Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Tre Merli (183 W 10th Street)

Some say Fall is the best season is New York City and I might have to agree. The weather starts to get cool, which is a lot more desirable than the sweltering hot conditions we endured this summer. The air is crisp and cool, but not cold--perfect weather for jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt.

Taking advantage of the beautiful season, my friend Christa and I decided to walk around the West Village in search of some lunch. Not having a particular destination, we took the subway to West 4th and walked around. Christa had in her mind that she wanted to go to a "cute cafe", but after 45 mins of walking in circles, we just decided to pick the next place that looked decent.

I don't know if it was the white "Christmasy" lights that attracted us to this place or if we just gave up on our search. I thought the quaint bistro fit the definition of a "cute cafe" but then again I thought I saw a few of them.

The bistro itself was empty, so it was kind of nice having the whole restaurant to ourselves. The menu here didn't appeal to me too much, but I figured we'd be walking around for another 45 minutes if we didn't eat here. Not that the menu didn't appeal to me, I just figured we could find a better spot--and from the looks of it; other people must agree with me because no1 is here. The front of the house is ran by 1 lady who acts as the hostess, busser, server, and bartender. For filling all those roles, you would expect her to be busy; but no she had time to play on her laptop as she sat in the corner. Us being her only table, I would have thought she would have treated us like gold, but she didn't provide great service at all.

I originally asked for a big water because these restaurants with the small water glasses really piss me off. If you like small water glasses for some reason, make sure your waitstaff is attentive because I ran out of water about 5 times during the course of lunch. I had to flag the lady down from her corner table so I didn't die from dehydration. Ok...maybe that's a big exaggeration as far as being thirsty, but still--get your shit together!

Christa ordered the French Toast and a cappuccino. She really enjoyed her cappuccino as she mixed in a packet of raw sugar. She also enjoyed the French Toast, but I thought it was ok. I'm a tough fan of French Toast because I've had really great French Toast before. Don't get me wrong, it was ok--but I'm not going back there for the dish. The French Toast was served with fruit which sat in the middle of the plate.

I ordered the Parma Panini, which was Parma prosciutto, roasted red peppers, and arugula. The panini came with a side of mixed green salad that was pretty good. The salad was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette that was quite tasty. The panini was really good. The panini didn't have a lot going on, but the quality of the product really made this dish a winner. The bread used in the panini was awesome and this is extremely important as we all know bread could make or break a sandwich. I'm not really sure what kind of bread they used, but it was really delicious. Christa also enjoyed the panini as she ordered one to go.

As much as I enjoyed the panini, I will probably not go back to I Tre Merli. The service wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. If we got the same service in a packed restaurant, I'd probably give the waitstaff the benefit of the doubt but this restaurant was empty as there's no excuse for not providing good service when you have one table. Also, the food took awhile to come after we ordered it. I didn't mind because we were having a good conversation, but I was definitely surprised how long it took. We didn't order anything crazy-- a panini and french toast; c'mon. The price point was what one would imagine at a little spot in the West Village. The atmosphere was nice as the doors of the restaurant opened up and let the cool breeze in. Its definitely a nice cozy spot.

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