Eaters' Journal 9/19/08: Double Crown, Cookshop, Braai, Bridge, Frankies

Sam Horine, 9/15/08

Double Crown: As with AvroKo spaces that have come before it, Double Crown is about style first and food second. File this under fact versus knock. While the food does range from very respectably trendy (the duck buns) to ill-conceived (the flaccid pigs in a blanket) an edible meal is certainly not outside of the realm of possibility. But said meal isn't the point. The space is vintage-feeling, warm, breezy and and rickity-chic. And it's the right mix of new tricks and classic New York ticks, such as the intimate and plush power booths in to the right. No question they've got a money maker here, but if food is your aim, give her six weeks to get it on the rails. — BL

Braai: The South African spot Braai, while themey and a tad over the top, pulls it off so much better than Merkato 55 design-wise, it's incredible. It's an inviting enough place to eat in Hell's Kitchen, and the staff try hard to please. Sadly, the food isn't really there yet. Meats were overcooked and tough, prawns were decent but nothing worth returning for. — Kludt

Cookshop: Cookshop, infinitely solid as a general matter, was an organic, grass fed, locavore hell on a recent Friday night. 20-minute, no apology wait past a late resy time to be seated—a Jeff Goldblum walk in to blame?—was followed by inept service and mediocre food. I recommend a pass on the $38 NY strip steak and the $25 chicken--the first big and bland, the latter tiny and of the same flavor profile. Vicki, you are checking-in now and then, yes? — BL

Bridge Urban Winery: Dear Bridge: We know you mean well with your New York wines, your Greenmarket-sourced produced, your local cheese. But you have to lower your prices or up the quality/portion sizes if you want to make it in that location. You aren't going to get that coveted Diner and Marlowe & Sons runoff with an unimpressive $22 cheese plate, $18 flights of thin NY State wine, and small (but delicious) overpriced flatbreads. You can't charge like Bedford Ave., and just because something is local doesn't mean it good. — Kludt

Frankies 17: Pay attention Bridge—this is a neighborhood place that gets it right every single time. They nail it with the small menu, the price point, the music, the service, the wine. On a recent Friday night, the eggplant parmigiana sandwich, eaten at the bar to avoid the interminable wait, along with some cheese and great wine, was pretty much the ideal easy meal. — Kludt

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