You can’t win them all, and sadly, Chef Laurent Tourondel’s newest restaurant in New York was a big disappointment for me. This is actually the second restaurant by the celebrated Chef that did not live up to expectations. The other was now the closed Market Restaurant. L’Amico recently opened in the north end of the Eventi Hotel lobby on 6th Avenue off 30th street, offers an American menu with Italian influences. The space has floor to ceiling windows and is a kind of rustic-chic decor. It has two copper wood-burning ovens in its open kitchen. Unfortunately, this makes the restaurant very warm, especially during the hot summer months.
I did not find the hostess that welcoming when I came in. I mentioned I would prefer not to sit by the hot kitchen. She said I could sit at the bar instead, even though there were some empty tables away from the kitchen, and I did reserve well in advance. I said I would rather not sit at the bar, so she proceeded to seat me directly across from the hot kitchen. Strike 1. The restaurant was unbearably loud. It has poor acoustics and you had to shout to be heard. Strike 2. The service was impersonal. Strike 3.
I wish I could stop complaining there, but I have to say the food was very mediocre. My fluke carpaccio had no taste and was not a very good quality either. My raw zucchini salad with parmesan, in a lemon and garlic vinaigrette, with mint and basil was, “meh”. I have had this dish at other restaurants and I have loved it! My white mushroom pizza with truffle paste, fontina, and taleggio cheese with sage, looked good but was inedibly salty. My server never asked if anything was wrong then she took the 3/4ths of unfinished pizza away. The cocktail I ordered was also weakly done. Come on, how difficult is it to make a delicious cocktail? For dessert, I ordered a soft lemon meringue, with raspberries and a basil, mint crumble. It was passable.
But regardless of all my complaints, there doesn’t seem be anything stopping throngs of people from eating here. It was a packed house the evening I ate there of young, and potentially less undiscerning, patrons.
It might also potentially be busy because this part of the city does not have a lot of decent choices. Or, for people who work or live nearby, I can see this could be an easy choice, after all, the crowd seemed to be having fun.
As a tourist, I have a lot to choose from when in New York. I will definitely not be coming back.