Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
johnder

PDT (Please Don't Tell) -- St. Marks Place.

Recommended Posts

If you want to be certain that there is a seat for you, make reservations. If you don't have a problem being turned away, walk in and see if they'll seat you...maybe you'll get lucky.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I regret to inform eG that the Benton's Old-Fashioned is no longer on the menu.

Tried the Norman Inversion but found it too grapefruity, the Death Bed was excellent. Liked but did not love the Heirloom (Iuzzini's drink) -- spent a good amount of time trying to wrap my head around the muddled concord grapes.

Falling Leaves, No. 8, and Black Flip are all back, thankfully.


"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally made it to PDT last Sunday night. It was my first time in the city in 7 years, and I had one night there before leaving again. My cousin Kay and I had dinner and cocktails at Elettaria followed by cocktails at PDT.

Since it was 9:30 on a Sunday night and we wanted to sit at the bar, we didn’t anticipate a huge problem, but opted out of reservations since they’re for booths only. We were willing to wait for seats at the bar. Once we arrived, Kay (who has been to PDT several times) did the polite thing of ringing in from the phone booth once, very briefly. The hostess poked her head out to tell us there was a thirty minute to an hour long wait at the bar. We left our number and she promised to call when something opened up. As we prepared to leave Crif Dogs, a young couple (I’ll just call them Joe and Jane for the sake of this story) waltzed in and entered the phone booth.

We walked around in the rain for a while. After an hour had passed, I pressured the ever-polite and patient Kay into calling PDT against her better judgement, just to get a reassessed wait time estimate. "Nobody has moved from the bar," we were told.

After another few minutes, we returned to Crif Dogs/PDT, only to find Joe and Jane waiting around inside as well. It was 10:40 pm by now. The hostess peeked out and waved them in, but after seeing us standing nearby, began apologizing profusely. “How long have you been waiting?” I asked Joe, as he was about to enter. “Um...about twenty minutes,” he said (huh?). “They had a reservation,” said the hostess (okay...). She then told us not to worry because people were just beginning to leave the bar.

Fifteen minutes later, nobody new had exited PDT, but we were waved in. It was about 11pm. So imagine our surprise at finding Joe and Jane of the 20 (or was it 70?) minute wait, inexplicably seated at the bar nursing drinks. There were two empty seats next to them. Um... Who had vacated those seats? How long had they been empty? This left us with two questions, since the bar is first-come first-serve. Why did the hostess have us continue to wait outside while those seats had been vacant the whole time and why seat Joe and Jane before us (when it's very unlikely they had a reservation, considering they arrived at 9:35pm and were still waiting over an hour later, then lied to us about how long they'd been waiting, then were seating at the no-reservations bar)? :hmmm:

I have to say... if this had happened to anyone else, or if I had read it on some internet board somewhere, I would automatically assume that the contributor was concealing unflattering facts about their rudeness or something else that might earn this sort of treatment. Both my cousin and I work in the industry, adore cocktails, and are laid-back.. and we bring no such attitude or demands. We just wanted to catch up over some amazing drinks.

I’ve seen photos of PDT on eG and on blogs in the past and I know people have been allowed to use cameras. I use a discrete camera and never ever use flash, and I was obviously really excited to be there and wanted to remember it, in part to share with my good friend and cocktail mentor back home, an active eGer and NYer who's never been to PDT. Nevertheless, I didn’t want trouble, so I went over to the hostess and asked if I might take some pictures of the menu and my drinks. She said she thought it would be fine but suggested I ask the bartender to be sure it was okay with him.

Our bartender, Johnny, gave me a dirty look when I asked if I could take pictures and eventually answered, “I’m sure there’s a menu online.” I responded that I had checked and that there wasn’t one. Exasperated, he checked with the other bartender, then told me “Okay, you can take photographs, but you can also find the menu online at Grub Street.” (glad I didn’t listen, as this was an outdated menu from almost one year ago with nary a common drink in the lot).

After I had taken pictures of the menu and one of the bar , Kay whispered, “Put the camera away now, because I’d like to come back here someday.” Apparently, Johnny did not care to conceal his looks of utter disgust as I snapped away, and Kay was growing very embarrassed. So, what did I do? I leaned in and apologized profusely, thanked him for allowing it, etc etc. He said nothing. I told him I was only in NYC for one night and was really just so excited to be at PDT. He merely smiled sarcastically and said, "Oh, and you decided to spend it with me? Wow!" It was unreal. He was a complete prick. I’ve never been treated that way anywhere else- ever. So I did what I always do; I quietly apologized again, saying I'm sorry I had misunderstood. So... is there a VIP-only policy about cameras to match the arbitrary policy regarding who gets seated and when?

Then I noticed that Chef Wylie Dufresne had taken the seat next to me and I realized, holy crap. That’s never happened to me anywhere else either. And though it cheered me up a little, I wasn’t keen on staying long- really, by this point I was just over the whole experience and being treated poorly on my first night off in weeks- maybe I was being oversensitive. Kay told me to just focus on her and try to enjoy my drinks, which was great advice and I'm glad I took it...

What we drank:

The Heirloom

Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Lime Juice, Cynar, Strega, Concord Grapes, Anise Hyssop Essence

The Witch’s Kiss

Jose Cuervo Platino Tequila, Lemon Juice, Strega, Red Jacket Orchards Apple Butter

Koyo

Marumi Okudon Junmai Sake, Dubonnet Rouge, Cynar, Yellow Chartreuse, St. Germain

French Maid

Hine “H” Cognac, Lime Juice, Velvet Falernum, Ginger Beer, Cucumber and Mint

Paddington

Flor de Cana Silver Dry Rum, Lillet Blanc, Lemon and Grapefruit Juice, Bonne Maman Orange Marmalade, St.George Absinthe

Round One was The Heirloom for me (good, but not as good as I had hoped considering it contains some of my absolute favorite flavors on the planet) and the bracingly tart Witch's Kiss for Kay. Round Two was a Koyo for me while Kay continued nursing her Witch's Kiss. Then I ordered a French Maid, which was so delicious- Kay went gaga over this- that I gave it to her and told Johnny to surprise me with one last cocktail. He made me a Paddington, which was masterful, really genius. These last two cocktails were the masterpieces of the night. I’m showing my biases here, but it the Paddington was incredibly punchy and well-balanced, like a bitter orange-scented Corpse Reviver II. Kay said that the French Maid tasted like something made from her garden, like a fresh green salad. I know that sounds odd, but it was really an apt description. It had the same vegetal coolness of a Pimm’s Cup but was a million times better. I could drink these all day long.

So, the drinks were great. They were great. We drank five cocktails in under an hour and I left a $20 tip on a $65 tab (all the cocktails are $13 a pop) just to settle whatever karmic debt earned with me that encounter with Johnny. Because I, too, would like to return to PDT someday.


Edited by Verjuice (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is probably a failure of my imagination, but I cannot imagine cocktails good enough to justify a 90 minute wait in the rain.

Our imaginations fail in similar ways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, at least you can take heart in having been dissed by the most famous pastry chef in New York.

Maybe that's why pastry chefs are best not seen in the front of the house or behind the stick - could it be that they have no people skills? I'm sure Wylie was well taken care of.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is probably a failure of my imagination, but I cannot imagine cocktails good enough to justify a 90 minute wait in the rain.

Our imaginations fail in similar ways.

Unless you're waiting at Pegu Club, Death & Co., or someplace else where all the bartenders are nice.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, that's not exactly "out in the rain".

I think Johnny's conduct was inexcusable. (And I think you're right about BOH types perhaps not having people skills.)

But I also think things are going kind of far when people walk into bars where they're not known -- bars, not even restaurants -- and start taking pictures of the cocktails and stuff. Try that at Farrell's in Brooklyn (not that you'd ever order a cocktail there) and see what happens.

I know that Serious Cocktail Bars are different from regular bars, but let's not get out of hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
He merely smiled sarcastically and said, "Oh, and you decided to spend it with me? Wow!" It was unreal. He was a complete prick. I’ve never been treated that way anywhere else- ever.

This used to be a nice place. I don't know who this Johnny prick is, but I can imagine how disappointed you were with the attitude you got there. This happens to all good places, no matter how well and nice they start off, they end up taking themselves way to seriously. I'm a big fan of Wiley too, but WD-50 is a couple of blocks away, he was probably just having a drink after work and didn't go out of his way to go there. Of course if he got seated there before me, I would understand ... ;)

Well thanks for the info, I'll pass the word. There's a lot of good places in NY, sorry to see this one picked up such a crappy attitude along with their success. You were way too nice leaving a tip.


Edited by Batard (log)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll repeat: Johnny is Johnny Iuzzini, the most famous pastry chef in New York. One of the most famous in the world. He moonlights at PDT on Sundays, to learn bartending.

His attitude, as reported, is inexcusable. But it's not like he's some random barguy they picked up somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stopped by PDT on Sunday, not being mindful it was Mr. Iuzzini's shift. I sat at the bar and found him prompt and courteous. Nate Dumas from Clover Club was also behind the stick. He made me a sherry drink called "The Crossing" from his entry for the Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition. Delicous.

I'll repeat:  Johnny is Johnny Iuzzini, the most famous pastry chef in New York.  One of the most famous in the world.  He moonlights at PDT on Sundays, to learn bartending.

His attitude, as reported, is inexcusable.  But it's not like he's some random barguy they picked up somewhere.


"Wives and such are constantly filling up any refrigerator they have a

claim on, even its ice compartment, with irrelevant rubbish like

food."" - Kingsley Amis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This used to be a nice place.

Oh, it still is...one lousy service experience does not a bad place make.

Sound point. Maybe I'm just a teensy bit cynical because I've seen too many places follow that pattern of decline. I'm glad that's not the case with PDT, thanks for setting the record straight. Now that it's on my mind, I know I'm going to end up there in the next week or so.


"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know many of the talented bartenders and other staff at PDT and I've never remotely had or heard of an experience like the one that was reported here. Things like that simply should not happen, but they do at times - in every establishment. I feel strongly that it's an exception.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not discuoraged by one post, i'll try to get in to PDT tomorrow night.

come on snow storm :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll repeat:  Johnny is Johnny Iuzzini, the most famous pastry chef in New York.  One of the most famous in the world.  He moonlights at PDT on Sundays, to learn bartending.

His attitude, as reported, is inexcusable.  But it's not like he's some random barguy they picked up somewhere.

So what?!? So he's a famous pastry chef, that gives him license to be a jerk?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what?!? So he's a famous pastry chef, that gives him license to be a jerk?

I did a little research. Johnny Iuzzini does a lot of work with charities as I understand, so I guess he's an OK-human-being type jerk. His website also makes me think he might be a little bit out of his mind, in a mad chef kind of way. I think I'll go on in on a Sunday, call him "Doughboy" instead of "Johnny", and start taking pictures of him, just to see what happens.

Ummm, I'm just kidding of course ... :laugh:


Edited by Batard (log)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the record, I am not excusing bad customer service, but who knows what happened that night before Verjuice stepped into the bar. Not to mention, PDT is not exactly a big place and I am not sure how I would feel if another patron was taking pictures. I am going to assume that Verjuice was NOT using a flash. As for Johnny, I met him at Tales of the Cocktail this year in a seminar and he was very nice. Anyone can have a bad night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Went for the first time, Finally, last thursday. Great experience. Love the entrance and the overall vibe. Service was courteous and quick when I was there.

The green deacon was good but the black flip was worth the trip. My friend also enjoyed his two drinks called Remember Maine and something else I don't recall

The wylie dogs were good, but a bit sweeter than I was hoping. I think it was the tomato molasses.

Anyway, can't wait to return.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few friends and I hit PDT last night and had another lovely time. I chatted with Jim, one of the bartenders, while sitting at the bar, and he opted to make me a few drinks that aren't on the menu yet. One had mezcal, lemon juice and I think absinthe, and he's thinking of naming it the Mexican Mule. The other one had absinthe, Frenet, and a few other bitters and was just fantastic. He's going to call it the Occidental.

My friend had the Green Deacon which was good but I really loved the Occidental. I liked it so much I reordered it, and when my friends arrived for their table they took one sip and ordered a round of them.

Another great night at PDT!

Cheers! :cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...