn’t all that bad but could have been more inviting.  We were seated at a 4-top.  The regular menus were presented.  My friend and I looked at each other, wondering if they were no longer participating in Resto week.  I asked our server.  ”Oh, yes.  Would you like to see that menu?”  ”DUH…” A few minutes later, another waiter approached the table and asked to take our drink order.  After we ordered our drinks, another waiter approached us for our drink orders.  The resto week menu didn’t look all too enticing so we went with their regular selection.  We started off with the Kebab tasting:  Beef, Cauliflower, Paneer, and Chicken.  The appetizer took a long time to arrive.  We were hungry and ready to dive in, once it hit the table.  I went for the beef first.  One bite and I thought my mouth was on fire, not realizing that the entire piece was rolled in a plate of chili pepper flakes (Yes, like the ones that you can find in your local pizzeria).  I can handle spicy – Hell, I put Tabasco on virtually anything – but this was on another level.  Even more disturbing was the meat inside. It was so undercooked that the meat was cool and the color/texture was similar to tuna tartare.  Having worked in the food & bev industry, I rarely send things back… but this had to go.  It looked like I performed an open heart surgery on my appetizer plate.  YUK!  The Paneer, Chicken,and the Cauliflower kebabs was prepared on the spicy side as well.  Let’s hope the main course is better…

I ordered the Lamb Shank Gassi.  It was a 5 at best.  The meat was really tender but the sauce was over powering.  Spicy AGAIN.  My friend ordered the Seafood Paella.  Spicy as well.  We are typically drinkers but we barely had 1 round of drinks because we were too busy chugging water.  Everything we ate after that tasted like chili pepper, including the rice.  I understand that I ordered under the ‘Heat’ section so I was prepared for some ‘kick’ but the appetizer and the paella was not listed as spicy.  It really sucked for my friend who doesn’t prefer spicy foods.

Dessert anyone?: We needed something sweet after all that spice and salt.  So we gave the dessert menu a whirl.  I wanted something sweet and cold so I went with the trio of sorbets: blueberry cardamom – floral, cardamom was overpowering. passionfruit chili – tasted like mango, not bad. coconut clove – tasted like coconut icee.  My friend ordered the Hedonism (dark chocolate molten cake, chili – masala orange – blueberry cardamom sorbet).  It was mediocre.  Notice, why the hell is the word chili on the desert menu twice any how?!

Check, please!: At this point, we were approached by 3 different waiters.  Clearly they do not communicate amongst each other.  The runners were also disorganized.   We were almost served coffee in error and they did not know seat numbers when the entrees came out.  After $85, I walked out with buyer’s remorse.  Major Resto Week FAIL!

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