Macelleria (New York City)   Leave a comment

Last night’s dinner at Macelleria, a Manhattan based Italian steakhouse, though good in certain aspects, left some things to be desired.  And when you are ponying up serious coin, there is little room for error. 

Ms. R and I have been trying to get to this place for some time to take advantage of a promotional offer we had in hand.  More on that shortly.

First, the good news.  The restaurant space is wonderfully rustic, with upstairs and downstairs dining areas that evoke butcher shop chic.

Food: the beef is very good as one would expect from a place so named (Macelleria is the Italian word for butcher shop) and so located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.  We shared a Porterhouse for two that could have served Fred, Barney and even left a bit for Dino to polish off.  It was expertly prepared to medium rare and flavorful, though oddly, it arrived at our table in a pool of olive oil and, I presume, clarified butter.  Next best was the Ribolita– a soup made with cannellini beans and kale. 

A disappointment was the Garganelli with a slow-braised ox tail ragu sauce.  The ox tail did what it was supposed to do– melt in your mouth.  But the dish seemed to lack pop– being a little under-seasoned (better than over seasoned, I suppose) and it had a quality that I can only describe as “home-style”– some maimoni’s nana prepared this dish.  But at $18 for the plate it should have been something a bit more special– it was not.  Even though we ate all of it, I think I would have preferred nana’s version.  

Service– arriving for a 7 pm reservation, we did have a choice of tables and the staff were very accommodating.  But there seems to have been a little tension between our waiter and one of the hostesses.  Without blaming anyone, because there is probably some history here, I think that is something that staff must ALWAYS strive to hide from customers.  That aside, our waiter was friendly enough and took good care of our table, though I do not recall him asking whether the meal was to our liking.

Drinks– I am intentionally not reviewing the Brunello we had with dinner.  But in the matter of the Moscato d’Asti that we were given to sample a couple of suggestions for the bartender: never serve a Moscato that has been opened for more than a day or two as it loses the effervescence of its frizzante quality.  Also, never serve any drink in a broken glass– the Moscato came in a glass with a pinky-fingernail-sized chunk missing from the base. 

As for the promotional offer– we informed the staff that we were taking advantage of the offer as soon as we were seated.  When the bill arrived, the $50 discount had been overlooked.  OK, mistakes happen.  They took back the bill and manually subtracted $50 from the AFTER-tax amount.  So part of my discount went to pay for sales tax that I should never have been charged.  Too tired to argue the point and not wanting to spoil the fun that Ms. R and I were having, I let it go.  But guys– this is poor form.  You CAN DO BETTER.  Hard to believe?  How hard would it be to simply recalculate the bill on your computerized system?  I would not normally post an image like this, but unless you see it for yourself…

For a restaurant that has price tags that say it has higher aspirations, I think there is much work left to do. 

48 Gansevoort Street
New York, NY 10014

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Posted September 2, 2011 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

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