Thursday, July 22, 2010

44 1/2 "beets" us down

Last week, SB and I convened for a catch-up dinner. We hadn't seen each other in many months, so we were looking for something low key and conducive to chatting. We ended up at 44 1/2, a restaurant a few blocks down from my apartment that I've never been to in all these years.

It's owned by the same people as 44 & X, and the vibes are similar-- crazy hip with lots of attitude. There's a really cute back garden, which was populated despite the fact that it was blatantly too hot to be outside. We contented ourselves with a table, me sinking gratefully into the booth side, SB facing me in the chair.

To begin-- tiny little rolls of the most generic bread I've ever had. It was slightly sweet, with a pliant and weak crust and a kind of dry interior. I was absolutely ravenously hungry, otherwise I would have skipped it.

The roll version of Wonder Bread

To continue, SB went for the turkey burger, also on an english muffin bun, a la 44 & X's burger. She pronounced it "really good"; I swiped a fry or two from the mountain on the plate, and they too were "really good."

Burger dwarfed by mountain of fries

My choice was the "roasted garnet beets with goat cheese, fines herbs, beet puree and chili oil." I must say, this was pretty disappointing. I mean, it tasted good, and it was pleasing to the eye, but a) it was almost absurdly tiny, as though the chef were playing a joke on you, and b) fundamentally, there wasn't really anything special here. The beets were sweet, the goat cheese tangy, and there you have it-- three bites and you're done. For $11. I would not order it again.

Don't let the squiggles fool you

Would I return to 44 1/2? I'm not really sure. There were quite a few things on the menu that looked appealing, including a few good looking salads, but the prices are just a bit too high for what you get. I'll give the place two Offset Spatulas for now, and if I ever get a chance to go back, I'll keep my eye out for an upgrade.

44 1/2
626 Tenth Avenue, between 44th and 45th Streets

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