I’m actually starting to venture out more and try new places, which was kind of the spirit of how this blog came about when I first moved to NY. I’ve found some gems (more on that later this week), but every once in a while I come across a complete disappointment. Elephant & Castle in Greenwich Village is one of them.
I arrive there on a Sunday morning with my friend Priya and her two-year-old daughter Madina. When we walked in, they said it’d be a 20 minute wait — pretty standard, if not, even a little better than most popular brunch spots in NY. We said no problem, and walked around to get Madina something to eat. We come back 15 minutes later, and I walked in to ask for a menu to peruse while we want but before I even say anything, the host barks at me, “I told you 25 minutes!” Woah.
I try once more to ask for a menu, but he interrupts me again by waving his hand and shaking his head, “Come back in 20 minutes.” Again I try a third time to ask and when he finally let me get a word in, he realizes his mistake and hands me a menu. You might wonder why we didn’t leave at this point (actually, I wish I had) but brunch on a Sunday in the W. Village with a hungry child would mean another hour wait, so we decided to stick to it.
We wait outside for another 15 minutes and then are promptly seated in a table with three chairs. Whoever led us in apologized, and we were hoping the experience would improve.
The place is small and buzzy. The waitress finally comes and I give my order for the Canyonland Poached Eggs which comes with balsamic jus, fresh tarragon, tomatoes, avocado, wild mushrooms and a side of a toasted English Muffin. Priya was stuck though, so I ask the waitress, “What do you recommend?” She curtly answers, “Well, I don’t know what kind of things you like…” No help there. I try to rephrase, “OK, what’s your most popular dish here?” She answers, “What you just ordered.” Nothing more. Priya was quickly scanning the menu as the waitress stares on without any indication of assistance. Priya hurriedly picks a sandwich and immediately regretted it.
We asked the man who yelled at us earlier if he could grab our waitress, which again, he shakes his head and mumbles something and brings her to our table. We tell the waitress we want to change half our order, and she huffs back to the kitchen, and comes back to take our new order for their Eggs’n Apples Benedict on French toast, with maple syrup. While we were waiting, the man shoves an extra chair next to me from a party that just got up — no apologies, no explanation. There was no concern for the comfort of their patrons is basically what I was picking up on.
I ordered a Spanish latte (which came out in a big bowl)….and tasted like a regular latte. When I was done, I noticed some cinnamon and spices at the bottom but it did nothing for the taste. I was thinking maybe because the bowl was so big, the taste got lost in the portion.
I was hoping there would be some redemption in our food. When it comes out, it looked beautiful — but that was about it. The vegetables from my poached eggs were very fresh and the egg was perfectly cooked in a not too solid, not overly liquid consistency. But the taste was bland.
Priya thought her eggs with apple slices and french toast tasted interesting on the first couple bites but the curiosity didn’t stay with her to the last one — she got sick of it halfway through.
In summation, the experience sucked. Anyone else been and have a different experience? Otherwise I say save yourself the trouble — definitely won’t be coming back.
Occasion: Celebrating the AMAZING Fall weather
(Out of three stars)
Service: no stars.
Would I go back?: Doubtful.
Elephant & Castle
68 Greenwich Avenue
New York, NY 10011