Riingo

(New York, NY) Our final day in New York is jam-packed with activity, so we decide to sleep late, skip breakfast, and walk a couple blocks to a hotel restaurant called Riingo (found courtesy OpenTable.com). Reviews are mostly positive and although the online menus look somewhat standard, we hope for a special flair from the chef...


He Fed:
We find the somewhat hidden door to Riingo next to the main entrance to Hotel Alex (discovering later we could have come in directly from the hotel lobby). Turns out Riingo is a pretty standard, though nicely appointed, boutique hotel bar and restaurant. The front wall of windows is impressive, and the slightly Asian influences range from square brown leather seating, greengrass accents, to metal framing. Soft indie tunes play overhead. A hostess greets then informs us they are not quite ready to serve brunch yet, although we're on-time. Would we like to wait with a glass of water? Sure, why not.

After a fifteen minute wait, we are finally shown to a nice booth table in the very back dining room, which is quiet and private. Perfect for two foodies shooting video! I get some shots of the amazing high ceilings and painted chain link "chandelier" overhead. Presumably live flower shoots bloom in alcoves behind us. The whole effect is very serene.

Our first mistake is coming at 11am for brunch. We cannot take advantage of the prix fixe brunch which includes an adult beverage (Bloody Mary sounds good). We both order lattes, and our soft-spoken and inattentive waiter returns to inform us their espresso machine is broken. So what? I think. Run down the street to the nearest Starbucks and get me my latte! Instead, I get the coffee which is passable when enough cream is added.

We are presented an amuse bouche of mini zucchini muffins, which are too gummy for my taste. Adding butter helps a bit, but I think they should have been left in the oven a couple more minutes. Multi-grain bread comes out with our dishes, and that's a whole lot better (especially with butter). The toast has cool cross-hatch marks on them, so you know they were probably prepared on a grill top rather than a traditional toaster. My excitement dissipates, though, when I realize there is no jam. I know they have it; I just saw a lady at a table up front asking for more of the homemade strawberry jam!

I go with an old standby for my main course: eggs benedict. Only, here, it's Serrano Ham Benedict with a tarragon hollandaise on brioche. The bread is amazing...soft, yet crisp on the outside. It is the perfect bed for a great benedict. Unfortunately, the rest of it is pretty bland. A benedict lives and dies by the success of its hollandaise. Riingo's sauce could have come from Denny's for all I knew. The ham is okay, adding a little bit of saltiness. At the end, I'm left with a "meh" taste in my mouth, even after I add splashes of hot sauce.

Although it is nearly noon, we decide we'd rather head back to the hotel and pack early than trust our waiter to bring us a mimosa. He can hardly keep the water glasses filled! Sometimes earning 1000 points on OpenTable.com just isn't worth it.
She Fed:
We walk a few blocks from our hotel to Riingo, which is also housed in a hotel. I've never been a fan of hotel restaurants, but it's not like this is the pancake house at a HoJo. The decor is stylish, almost too hip for Sunday morning. It looks like a jazz bar with low chocolate brown leather seats with tiger striped backs, a long mahogany bar and dark brown strands of fringe lining the floor to ceiling windows.

We arrive about 10 minutes early and the hostess explains they're still setting up for brunch "in back" and we'll need to wait for a few minutes. She seems distracted and slightly confused, almost as though it's her first day or something unexpected has just happened. The entire mood of the place just seems a bit off. We grab a seat on one of the low benches and the hostess brings us ice waters.

About 10 minutes after 11 am, we are shown to our table in a small room at the back of the restaurant. The walls are lined with glass tubes each holding a delicate flower sprig and are painted with stripes of high gloss white alternating with stripes of eggshell white. The light fixture is surrounded by thin chains hanging down about six feet and painted with a beautiful mural of clouds and a brilliant sunset. The room is gorgeous and we choose the banquette at the far end of the room.

We immediately order lattes only to have the waiter reappear and apologize that the espresso machine is broken. No espresso on a Sunday morning? Ugh. I order tea and realize after a quick run through of the menu, that nothing sounds good. I saw a woman eating scrambled eggs in the bar area and they looked tasty, but there's no scrambled eggs on the menu. It never crosses my mind to request the breakfast menu or to even just ask for scrambled eggs. I settle on the "make your own omelet" with Vermont cheddar and mushrooms.

While we wait, our waiter brings us two mini zucchini muffins which are soggy on the top and dry in the middle. Our food arrives and my omelet, rolled French style, is very pretty, but even with wild mushrooms and cheese, it's pretty bland. The roasted potatoes on the side are another story. I love crispy caramelized roasted potatoes and I dunk each hunk in some Dijon and gobble them up.

The other highlight is the multigrain bread. It's been pressed and toasted, almost like a panini. So it's super crispy on the outside while still chewy on the inside.

Our waiter is stiff and awkward. Despite us being his only table, he never checks in to see how our food is and it takes him over 10 minutes to return with the check when Jeremy asks for it. Riingo might be a fun place for drinks or small plates, but I cannot recommend them for brunch. Good toast and roasted potatoes are easy to find and probably with a steaming latte too.
Riingo on Urbanspoon Bookmark and Share
© 2010 HeFedSheFed.com

Comments

Popular Posts