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Waverly Inne


Nathan
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much has been inked about this spot -- concentrating on the difficulty of garnering reservations (its a lot easier if you know Carter or live nearby....I'm guilty of the latter but certainly not of the former) and the fact that it hasn't officially opened yet (although it's been in "preview" for almost four months).

Bruni, of course, reviews it tomorrow.

I stopped in last night for a couple drinks with a friend....both to ascertain the atmosphere and to set up a reservation for this week.

Walked in about 10:30. The bar area in front is comfortable, if spartan. It was relatively full. We were the youngest people in the room by a considerable margin. Crowd was primarily locals and notables.

The dining rooms and dining garden area are very pretty. Rather romantic actually -- The Place would eat its heart out for this space. Nicely appointed.

Walk-ins can definitely eat in the front bar area (there are a few tables) but the atmosphere is quite different and I don't think it would be very enjoyable.

Took a look at the menu. As has been written elsewhere, it's an eclectic mix with an emphasis on comfort food. Prices are.....um....interesting. Most entrees are under $20. Entree prices vary from $14 to $88. Specials (one each day) range from $18 to $88. Essentially, it's well-priced comfort food (assuming quality execution) with a few luxe items -- i.e. a special (I think it was for Wednesdays) of mac and cheese with sliced truffle for $55. They're hitting a bunch of different price points simultaneously -- I have no problem with that but I could see some reviewers finding that incoherent. It actually makes sense within the neighborhood -- there are plenty of locals for whom there is no functional difference between $15 and $80. Kudos for not cynically "keeping out the riff-raff" like some UES neighborhood places by pricing everything at the high end, regardless of quality or ingredients.

I'll write about the food later this week.

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3 things:

A. Bruni's review, besides being a little precious but fitting, is right on the money.

B. that tuna tartare really is delicious and illustrates how a boring dish can be elevated with a little care.

C. that back garden is gorgeous.

edit: go later (ten-ish) on a week-night...its not crowded and not snooty.

Edited by Nathan (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...
OK, sorry, they dropped the "y" and the "e" as well.

They can't seem to settle on a name, what is this, the John Mellencamp of restaurants? The whole concept seems to be dreadful, on par with a Britney Spears restaurant.

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This is a situation where the Times review is totally irrelevant. WI was designed specifically for celebrities and friends of the owners, and they have made it abundantly clear that they aren't looking to expand past that clientele.

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For Porter House, it IS a diss.  But Carter's pretty clearly aiming for something else.  I think all they needed at Waverly is one star to show everyone that the food isn't vomit-inducing.

I would distinguish between places like Barca 18, which needed two stars to stay in business, and Waverly Inn, which did not.
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For Porter House, it IS a diss.  But Carter's pretty clearly aiming for something else.  I think all they needed at Waverly is one star to show everyone that the food isn't vomit-inducing.

Sneakeater, you're killing me with this! If I ever get a table at Waverly Inne, I'll make sure to mention that their restaurant was recommended to me as not "vomit-inducing". :laugh:

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  • 3 months later...

Bit of a scathing post about Waverly Inn over on Amateur Gourmet today:

"They don't have our reservation," said my mom.

I looked up at the host. "Really?" I asked. "Don't you have a print-out?" I asked my mom.

"I do," she said. "But they say that the person who the hotel made the reservation with--Courtney--doesn't work here."

"That's weird," I said.

"We don't have a Courtney here," confirmed the host. "And tonight we have a private dinner party, so we wouldn't have taken the reservation."

Was he calling my mom a liar? The hotel? Courtney?

...

[T]he next day, the concierge at my parents hotel was completely flustered by what had happened to us. He wrote your restaurant an e-mail that asked for an explanation, saying that the hotel's page had made the reservation with Courtney five days prior. What had happened?

Your restaurant wrote back (and I quote verbatim): "We apologize profusely. Consequently, Courtney was let go yesterday and we would like to offer your guest a reservation this evening at any time of her liking."

Courtney was let go?? But the host said there was no Courtney!!? You mean there WAS a Courtney and you fired her on our account? I doubt that very much.

And even if that's true, that's messed up! You fired someone for taking a reservation at your restaurant? Oh wait, it's not a restaurant? It's a private club? But how come pages from my parents hotel can get hotel guests in? How did Frank Bruni get in? Or, for that matter, Ruth Reichl? Graydon, what's going on here? Are you a club or a restaurant? Make up your mind.

I'm loving his tone, though the story doesn't surprise me at all. Not one bit.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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well, his parents do seem to get him in trouble everywhere he goes (see Le Cirque, where they acted like rubes and got a bad table (and good service after that)).

I live close to Waverly Inn so I've been a number of times. there's absolutely no question that if you don't fit the "look" they're quite likely to turn you away...I've seen them do it. on the other hand, (it's pretty good comfort food but not more than that)....since the whole point of the place is the celeb aspect...it's not surprising that they keep "special occasion" hoi polloi out. the only reason why someone not from the neighborhood would go there (the food's equivalent to the Harrison or Red Cat) is to celeb gawk. they're deliberately discouraging that.

edit: I'm not condoning it...just pointing out the logic from their perspective.

Edited by Nathan (log)
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...

I live close to Waverly Inn so I've been a number of times.

{snip}

since the whole point of the place is the celeb aspect...it's not surprising that they keep "special occasion" hoi polloi out.  the only reason why someone not from the neighborhood would go there (the food's equivalent to the Harrison or Red Cat) is to celeb gawk.  they're deliberately discouraging that.

...

So you just go because you're in the neighborhood? Aren't there other options? Or do you go to celeb gawk as well?

Edited by iain (log)
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actually, I ate there out of curiosity (probably wouldn't bother again).

I do go to the front bar quite often for a very prosaic reason...magnificent eye candy and an excellent ratio of same.

I'm actually pretty awful at even recognizing celebs.

Edited by Nathan (log)
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