Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Patsy's- Old School Uptown Dining

Back in the day, Sinatra owned Manhattan.  Some think this was the best of times, when celebrities were rare, and no one messed with 'em.  I don't know about that, but I do know they have been serving celebrities at Patsy's since 1944.  They make a brand out of it.  Located near the Lincoln Center, it is a great location for eating before the theater.  Sinatra, son of Hoboken, pronounced it his favorite place in Manhattan.  
I was familiar with the legend of Patsy's, having cited it to my team when developing concepts.  I hoped we would build something lasting, with hands-on involvement.  I should have visited first.  
The store front and decor are spot on- every touch-point is in alignment with what you want it to be, a 50s-60s kinda joint The Chairman would like.  We were looking forward to a decent old-school Italian res sauce meal.

So the web site is a good one, lotsa content, and well constructed.  Nice work being current.  No reservations though, so a phone call is called for, and when well.  When we arrived, and the hostess was revealed to be the old Nana, we understood.  She was pleasant and welcoming.  I thought: "Hmmm, the reviewers who said it was like a family establishment were right, and this will be fun!"  Then we met the Maitre d'.  We were then disabused of our erroneous thinking.  

We were told that our coats would now be surrendered.  NO COATS IN THE DINING ROOM!  I reluctantly did.  For the only time in Manhattan.  Nervously, I fingered my sweater, would I have to strip it off too?  Was the Maitre d' angling for a job with TSA?  My wife had on a light suit coat that they wanted to take too.  She clutched it, and before she could scream, I spoke up; "She is naked underneath! Do you want her naked in the dining room?!"   On the way to our table upstairs, I couldn't help but notice that many chairs had coats over the back of them.  Hmmmm.

When we sat, we were agitated and uncomfortable.  Maybe it is like going to a family member's home.  Like a crazy old aunt's.  We considered leaving, but the menu does look good.  We ordered some basic red sauce stuff.  The pasta was perfect.  Really good.  The sauce was exactly as it should be, delicious and unctuous.  

The price, by the way, is honestly advertised as being high.  Yes, high indeed, but if the service were not condescending, haughty, belittling, and aggravating, it would be OK.

So the upshot?  Find another place to eat Italian.  And if you want to look at celebrity photos as you eat, go to Katz' Deli.  The abusive service is expected and welcome there.  

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